Thanksgiving 2021

It is Saturday morning on December 4th, 2021. The past two weeks have been extremely busy to due holiday and work travel. I returned home just last night at 10:30 PM and do not plan on leaving my house at all this weekend in order to recover.

We went back to Ohio for Thanksgiving and were fortunate enough to stay for over a week. It went quick and was a bit of a blur due to all the activity, food, wine and family. Then again, trips home always seem to go quickly whether they are packed with activities or not.

For us, one of our favorite activities is simply going to the swings at my old elementary school. They have been there since the ’60s and perhaps due to limited safety protocols back then, go much higher than your average swings in a playground.

Even at 44 I enjoy a good swing and these swings in particular serve as a type of time travel portal. If I concentrate while swinging I am able to catch flickers of my mindset as a kid in the ’80s. The memories appear not as old photographs but come with all the excitement as though I were nine years old again. Thoughts of going to the Grandview pool, of playing the Sega Master System at my friends house or even just playing with my He-Man toys come into my mind, but only for a brief, joyful second and then they are gone.

In other ways swinging is like a type of meditation where I can also see shadows of the past. In my mind I summon up a typical recess of ’87, then of us going back into the school, sitting at our desks and try to recall specific memories. These types of memories are just short video clips being observed through 44 year old mind and therefore not the same as the type of memories that I described first.

I think the best way to put my experience on these swings into words would be through poetry. I am not yet a poet but should I ever become one, these swings will be one of my first topics.

In a pandemic and given Ohio weather in November, activities are a bit limited. However, we did get out and about a bit and one thing we had not done before is go to Otherworld Ohio.

Otherworld Ohio

It was worth the trip and provided for some great pictures, especially portrait pictures. It was similar to teamLab Borderless in Tokyo although comparing the two is unfair as it is like comparing a professional team to a high school junior varsity team. Both types are fun to watch but very different in quality.

teamLab Borderless

My family still live in the same general area where my father and grandparents were raised. Although much has changed over 80 years some things remain the same and one of those is Our Lady of Victory church where my grandparents were married.

Our Lady of Victory November 20th, 2021
Our Lady of Victory, August 25th, 1945

This is a very special place for me as I have video of that wedding where people from 80 years ago were gathering on this very spot. I stood there with my boys and played that video on my phone asking my boys what they thought as everyone in this video are most likely dead. My son said that perhaps somewhere, in some dimension they were still gathering and we just couldn’t see them and they couldn’t see us. I suppose anything is possible as we are not much more than primates naively thinking we know what is going on with our meager five senses and primitive religions. My son’s comment reminded me of the book Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman, especially the chapter “14 April 1905” where “time is a circle, bending back on itself. The world repeats itself, precisely, endlessly.”

In searching for interesting things to do I came across Yuletide Village in Wayne County Ohio.

Yultide Village

This is a permanent Renaissance Village in Wayne County Ohio, or about an hour from Columbus. I have only visited this place once and it was on a high school trip as a senior. As a senior I wasn’t into the Renaissance as I am now but i do have a few memories. One of them was my classmate Joe Graham “goosed” one of the female actors walking by and she was very unhappy about that but could not break character. So when the teacher came she spoke with a Victorian accent about “ungentlemanly behavior.” The teacher didn’t really understand and Joe told her it must just be part of the act. I imagine one would get into much more trouble today for doing something like that. My only other memory was I got my girlfriend a metal rose that came with a rose smelling liquid dropper to make it actually smell like a rose.

Here is the only picture I have of that trip and it comes from my 1995 high school yearbook. One of my classmates was pulled on stage to help with the traveling minstrel show.

As for “Yultide Village” I enjoyed it quite a bit but think the interest levels varied quite a bit in our group. For me, I’d love sitting in the tavern drinking mead whilst singing along with the local bard. Unfortunately the kids are too young and none of the adults are as into this type of thing as I so we just did two walks around, took some pictures, ate a bit then went home.

Yultide Village – Waynesville, Ohio
Yultide Village, Renaissance Village, Ohio

As for Thanksgiving, I followed my usual directions and the food came out perfectly although the gravy may have a been a bit too salty. Not much of an issue but I think I’ll make a note of that in my instructions.

As for the dinner, it was a wonderful gathering of family, Aunt Connie, Father Jeff and my “Aunt” Louise. Aunt Louise is a senior, slightly handicapped woman who used to babysit my sister and I when we were very young. I hadn’t seen her since I was about 7 years old but remember her vividly as she was always very kind unlike the torture from the Bauman sisters that babysat me previously. One reason I’m so against daycare for my own kids is quite a few of the places where I attended daycare as a kid were not nice at all. I hate daycare and I hate summer camps, this will never change due to those experiences.

I also hadn’t spoken with a priest in probably 15 years but Father Jeff was nice to speak with. I don’t hold high opinions of most priests but I appreciate the modest, intellectual ones should I meet them.

One difference between this trip versus others in the past is that I no longer contact old friends. COVID started this change as it was simply too risky. Another reason is that my family has been with me on every trip (sometimes they are in Japan) so I’d rather use the limited time with them

The third reason is all political as I simply can no longer respect any type of Trumper. The stupidity was and is all too much. Trump, pandemic and social media was the perfect recipe to destroy relationships and it has been incredibly effective. So I’ve gone from pretty much the only person who organized meetups among old high school friends to actually being averse to it.

Returning home was an adventure. We had booked United Airlines as I had a lot of unused travel funds since my 2020 Japan trip was cancelled due to COVID and United offered the only non-stop to Columbus from the Bay Area. Well, a few months before our trip United cancelled the non-stop and we were re-routed through Chicago. A big inconvenience but not critical. However, on the return I was notified a few hours before departure that the Columbus – Chicago flight would be delayed. This was a big problem because there was a 20 minute walk between the gates and we only had 28 minutes to make the connection. It takes 8-15 minutes alone just to get off the plane in most circumstances so we weren’t going to make that connection.

When I received that notification my heart sank because I didn’t want to get stuck in Chicago and to add to the anxiety, I had to be in Dallas two days after our flight. Since I work for an airline I can fly for free but it is standby only. Standby isn’t a problem when you are one but having four can cause ulcers. We ended up cancelling United and going with my airline through Denver and luckily made it home although there was some fear there wouldn’t be enough seats on the DEN-SFO portion of the journey. If that were the case we’d have to spend the night in Denver and I’d then send my family to SFO while I went to Dallas. We arrived home at 12:30 AM, I got four hours of sleep then went to Oakland to get back on a plane and go to Dallas.

It is now Sunday December 5th at 9:08 AM. I couldn’t finish this post yesterday as we had to get the Christmas tree up as well as all of the decorations. I also was in terrible need of exercise so between those activities the rest of the day was quite busy.

Brother-in-law deep frying a turkey!

By Mateo de Colón

Global Citizen! こんにちは!僕の名前はマットです. Es decir soy Mateo. Aussi, je m'appelle Mathieu. Likes: Languages, Cultures, Computers, History, being Alive! \(^.^)/