Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Thanksgiving

Have ever felt you are walking on air?

Note: this is a long story/song that spanned almost 3 decades. I cut it short in this post.

I should have told Barbara (Written in 2003 and posted on 2008)

I called up Barbara and I invited myself to stay overnight at her apartment.

She had many friends.

She was attached at the moment to a fashionable young man,

Working in fashion and with fashion, but they had problems.

 

She appeared depressed and disappointed and not in the mood for me.

Her TV was on 24 hours.  I slept and woke up with the TV on.

 

I visited her six years later during my second extended trip to the USA:

Barbara’s sister Sue had told me that Barbara was married and living in Oklahoma City.

I met Barbara at Thanksgiving and she did not look the Barbara of my vision.

 

Her skin looked darker, her face emaciated,

Down to earth, resigned and decked in simple blue jeans and an old black sweater.

She was married to a full-blooded American Indian, herself a half-blooded,

A soft spoken husband, a polite artist who toured the USA exhibiting his paintings.

 

She stayed at home designing jewelry and managing her man’s business.

I accepted her invitation for a Thanksgiving lunch.

I went down to Oklahoma City for an important and specific purpose of mine:

I was determined to tell Barbara my secret.

 

I went down with my steady girlfriend at the time.

Barbara’s eyes had an ironic shine looking at my oriental short friend.

She asked my friend all kinds of questions about our relationship,

How we met and what are our plans.

 

She said to me: “You know, someone needs news about your friend”.

She meant that her sister needed to know the whereabouts of her ex-husband.

I had lost track of the whereabouts of my friend too and could not be of much help.

 

Barbara was entitled to know the truth,

That the first time she walked with me,

She made me feel that I was the most glamorous guy in town.

But I did not tell Barbara the truth.

 

I don’t recall that I talked during my two hours stay at Thanksgiving.

Maybe it did not feel right at that moment

But I should have persevered on my initial decision:

This truth was hers no matter what.

 

She could be eighty, but age does not erase the feeling,

That to my young eyes,

She was the most glamorous woman I set my eyes on.

 

She could be a hundred, but age does not change the fact,

That Barbara made me once walk on air.

Barbara made me walk on air

Note: Re-edit of “I Should Have Told Barbara (Jan. 2003)”

The day before my trip to Los Angeles in the summer of 1976, Sue, the girlfriend of a dear friend of mine studying at the same university, asked me to get in touch with her sister Barbara.

I were in the USA since June of 1975, my first trip ever outside my country.

The International Office at the University arranged a group trip for one week to California, for some of us new international students. We were to meet families in this exchange program.

I did not care meeting any American families for the time being, but I needed to get away in my first summer and wanted to see California.

The International student advisor knew about my origin. The program matched me with an old Jewish couple in Pasadena without warning me. I do consider Israel as our existential enemy and anyone who support Israel financially could never be a friend of mine. I did assume this family supported Israel.

The family had a fourteen-year old boy, or maybe he was their grandchild.

I was Not that curious: They looked pretty old to me. The husband was very helpful and friendly, but his wife gave me the impression that she agreed reluctantly to join the program.

A student from Nigeria was assigned to the same family. The house was large with a garden.  The interior looked old, traditional, gloomy, dark and smelling like it was never aerated and reeking of old people.

The same evening they asked the Nigerian student a few questions, but I was spared this torture, may be because I didn’t look that forthcoming. Or that they figured out I’ll be very sensitive to whatever pertinent questions they might ask.

It is a crime to surprise youth among old people. Youth has to be forewarned, to be prepared on what to expect from elder people. Youth has to be reminded that elderly can be wonderful and much active, That older people are great people, still very much living humans And who could be funny, charming and could be very functional…

We had a general gathering the first day with all the host families and various students. Then we were given the daily program of places to see and I barely paid attention to the program.

We were to see Disneyland the next day for free. I declined the invitation: Disneyland is for kids.

I remember that I had another chance to visit Disney for free, two years later. And I again declined. Disney was still just for kids.

Many years later, I discovered that everybody liked to see Disney, including kids. I never saw Disney in California, but the smaller version in Orlando with my nephews. My little nephews and nieces, five in total then, loved Disney.

Not as much as I did enjoy it that day.

My host drove me for an hour to the meeting place with Barbara, living in West Hollywood. He drove two hours to pick me up, three hours later.

Youth: ruthless, mindless, uncompromising, and unappreciative.

I still can visualize Barbra after thirty years, coming toward me, in white shirt, long brown skirt reaching below her knees, almost touching her long brown cowboy boots.

Her boots must have added a couple inches to her stature. She is shorter than me in an afterthought. But the vision is always of a tall and grand lady.

She appeared taller than me but my pride increased correspondingly, by her side.

Her then long blonde-brown hair was raised over her beautiful head. She looked glamour incarnate.

She hugged me and made me feel I was a dear friend, of long time, whom she missed.

She spoke with effusion and earnestness.

She wanted to know all that is to know, instantly,

About how her sister is doing, what about her sister’s boyfriend who was my friend, About their relationship, about Oklahoma her home State…

About everything, but nothing about me, or how I feel or felt that moment.

I was glad that I was not the object of the conversation then, but not so glad now.

We walked together so close, and I was walking on air.

I felt that I must look the most envied guy, a most glamorous guy in the whole wide world.

I asked permission from my host family to move at Barbara’s, for the duration of the program, and they agreed.

Next morning was warm and sunny and I walked to Beverly Hills to see her in the fashion store she managed. I did walk on stars’ hands and the walk was Not that long.

She received me like a VIP and was happy at my surprised visit. And I toured Downtown Beverly Hills: Pretty empty of clients, boring, clean, expensive for no reasons… I cannot recall if I waited for Barbara to finish work or that I returned by myself.

I wanted to be with Barbara every second of my trip in California.

A couple of years later, I accepted to attend a conference in Los Angeles hoping to see Barbara again.

It was an important political conference but my heart was not in it.

My friends drove me through Beverly Hills, where the rich and glamorous live, but I was not impressed.

Finally, giving up, they gave me a lift from Anaheim to West Hollywood.

I called up Barbara and I invited myself to stay overnight at her apartment.

She had many friends. She was attached at the moment to a fashionable young man, working in fashion and with fashion, but they had problems.

She appeared depressed and disappointed and not in the mood for me. Her TV was on 24 hours.

I slept and woke up with the TV on.

Six years later, during my second extended trip to the USA, I had another opportunity to visit with Baraba

Sue was leaving to Little Rock with her boyfriend had she told me that Barbara was married and living in Oklahoma City and she gave me her phone number.

I met Barbara on Thanksgiving and she did not look the Barbara of my vision.

Her skin looked darker, her face emaciated, down to earth, resigned and decked in simple blue jeans and an old black sweater.

She was married to a full-blooded American Indian, herself a half-blooded lady.

A soft spoken husband, a polite artist who toured the USA exhibiting his paintings.

She stayed at home designing jewellery and managing her man’s business.

I accepted her invitation for a Thanksgiving lunch.

I went down to Oklahoma City for an important and specific purpose of mine: I was determined to tell Barbara my secret.

I went down with my steady girlfriend at the time. I had to because I had no cars: actually, I spent most of my University education on a bicycle.

Barbara’s eyes had an ironic shine looking at my oriental (Filipina) short friend.

She asked my friend all kinds of questions about our relationship,

How we met and what are our plans.

Barbara said to me: “You know, someone needs news about your friend”.

She meant that her sister needed to know the whereabouts of her ex-husband.

I had lost track of the whereabouts of my friend too and could not be of much help.

Barbara was entitled to know the truth, that the first time she walked with me, she made me feel that I was the most glamorous guy in town.

But I did not tell Barbara the truth.

I don’t recall that I talked during my two hours stay at Thanksgiving.

Maybe it did not feel right at that moment, but I should have persevered on my initial decision:

This truth is hers no matter what.

She could be eighty, but age does not erase the feeling, that to my young eyes, she was the most glamorous woman I set my eyes on.

She could be a hundred, but age does not change the fact,

That Barbara made me once walk on air.

Maybe if I had told Barbara, I wouldn’t have written this story.

If It Happened There … America’s Annual Festival Pilgrimage Begins

 posted this Nov. 27, 2013
107111488
The long journey home. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

This is the fourth installment of a continuing series in which American events are described using the tropes and tone normally employed by the American media to describe events in other countries.

WASHINGTON, D.C., United States—On Wednesday morning, this normally bustling capital city became a ghost town as most of its residents embarked on the long journey to their home villages for an annual festival of family, food, and questionable historical facts.

Experts say the day is vital for understanding American society and economists are increasingly taking note of its impact on the world economy.

The annual holiday, known as Thanksgiving, celebrates a mythologized moment of peace between America’s early foreign settlers and its native groups—a day that by Americans’ own admission preceded a near genocide of those groups.

Despite its murky origins, the holiday remains a rare institution celebrated almost universally in this ethnically diverse society.

During the holiday, more than 38.4 million Americans will make the long pilgrimage home, traveling an average of 214 miles over congested highways, often in inclement weather.

The more prosperous citizens will frequently opt for the nation’s airways, suffering through a series of flight delays and missed airline connections thanks to the country’s decaying transportation infrastructure and residual fears of foreign terrorist attacks.

Once home, the holiday’s traditions encourage Americans to consume massive quantities of food centered around the turkey, a flightless, and some would say tasteless bird , native to the American continent.

All in all, 46 million of these animals will be slaughtered for the feast, nearly 20% of those raised each year.

The average American will consume an almost unbelievable 4,500 calories, despite ongoing warnings about dangerous obesity rates nationally.

Virtually the only break from the eating comes when Americans gather around the television to watch a special presentation of football, the country’s most popular sport.

If the brutal violence of the game seems at odds with the holiday’s emphasis on thanks and good will, no one seems to mind.

Though rooted in America’s ancient history, the celebration of Thanksgiving today also reflects the transforming values of American society.

One relatively recent tradition is the head of state’s public “pardoning” of a turkey—a sop to animal rights activists made somewhat moot by the fact that the country’s president simply dines on a different turkey.

To outsiders, it can also seem like a somewhat macabre gesture since the United States is one of the last developed countries to employ the death penalty for humans.

Traditionally, the Friday and weekend following Thanksgiving have been set aside for another American institution—intense consumer activity and bargain shopping.

(The availability of deeply discounted goods is increasingly beginning even sooner, sometime on the holiday itself, angering some purists.)

More than $59 billion will be spent over these days, though the exact figure will be watched closely by economists looking for clues about the country’s national mood and economic well-being.

The event is known as “Black Friday,” though contrary to popular belief, this is not due to the injuries and deaths that periodically occur during retail stampedes.

In recent years, some experts have questioned whether the hidden costs of the Thanksgiving holiday have become excessive;

whether the celebration is worth its massive environmental impact and the increased health risks due to traffic accidents and overeating.

Still, the majority of the population holds fast to these pastimes.

For them, they are part of a rare, quintessentially American tradition in a modernizing society that finds itself increasingly under the influence of the outside world.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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