Thanksgiving was quiet around our house this year. Each of the children are having the bird with their in-laws but we will have their presence next year.
Cooking a festive dinner for two is so much easier than preparing for a dozen mouths. In previous years, we have had to follow a logistical chart showing the preparation times for every aspect of the meal, when to start each item in order to have everything done at the same time, or nearly so.
My wife would marshal the troops in the kitchen and assign each their task, standing at her command post at the stove, directing traffic as needed, consulting the chart as needed.
This year, the chart stayed in its home in the kitchen drawer next to the turkey baster. We will not need it again until next season.
The microwave turkey was the only “easy” part of the meal. We still made the mashed potatoes and pumpkin pies, heated up the peas and ladled out the cranberry sauce.
It was quiet and subdued and everything was cleaned away before any of the kids called to wish us a happy Thanksgiving.
And though the house was so quiet during this normally festive season, my wife was relieved to have an “easy” holiday this year. No need to make a fuss in the kitchen for just the two of us, she said, hiding any disappointment at the lack of their presence.
Still, when the calls came later, she talked for quite a while with each of them, listening to the menus of each of the feasts and asking for anecdotes of the grandkids.
It may have been a quiet day but it was still a day for family. Though miles may have separated all of us, the closeness was still present in the home, making her eyes shine bright in the fading evening light.
Life is good and we have so much to be thankful for, even so.
Many others cannot be with their family this year for reasons beyond their control. Whether it is the political turmoil abroad or the remnants of storms on the domestic front, we wish the best and pray the families can return to some unity as soon as possible.
That is what this season is all about.
What would the world be like after a nuclear war?
Certainly if the number of warheads spewing nuclear material into the atmosphere was significant, I should imagine the world would be beyond recovery for centuries as every living thing could be erased. But what if there was only a limited number of warheads, something a bit less than killing the entire world six times over?
A story was born of that idea and the year was 1969. As I worked on the timeline for civilization rebuilding itself, I encountered more story ideas along the way and the short story morphed into a novel. As it developed further, it morphed into a series. Then one became two… and so forth.
The eventual end of the exercise was accumulated into a volume I called The Evidence for the Existence of the Mythological United States and it began accumulating rejection slips in the 1970’s. It continued to do so for the next forty years.
Then, in 2012, a group of us got together and formed a publishing company, Martian Publishing, and the volume has finally been published. As well as The Young Wizard, another tale from the same general collection of proposed future histories.
Is this a viable model for the future of the world? The intense nuclear threat that had once held this nation captive seems to have alleviated somewhat but there are other nuclear threats on the horizon. Though Russia (aka “the Evil Empire”) is no longer capable of destroying the world six times over, that degree of destruction would have negated the possibility of any survivors.
So, perhaps the scenario is still viable.
Of course, there are a million little tiny factors that can go into a scenario like I suggest and this telling is only one of the many possibilities. Perhaps others may be closer to the mark but that is something I will never know because it will probably take place long after I am departed.
But I think the story is rich enough and diverse enough to entertain even if you cannot buy into the totality of the theory. And with that in mind, I continue to work on the sequels to both of the volumes.