My Sword & My Thanks

So this week was the presidential election.

I can’t say nothing. But I haven’t yet managed to say what I want to say. Or even figure out what that is. So bear with me, I’ve bookended this post with some thoughts, partially coherent, substantially plagiarized.

I want to say that, as truly terrible what has happened is, we can move on. But we can’t. We must stay right where we are because for some people, their right to move on has been taken from them. Now we face the long dark. And we have to fight the long, slow battle. It will be difficult, but it must be fought. And it absolutely must be won.

My sword I give to him that shall succeed me in my pilgrimage and my courage and skill to him that can get it.

102

War Memorial Garden, Oxford

It’s a bit early for Thanksgiving, but often in my haste to celebrate Christmas as much as possible it gets short shrift. So here’s a little bit on Thanksgiving–without drama, mayhem, or even a particularly large scope– from my heart to yours.

In the past four years, I have spent Thanksgiving in a variety of interesting contexts, none of them at home. Once, I was in New Jersey with a couple friends and some strangers. Once, I was in Ireland and, at least on the day, I had class and dinner as usual, alone. But twice–twice (I’m blessed)– I was lucky enough to spend Thanksgiving with my sister. I flew up to Vermont, where she was in grad school, and spent a few days just the two of us, making Thanksgiving our own. Those precious few days constitute some of my most treasured holiday memories and so this week, I would just like to share a little about what made them so wonderful. I’m very, very thankful.

  • Lake Champlain is lovely.
  • So are the Green Mountains.
  • Burlington is one of my all-time favorite small towns in America that I have visited for less than two weeks in total all around the same time of year.
  • I particularly like Church Street ect.
  • They have a Christmas tree lighting on Black Friday that we went to both years. One year, it began to snow delicately right as the tree was lit.
  • Previous to the tree lighting, we treated ourselves at Champlain Chocolates.
  • I like Skinny Pancake.
  • Everything is named after Ethan Allen.
  • We are both decision cripples, so we watched a lot of Netflix and stuff, including Stardust, Twisted, and the first time I saw Frozen.
  • Mostly Twisted. Taken from us too soon.
  • We had some cooking adventures.
  • My sister is a very good cook, basically. But no one’s perfect.
  • We had these enormous pasta shells once–like lasagna sort of but in shells. They were good. And, like, hand-sized.
  • Cook the sweet potatoes first.
  • Don’t coat rolls with butter using a paintbrush (though in a pinch, you can usually manage to pick off most of the hairs).
  • Also, those rolls were delicious. Spiral-y and wonderful.
  • I can make good mashed potatoes.
  • Cabot cheese is super delicious and, unsupervised, we ate like two blocks in one sitting.
  • We also went to the Cabot factory once, which was super cool (and where we bought the cheese we binged on) but they don’t sell cheese curds which is disappointing.
  • Maybe because I was only there for a few days at a time and not during the absolute coldest, but I loved the cold weather. The coldest I’ve ever been in, I think.
  • Also, snow.
  • We wandered around the campus of UVM and took fun pictures in the snow and it was lovely.
  • Ice skating is cool, even though I’m not great at it (and have been like three times) but it’s particularly cool in Vermont because people like, ice skate there. A lot.
  • We saw a movie each time, too, though both times were foiled in seeing the ones we wanted to because they weren’t showing.
  • Driving back from the theater one year, it was snowing pretty heavily and she made me drive so I did. On totally unfamiliar roads in the dark through thick snow. It was fine, we lived.
  • She practiced all sorts of strange physical therapy stuff on me to study (mostly just pointing at things and naming them, as one does). It was weird but also sort of endearing.
  • Did I say it was pretty?
  • It was.
  • Did I say that the tree lighting ceremony was precious?
  • It was.
  • Did I say we became really invested in Twisted?
  • We did.
  • Did I say that my sister is much better than everyone else’s?
  • She is.

It will be nice to finally be home for Thanksgiving. But it will not be a Vermont Thanksgiving with my sister.

As we enter this new reality, I have no words of advice or encouragement or wisdom. All I know is that there is a King of Kings. I am a stranger in a strange land and my primary directive is to love. Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–think (ACT) on these things. Reform the line, reform the line. Ride out with me.

There is some good in this world, Mr. Frodo, and it’s worth fighting for.

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