Another atypical Thanksgiving. Like so many millions of others, we spent the day on the road, but our destination for the day was not “home” or “family.” Nor were we aiming for a traditional Thanksgiving meal. Our objective was to reach an upscale motel. Our food intake for the day began with a breakfast/lunch of fast-food fish sandwich and fries, followed an hour or so later by a “pig in a blanket” (in lieu of a hoped-for apple fritter, which was sold out) from a small-town chain bakery. Later, at the motel, we shared a bag of pretzels, some cheetohs, ice cream sandwiches, and diet Cokes. And some red wine, later, while we watched an assortment of swill on cable TV. Today, we will go to a Crystal Bridges Museum to view an exhibit of photographs by Annie Leibovitz. Tomorrow will be the “family” day, when we will have breakfast with mi novia’s daughter and son-in-law and her grandson, who are to be in town for an Arkansas Razor backs football game.

There was a time when I eschewed tradition. Lately, I sometimes wish I could experience certain holidays (like Thanksgiving) as they are presented by savvy marketers. And as I experienced them, in part, in my youth. I guess I am occasionally overcome by waves of sentimentality for life as I wish it had been and could be. Gatherings of family have become rare, almost to the point of existing only in the imagination. As we age and as members of our family die, such gatherings are no longer possible. So we improvise and adapt. And “family” takes on new meanings, adjusting to new circumstances and new realities.


Plans are subject to circumstances beyond our control. The Russian invasion of Ukraine…the Hamas attack on Israel…the Israelis’ ongoing retaliation…companies reneging on their promises…hurricanes…earthquakes…sudden illnesses… dislocations of financial markets…equipment malfunctions…the list is endless. So, what is the point of planning? Because circumstances that can derail our plans are not as likely as our plans playing out as intended. But we should, to the extent reasonable and possible, steel ourselves against those disruptive circumstances. Life’s journey does not always unfold as we intend.  Readying ourselves for unwelcome surprises can lessen their effects.


I watched the last few moments last night of a broadcast last of a video, ostensibly made by a Palestinian woman who died shortly after it was made. My understanding is that she spoke of the untenable circumstances experienced by Palestinian civilians due to the unrelenting Israeli response to the Hamas attack. What struck me was that she appeared to me that she was wearing makeup. I am a skeptic. Though I have no doubt that innocent Palestinian civilians are being subjected to horrors beyond my comprehension, I wonder why this woman would have spent time and energy on makeup in such circumstances.


Where does one’s control over one’s own life begin and end? The question cannot be answered completely nor satisfactorily. So why ask the unanswerable question?

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

I wish you would tell me what you think about this post...

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.