Thanks For Giving

November 27th, 2014 by Magdalena Tabor

Turkey and stuffing aside, why do we place such emphasis on this most celebrated of holidays? Standing at the kitchen counter preparing my contribution of brussel sprouts (with thanks for givingchestnuts and bacon) I reflect on the significance of my offering. Would anyone really care if the called-for dish was presented or not? Busying ourselves with the myriad of choices, plates piled high like mounds of pyramids before the gods, someone will ultimately forget the cranberry sauce until mid meal where it sits forgotten on the sideboard. So, I ask myself again, would anyone really care if it, or for that matter I, were there or not? What would the impact of my absence be away from the chaos of family and extended members of the usual clan? It would certainly mean more elbow room at the shrinking table groaning with abundance.
But this is exactly when, I remind myself, the absence of one or another is felt the most. At just such moments, when the entire family gathers, only to remember the one or two that are missing. As the years go by the family continually contracts and expands with newly initiated members, changing in appearance but for its core. The cruxt of which is the heart and soul of not just one but every single person who contributes to the whole. What in heaven’s name would Thanksgiving be without Mom’s stuffing? Herb’s carving of the turkey? Nina’s Italian specialties? Michael’s quiet presence and gentle way with the kids? And the family dog sneaking a missed forkful beneath the table. Even she offers humor and warmth to the gathering.
What about all the people who have no family left with whom to share the holiday? Or a family without the means to provide a bountiful feast that every American has the right to enjoy? Have we thought about dropping a can of vegetables or a box of cookies into the food drive container on our way out of the store? The missing ingredient to light up someone’s day. A small flickering of a candle that maybe you or I struck a match to. A glow of kindness.
This year has been an especially trying one. I may face the celebration with a mix of the bittersweet. Yet I arise at the crack of dawn. (Okay, maybe I allowed myself that extra half hour). Prepare the anticipated offering. And arrive at my destination wearing my Happy Hat askew with grace and good will. But whatever my circumstances, my humble offering is yours.


There Was A Cat

November 23rd, 2014 by Magdalena Tabor

There was a cat named Snowshoe. Oh! He was the cutest thing. Ten months old and “loves people more than food” she said. L J was right. And he loved food. A lot. You can just snowshoeimagine his devotion to humans.
Anyone who spent just ten seconds with him immediately liked him. Even if they didn’t like cats. “This is a cat?” they’d say. “You sure he’s not a dog?” Most cats run when they hear the doorbell ring. Hiding in the far reaches of a closet or under a bed. Not Snowshoe. He came running to answer the door….”Who’s that? Are you friend or foe? Never mind, we can change all that.”
He always had to be in the midst of things. (What’s that you’re doing?) Putting on make up at the bathroom sink. (You don’t need that stuff if it’s not food.) In the shower. (Can I join you?) Yes. Snowshoe was a cat who loved water. A cat in the shower. Who ever heard of such a thing? What pleasure to be found in a dripping faucet! He’d come out of the bathroom with his spiked hair-do. Never needed gel. It dried that way just fine.
Snowshoe was a Snowshoe Siamese breed. Rather rare. A recognized breed created by mixing a Siamese with a domestic cat having white markings on the chest, muzzle and feet. The perfectly marked ones share unilateral whites on either side of the muzzle and/or chin. Showshoe, however, was adorably flawed with one small white mark on one part of his muzzle. A spot of milk, we used to say.
We got him from a rescue shelter. They found him hanging out with some German Shepherds. Could explain his dog traits.
What to name him? Why, Snowshoe of course.
Snowshoe, the Singular.
Snowshoe, the One and Only.
Snowshoe, the Best Cat Ever.
Don’t get me wrong. There were plenty of times I scolded him for getting under foot. (I’m sorry for that, Snowshoe. I have my flaws too.) But even now, I find myself watching my step at the kitchen sink. And wishing he was there to trip me up. (What I wouldn’t give to yell at you now.)
We could fill a volume with his teddy bear qualities. This is just a small hug. You know that feeling when you’ve lost something cherished? And you just can’t get another? That, my friend, was Snowshoe.


Dog Days Of Autumn

November 17th, 2014 by Magdalena Tabor

What is it about autumn that resonates like a cigar box banjo? There’s something so inherently “down home” about this particular season that invariably invites one to burrow into a nest dogdaysof woolen blankets with a cup of spiced cider from the local mill and an out of date movie. Seeking solace in the familiar, cinematic legendary heroes dramatize the ordinary and we settle in to enjoy an afternoon of what can only be described as sheer comfort while the wind howls outside. (Or was that Old Yeller?)
When legs have gone numb and require one to mobilize, what could be more enjoyable than pulling on a well worn pair of boots (and houndstooth jacket) to step out into the crisp clean air? Crunchy acorns underfoot and a whiff of wood smoke from a neighboring house revive the senses as our tracks bear down into earth softened with decomposing leaves. (This time of year always makes me wish there was a dog alongside for a romp through the woods.) It won’t be long before we hasten back to our own hearths spurred by the thought of another cup of steaming cider with something freshly baked. Or some of that chili made earlier in the day with a hearty chunk of bread. (Here, boy! Now where’d he go?)
As the day dims and the horizon bruises with purples and pinks, we turn our reflective gazes from the window and flick on a lamp. Darkness descends all too soon these days but the clock’s insistence that it’s early enough offers a browse through a favorite book. Lost in reverie, we dog ear a page or excuse our absence in our dog tiredness with a brief nap relishing these days spent at home. With those we love. And cherish. In this space of time we call “fall”. (Now where’s that dog to curl up on the rug next to the fire? And can you make sure you walk him before bed?)

So……………….whadayathink? As we come full circle to another year spent, what endears you to this apple crisp season? Perhaps a slice of the well loved pie itself. Or, as the English are wont to ask, “Would you fancy a biscuit?” (You old tail wagger).