Well, that’s over.
I’ve been dreading this week since August. For the first time since Suzanne and I got married, I wasn’t looking forward to Thanksgiving. I just didn’t know what to expect. How were we going to deal with the elephant in the room…or is that not in the room? As it turned out, we didn’t deal with it at all. Though we all missed Mike terribly, we just didn’t bring it up. We all just concentrated on the food in front of us. That’s not to say we didn’t talk. We were just careful not to bring up the painfully obvious. So, I guess you’d say that Thanksgiving went as well as we could hope…there was just no joy in it.
One particularly painful moment was when Suzanne passed around one of her “experiments.” Each year she tries out one new dish on everybody to keep things interesting. This year, it was polenta with marsala mushrooms. As she and my parents dug in and agreed that it was a great success, I realized that it was a vegetarian dish and that Mike probably would have loved it. Later, when we were alone, Suzanne admitted that she’d had the same thought and it had choked her up.
Still, as sad as we all were, it didn’t affect our appetites. I’m still feeling bloated. Every year, Mom makes these chocolate-oatmeal no-bake drop cookies that Mike and I loved since childhood. We’ve always playfully fought over them, sneaking a few out of the jar when the other wasn’t looking. Mom always took quiet pride in how much we loved them. This year, I knew it was going to be a sore spot. Mom told Suzanne that, in fact, she considered not making them. But she went ahead and brought a batch. Sadly, with nobody to compete with, I’ve eaten all of them myself and sort of made myself sick. As good as they are, I’m really glad they’re gone.
On a lighter note, on Friday morning I continued what has become a sort of yearly tradition and got up at 3:30 a.m. to trudge out, alone, into the cold pre-dawn morning for the Black Friday sales. Normally, this is out of pure selfishness. I’m just in it for the cheap DVDs. But after scanning the sales papers Thursday morning, I realized that I already had most of the movies they were discounting. There were a few movies I wouldn’t mind having around but nothing worth fighting the crowds for. (I’d been hoping for GHOST RIDER but no luck.) But I noticed that Best Buy had the HBO TV series on sale for 50% off. My Father-in-Law has fallen in love with DEADWOOD and we’ve been getting him a season set each year, either for Christmas or his birthday. So I went ahead and ventured out. Since I was up anyway, I picked up a few cheapies for myself (ranging from $2.99-4.99 each.) I got LAYER CAKE, DAY AFTER TOMORROW, 48 HOURS, ROBOCOP 3, A SCANNER DARKLY, CRANK and a couple others. Nothing great but some good movies to have on in the background when I’m in my office working. I haven’t even seen the last two (going against my own rule of not buying a movie I haven’t seen yet) but figured, at that price, I’m not risking much. I also picked up SEINFELD Season 7 (two to go!) for 14 bucks.
Having gone to three different stores, I was beat and went home for breakfast and a recharge before heading back out with Christian to Velocity Comics. Christian wanted to hit the Black Friday sale and he’d heard that the voting on the Bring On The Bad Guys contest was going to start then. So I went with him to put in my vote for our Sphinx entry. Unfortunately, the owner had a setback and didn’t have the ballots ready. I bought the cheapest book I could find to be polite (my comic shop loyalties lie with Nostalgia Plus) and we split. Leaf was a little less restrained and practically needed a hand truck to haul out his loot.
Suzanne and I have been so busy with cleaning, cooking and shopping this past week that we haven’t had much time to feel down. But now that my parents have left and we’ve got the house to ourselves again, the old malaise is setting in again. I even had another moment tonight when I saw something I thought Mike would like* and made a mental note to call him about it only to have reality crash down on me again an instant later. I’ll be really glad when that stops happening.
Anyway, all things considered, we had a decent holiday. I hope all of you did the same.
*Suzanne and I were playing the Marvel Scene-It game that our friend Paul gave me last Christmas and it was just loaded with examples of Mike’s artwork.