Readers of J.R.R. Tolkein are familiar with Ents, those
long-talking, slow-walking ancient creatures of Middle Earth. They are among
the few beings to have survived to the current age. It seems they eventually took
root, owing to their extreme slowness, and became what we know as trees, those
flexible, sometimes giant, beings that wave in the wind.
I can almost smell the mincemeat and apple pies, sitting on the porch rail to cool, and woe to the child who even contemplated poking a finger in one before The Big Meal.
In my youth, this was an aromatic week, culminating in a table full of turkey, at least one type of squash (and I love them all, in sooth), a humungous bowl of mashed potatoes, a heaping pile of hand-squooshed biscuits and a bowl of cranberry sauce. When cranberry sauce became available in cans, Mom was sure anyone who used the stuff would be consigned to the lower reaches of the eternal furnace.
Let’s call him Jimmy. He is 31, more or less, from the town in which his father and mother were born. As a youngster, he knew nearly everyone within a mile or so of his home, and several who lived farther away. He rode his bicycle around the town, the way some kids where I live ride their bikes around Gettysburg.
“Sometimes we stacked concrete blocks in an alley, to hold up the end of a two-by-ten board,” he said. “Then we raced our bikes to see who could jump the longest.”
“I usually won,” the now father of four boasts.