A LIFE MORE ORDINARY - Where I Wanted To Be

(12/01/2003)

By Gaylen Duskey

Sitting here in my office listening to the wind whistling around outside while wondering exactly how much, if any, snow I will see in the morning gives me a chance to think about the week that just happened.

It was, for an ordinary week if you can ever consider Thanksgiving week an ordinary week, an eye-opener. There were the usual chores to do. The seemingly endless trips to the store. The massive “honey do” list. It was all usual stuff.

We had company in from North Carolina. Friends of ours from the days Linda and I were first married and living in Beckley. I was sports editor of the now defunct Raleigh Register and Linda was a cashier at the now defunct Heck’s store. That was some 30 years ago so we go back a long way with the Dixons – Roger and Cathy.

They were up from their home near Winston-Salem. Roger was going to do some hunting on my mother’s farm on Hog Knob – yes, he had her permission … the first person I can ever remember getting her permission. It was shocking to a lot of the hunters on Hog Knob who she routinely turns down, but they haven’t been good friends with her son for nearly 30 years like Roger has.

I was going to lie around and keep my foot – the one with the broken bone – up. There was no way in the world that was going to happen, but I didn’t know that when the week started.

I don’t remember exactly what happened on Monday but it was the start of a major campaign of “honey do” chores and trips to the stores.

Monday evening my right foot throbbed but I knew there was no rest coming because I was told that we needed to have the electric wall oven wired up – now!

Tuesday was not fun. I got the wire out and measured it. There was just enough of the longest piece to go under the house if I were to junction box it on both sides (of the house) to attach some shorter pieces.

Piece of cake I thought especially since I could not get under the house and Linda had agreed to pay Elizabeth to crawl under the house and drag the wire from one side to another.

It was a slow and painful (since I had to stand up and walk from side to side of the house to make sure things were going all right under the house) and it was made even worse when Elizabeth came out from under the house.

She had the look of a whipped puppy on her face and my only order to her was “go take a shower … you’re not going back under there again.”

She gladly complied.

But a new list of “honey do” assignments did not allow me time to get the wiring done before dark. It would now be at least Wednesday before the oven was done and I was going to be pushing Thanksgiving hard.

Wednesday I was lucky but some deer wasn’t. Roger was home from the woods early and was going to be able to help me with the wiring. Since he has his own construction business in North Carolina I was happy to have him pitch in and by early in the afternoon the wall oven we had bought at a bargain from a classified ad almost two years ago was working like a charm.

I was a hero … the oven worked!

Thursday – Thanksgiving Day – we had a great meal but before I was able to count my blessings, or eat my meal, I first had to mentally count all the negatives.

One-by-one they ran through my mind:

My foot was aching.

Not too many years ago I used to spend Thanksgiving at the beach in Destin, Florida, in a condo overlooking the beautiful white sand and the green waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Now I was in a house that, though I liked, really needed repairs.

I was not going to get to melt into my easy chair and watch football games after dinner. I was going to go to an auction with Linda and Cathy … mostly to chaperone, I think.

Although I love turkey dressing I really don’t like turkey all that much and we had what looked like a 400-pounder.

Pretty bad, huh?

I thought so right up until the first bite of dressing. Then I looked around the table at smiling faces and heard the laughter. Here were my wife, my daughter and my mother – the three women I love most in the world. Here were not only friends, but also old friends who were willing to share their Thanksgiving with us.

Nothing else really mattered much. I knew I was where I wanted to be – in my home in Calhoun County – with the people I wanted to be with. Thanksgiving doesn’t get any better than this. And for this I am thankful.

You may contact Gaylen Duskey at realfang@citlink.net


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