silver lining

Bad news, versus thing for which to be thankful:

I’m not due at Dad’s until this afternoon, so I ran to Walmart just now to pick up a few groceries. (I won’t be doing any of my holiday shopping until later.) On the way back, I realized I had to break a $20 so that I could get change so that I could do laundry.

I stopped at a convenience store, and when I got out my front driver’s side tire was completely flat. And this wasn’t a fix-a-flat flat; both front tires need to be replaced. I had trouble with one of the lug nuts, and a stranger was nice enough to stop and help me with it. I have the temporary spare in place now’; I’m not sure whether my tire store is open tomorrow or whether I’ll have to wait until Monday.

I’ve already had to get a new battery this month, and I was not planning on the expense of two new tires.

But on the bright side, it could very easily have gone flat last Friday, on the Interstate, and prevented me getting to Nashville. So that’s a thankful note for the day.

Scattered, smothered and capped

Our family Thanksgiving dinner is going to be relatively late in the day – I’m not even headed over to Dad’s until about midday – so I thought I’d have a hearty breakfast to tide me over. Thankfully, Waffle House was there for me.

There’s been a lot of discussion about stores being open on Thanksgiving – and I’m not going to step into that minefield – but I’m sure glad Waffle House is. Every Waffle House has a 24-7-365 schedule. When they opened in Shelbyville, the ribbon-cutting ceremony included something that takes place at virtually every Waffle House opening. They tie a key, representing the key to the front door, to a helium balloon and release it, saying it won’t ever be needed again.

The chain’s disaster planning is said to be without peer in the restaurant industry. The restaurants have generators, and have pre-printed limited menus that that can be used if external factors prevent the restaurant from normal operation.

In fact, the company is so good at staying open that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has what’s called the “Waffle House Index” as one of a number of metrics it examines in the early stages of a disaster. If the Waffle Houses near the disaster scene are open but offering a limited menu, it’s a serious disaster. If the Waffle Houses near the disaster scene are closed, well, it must be a really serious disaster.

So I had a cheesesteak omelet this morning, with hash browns scattered, smothered (onions) and capped (mushrooms). I tipped 30 percent, not knowing if the waitress had volunteered or had been made to work the holiday. If I’m the only one who did that, of course, it’s a pretty feeble gesture, but maybe others will think the same way.

Dueling parade coverage

NBC has covered the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade for many, many, many years, and is allowed to set up at the Herald Square location in front of the Macy’s store, where various musical numbers and the like are presented while we wait for the parade to arrive.

But a parade, unlike, say, a football game, takes place in public, and you can’t really give any one network exclusive rights to point their cameras at it. CBS used to have what they called the “All-American Thanksgiving Parade,” which would cut back and forth between coverage of the New York parade and several others, some of them pre-recorded. One year, that included a parade of literal floats in the Delta river inside the Opryland Hotel.

I don’t actually know what CBS has been doing in recent years, but this morning they’re covering “The Thanksgiving Day Parade” – they don’t say “Macy’s” in the opening credits or on-screen graphics, because they’re not the authorized, official network and presumably don’t have the rights to use the Macy’s name. The hosts, however, do mention the parade’s sponsor and history.

Because most NBC stations here in the Central Time Zone air the “Today” show on a one-hour tape delay, the parade also gets delayed by an hour. So right now, “Today” is still going on on the local NBC affiliate, but the CBS parade coverage, which I assume to be live, has already begun. The parade hasn’t actually gotten to the CBS broadcast location. Since they don’t have access to the Broadway cast performances at Herald Square, they’re running things like a clip of a musical number from a Broadway show performed in its actual theater, and a clip of Martina McBride performing at the Hard Rock Cafe. They’re also trying to encourage social media interaction.

I’m having a quiet morning here at home – our family celebration will be a late one today, because we can’t get the family together until evening, and because of Dad’s injury. We’ll go to Cracker Barrel in Murfreesboro for our holiday meal. (Things will be even stranger for me next year; I’ll be in Sierra Leone and will miss Thanksgiving altogether.) Hope you have a great day, whatever your situation.

Happy Thanksgiving (belated)



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Originally uploaded by jicarney.

This was the day that we could get most of the family together for Thanksgiving dinner. Here’s my father carving the turkey — which was delicious, as it always is. My father, a great cook who’s been cooking since he was a child, does the turkey every year, in spite of the fact that he doesn’t like poultry or fish himself.

I didn’t get home until late. I got a little done on the novel first thing this morning, and a little done tonight, but my brain is fried and I think I’m going to take a holiday from further work on the novel. I’m in good shape and should have plenty of time on Sunday to work on it.

A quiet Thanksgiving

Our big family Thanksgiving meal will not be until Saturday, because that’s when the various components of the family could get together. My boss has been kind enough to give me the day off from my normal Saturday responsibilities.

Today, I went over to my parents’ house and Mom got my grandmother out of the nursing home. We had shepherd’s pie for lunch, with fudge pie a la mode for dessert.

A good day, but a low-key one. Tonight, I’m back to work on the novel, and meanwhile flipping back and forth between three terrific movies: “The Incredibles,” “The Greatest Show on Earth” and “March of the Penguins.”

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