If you live in a true temperate climate, like I did growing up, you might say that the months have personalities. Personalities influenced by the weather and the holidays. In November, in upstate New York, it got dark early and then earlier and earlier. And it was cold. Often the first significant snowfall put in an appearance. It was a month that was more somber than joyful albeit punctuated by the warm sounds of gratitude and full bellies around a Thanksgiving table.
In the last years before her death, my mother dominated my siblings’ and my thoughts and concerns. There was infrequent mention of my father who had died so many years before. I would quietly think about him each November 6, the Election Day anniversary of his leaving us. This year, with my mother gone two years past, I almost missed this anniversary.
My father was a very warm and nurturing individual. He played board games and Wiffle ball with us kids and invested significant amounts of time paying attention to and being available to us. I think he was ahead of other men of his generation.
I still recall with fondness the morning he met me for coffee in the W.T. Grant department store downtown. I was probably home from college or in my last years of high school. I felt so grown up to be doing this. Mind you, this was long before Starbucks and a café on every corner. Dad met me, we sat on stools at the simple lunch counter, chatted, and then we separately left. He to return to work, and I to do whatever. I felt that in his eyes that day, I was an adult.
Sadly, my father died far too young at only 48. On that fateful Election Day eve, we drove hours through the dark, cold, snow-flurry night to say our last goodbyes. He was the only one who voted (absentee). He never got to know and enjoy his grandson and granddaughters nor his great grandchildren. But he left a legacy of caring and warmth that lives on in us as we remember and cherish all that he gave us in that short time. And, it being November and Veterans Day, he was also a World War II and Korean War Navy vet.
November can be a gloomy month up north, but it redeems itself with thankfulness on a day to draw close to family and friends.
RECIPE OF THE WEEK
A very good friend served us these tuna and bulgur stuffed peppers recently, and they were delicious! So much so that I immediately made a copy of the recipe for myself. It’s from Melissa Clark at the New York Times. These peppers are prettier than hers!