Monday, November 24, 2008

The Day After Thanksgiving

Welcome to Thanksgiving Week at the Pond!

We're kicking off our ode to all things turkey with a flash from the past and the first of my grateful tributes. On the first day of Thanksgiving week, I have to say I'm thankful for a certain someone.

Ben has been putting up with me for nearly six years, and he has still maintained his sense of humor. As much as you, my darling Invisible Friends adore me, I'm not as easy to live with in real life. Peanut butter and dancing obsessions are only funny in theory. Or for at least three days. After that, you'd probably clutch your hair, pluck out your eyeballs and scream, "Please get this dancing creature dripping with pink and sprinkles and smelling of peanut butter and apple pie out of my house! All she does is talk about food and goofy stories! All I want to do is have a conversation that doesn't revolve around food, puppies or publishing!"

And poor Ben sits there day after day, feeding me waffles and bbq and listening to me babble until his eyes glaze over. He's tolerated the Babies destroying the carpet with their nuclear peeing habits and still dances with me wearing a smile.

He's a true prince.

And because I like to talk about food, I'll also list a food every week that I'm eternally grateful for.

I've been craving these every hour. I bow down to whatever brilliant person created pancakes.

And as Paul Harvey would for the rest of the story.

When I was in college, I loved to write. However, I had shoved my creative writing on the back burner and pursued public relations because it was practical. I had no illusions that I would exit college, turn in a story to a publishing company and receive a large check, whirlwind tour and my own fan club.

Fine. I might have had some tiny secret illusions.

Anyway, I was resigned to writing press releases and profiles for the rest of my career. Then I met Dr. Carol Perry in PR writing. On the first day of class, she took my hand in hers and gave me a warm smile.

"I'm so glad you're here," she said, pumping my hand. "I don't get many PR majors. I look forward to seeing your work."

She had me in the palm of her hand.

Dr. Perry did more than just teach me how to write a press release. She taught me it was ok to write my little stories and line by line, pulled me out of my shell. She challenged me, worked with me and was the first one to coax all the little stories I write now out of me. She was the first one to reveal my niche and style to me, and one of my first major supporters.

I owe this blog to her.

Even though I've never been able to reach Dr. Perry, I hope she knows what she meant to me. Because in her class, I felt like my words were gold. I was challenged and I pushed myself. I wanted every word to be perfect, every line to be brilliant.

And until you, my dear Invisible Friends, I hadn't felt this way in years. I was beaten down by the piles of rejection letters, torn by the sharp critiques of my work. I'd been called juvenile, plotless, one-sided, dark (yes, dark) and aimless. Everything felt wrong, and everything was wrong.

When I quit worrying about what the publishers and agents thought and started to write what I wanted, that's when I met all of you. When I quit worrying about word count and coming up with brilliant ideas and forcing out stories in a standard medium, you began to read. And when I quit trying to write books and just wrote, you asked for more.

So I owe this to you as well.

Dr. Perry, I want to thank you for what you've given me. And Invisible Friends, I want to thank you for reading.

It all started with this Thanksgiving assignment in the fall of 2005, when I stood up in front of the class and read this until tears formed in Dr. Perry's eyes. I still remember the hug she gave me in front of my bewildered classmates. At that moment, I felt like a real writer.

Thank you.

“The Day after Thanksgiving”

It was the day after Thanksgiving,
and all through the house,
not a creature was stirring,
not even a mouse.

My father was sitting in his big leather chair,
hoping that my mother would let him stay there.
All the turkey had been eaten,
all the relatives had gone,
and now it seemed like no one could smile, just groan.

I was six years old with nothing to do,
with no cousins to entertain me,
not even a friend or two.

I walked up to my Dad who was glued to a football game,
and asked him, "Daddy, what can I do today that's not lame?"
My dad said, "Go play outside," without ever taking his eyes off the TV.
"I'm much too busy watching football, as you can plainly see."

So I bundled up and put my dog on a leash,
and Princess and I set off down the street.
We passed a few houses and I was happy to see,
old Mr. Ritter was sitting on his porch as his son hauled in a Christmas tree.

I scurried up the sidewalk with Princess by my side,
and said "Hey Mr. Ritter whatcha doing? Isn't it kinda cold outside?"
Mr. Ritter just smiled and said to me, "I'm happy watching my son and grandkids buy and decorate a Christmas tree.
I'm grateful for my family and that I get to spend one more Christmas with them,
before I head up to heaven."

"Are all people grateful on Thanksgiving?" I asked curiously,
and old Mr. Ritter said, "Well if they aren't they should be!"

So I waved good bye to old Mr. Ritter and skipped down the sidewalk to visit my old babysitter. "Hey Leah," I said to her when she opened the door.
"What is it that you’re grateful for?"

Leah looked shocked and said to me, "I'm grateful for my friends and my boyfriend Ben.
He cheered me up when I was blue, and my friends are coming to get me to go to the zoo.
Love and friendship are very important to me,
and I'm grateful I have both in my life, don’t you see."

Just then a car filled with teenagers pulled up to the curb,
and the blaring music had the neighbors looking disturbed.
Before old Mr. Wayne could yell "Turn that down ruffians!";
I waved and skipped down the street as the old man started fussin'.

A few houses down and what to my curious eyes should appear?
The Smiths loading up a moving van, and not even shedding a tear!
"Mr. Smith," I asked him curiously, "What are you grateful for? And why are you moving? Is it because of me?"

Mr. Smith smiled and shook his head,
"Child, it's nothing you've done or said.
We were evicted from our house, so we must find somewhere else to live instead.
I'm grateful we have some money, and plenty to eat,
but I will miss living on this street.
I'm grateful I have my wonderful wife, so I know we'll be ok in life."

"You can live in my tree house," I offered.
"There’s lots of room when you live high in the trees..."
Mr. Smith laughed and said, "I don't know if I'd quite fit. But it's quite a nice offer, and I'll think about it."

I said, "I understand, and I'll miss you as well. I hope you find a home that's for sale."

I waved goodbye and skipped down the block until I ran into my dad, who didn't look happy but rather looked mad.
I skipped right up to his glaring eyes, and when I said, " Dad, what are you grateful for?"
I really took him by surprise!
He said, "I'm grateful for you and your mother, and for my parents and brother. I'm grateful I have a job and a home, and I'm grateful I'm not alone.
I'm grateful for my friends and I'm grateful for my wife. If you break it down, I've got a great life. And you're the best part of all!" he said as he swung me over his head. "No one else could have had such a great kid!"

"So you're not mad I went on a walk?" I asked when he put me down. My dad just laughed and said, "I was mad but I guess you turned me around."

Stay tuned Invisible Friends! Tomorrow Queen Bitty announces what she's grateful for. We also have a new Kitchen Magic and a monster Thanksgiving ode to food and how the Blond Duck really loves thee. Stay tuned!


American in Norway said...

THanks so much for sharing...that was awesome!
Have a happy Thanksgiving week! nice "meeting you!"

~~louise~~ said...

What an inspirational post Blonde Duck.

Your ode to Thanksgiving is a treasure. Thanks for sharing and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Erica said...

mmmm LOVE fresh rolls! I don't think I've ever had pecan pie! Have fun! I hope your trip goes smoothly! Happy Thanksgiving ;)

Ingrid said...

Duckie, I'm grateful to you! I look forward to my morning read here at the pond. I'd be in even MORE grateful if I had another edition or two or three of Twirl this week! LOL!

Btw, Ben looks like a real hottie with the tiara. Does Queen Bitty know he has it?

Marjie said...

It is indeed a wonderful essay. And I am sure that Ben is grateful that you keep him laughing...even as the puppies spoil the carpet!

K. said...

Great post! I'm grateful for your wonderful stories and kind words!

Linda said...

You truly are inspirational! use your gift!

TL said...

Found you through SITS. :)

I am remembering Thanksgiving pasts as well on my posts this week. Mine are a little creepier than yours....
My two Indians love pancakes too, but I am a sucker for the French Toast....
Have a Great Thanksgiving!

Bobbi Jo said...

You warm my heart with your loving posts and great writing. Thank you for you sharing your heart with us. You can come dance at my house any time.
Hugs, Bobbi Jo

Balance, Joy and Delicias! said...

thanks for visiting my blog! Yours looks amazing!!! So fun and so many great ideas!

Tina said...

Loved your ode to Thanksgiving! :)

Queenie Jeannie said...

That was wonderful!!!

I'm so glad you popped in to visit me today. It was great to *meet* you!

Chef E said...

Awwwe he is so cute in that teirra, and now I am hungry for pancakes! My main blog is 'The Behind The Wheel Chef', TMI is to vent, the rest my writing outlet...or maybe I have friends that help and hang with me too! I like that idea... HPY THG!

Katherine Aucoin said...

Duckie, I love your Thanksgiving Week at the Pond and I am looking forward to each day. How wonderful that Dr. Perry pulled every line out of you because you do hav so much to share with the world - we all need more whimsy!

Thank you so very much for my award. I will get it up ASAP.

Debbie said...

Pancakes are divine, aren't they? You can do anything with them. Great post.

Bird, Frizzy and Our Little Yaya said...

So nice of you to stop by on my SITS day and leave a comment. It is so nice to meet you and to see how creative and funny you are. Happy Thanksgiving!

Pam said...

We all need a Dr. Perry to help us believe in ourselves. You are very talented Blonde Duck - don't ever forget it.

Maria said...

Oh how I am grateful for your blog. I just love it. It always makes me smile. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

Debbie said...

Oh what a nice post. Dt. Perry sounds very inspirational and your writing is so heartfelt.

Kim said...

Inspirational and charming as always! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

raining sheep said...

Yeah for inspiring profs. I am glad you just kept writing.

Ruby Red Slippers said...

Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog-I am loving yours...
Your poem should be a children's book-I could picture it, and my boys would be your first fans-they love rhyming books...Just a thought...

Juliet said...

Aww. Very cute crown! I'm glad you found a keeper. Gotta love it when they put up with us. :)

Marie said...

HaPPy Thanksgiving week Duckie! I love your ode to Thanksgiving but then again, I love every word that sprouts out of the end of your fingertips! You're just a lyrical word sprouting magician! Your words are spell binding and I am your greatest fan! I love you oodles and oodles and I am so very thankful that You discovered me and I discovered you back!!!

Lorraine E said...

Thanks for sharing this part of you :) And the poem is pure gold!

TavoLini said...

I love this post!! Happy Thanksgiving to you and everyone at the Pond :D

Prairie Girl said...

great post! Loved the Ode. Happy (American) Thanksgiving - from a Canadian reader :)

Jan said...

That's wonderful! No wonder Dr. Perry was impressed.

noble pig said...

That was awesome...why can you not find her, is she no longer teaching?

Happy Turkey to you!

The W.O.W. factor said...

How beautiful! So glad you had Dr. Perry!
...And Ben~to put up & encourage with your silliness..I bet it's never a dull moment in your home! Boucing with energy constantly!
I Love it!

freefun0616 said...