Thanksgiving Owl

Not yet. I haven’t lost my mind just yet. I’m still perfectly aware of the fact that the customary symbolic bird for the American Thanksgiving holiday is a turkey.

But mine’s an owl.

It’s my son’s favorite. Or at least I think it is. Sometimes I wonder if he just patronizes me – when every Christmas I buy him a new and unique owl tree ornament – believing that if he doesn’t he’ll hurt my feelings because I enjoy them so much.

I don’t get to see my son for Thanksgiving. I won’t get to spend time with him for Christmas.

I’m not entirely sure when I’ll get to be with him again. It’s been almost a year since I’ve had him with me.

I’ve never enjoyed the holidays; in fact, I’ve detested them and avoided them as much as I’ve been able to. Having my kid with me has sufficiently distracted me from the time of year it actually is: that seasonal deluge of ringing bells and gift ideas streamed endlessly into our psyches and blinking and twinkling and colorful lights on the roofs and doorways of warmly lit suburban houses.

The stress of choosing the politically correct gift for the boss, the financial household budgets that are blown to shreds and the sinking realization that days on end have to be wasted on enduring blow-hard uncles and fussing aunts and drunken cousins – only to be repeated in less than one month’s time – are all pressures that I gladly do without.

I spend a great deal of my holidays wondering what it would be like to actually enjoy a Thanksgiving or a Christmas with no one fighting or yelling or blaming or sniping – just talking and laughing and eating and making meals together.

And it makes me sad  that I’ll never know what it truly feels like to look forward to the occasion; I’ll never understand why all of a sudden on one day out of 365 I’m supposed to drop everything else and “count my blessings”.

I do that every day. At least I try to. It’s been on the verge of impossible for entirely too long as I watch everything I believed I had been blessed with; everything I’ve accomplished and built in my life light up in flames and fall to withering ashes at my feet.

There will be little time to consider some stupid commercial and family holiday around me when the only thing that plagues me is wondering when – not if – I’ll be wandering through a snowbank in a few weeks’ time.

Merry fucking ho ho ho.

I have an above-genius IQ. I have had years of spectacular work and educational experience. I have loyalty and work ethic beyond reproach…and somehow I cannot find employment to save my soul.
I am at a complete loss as to what to do next or what I could possibly do differently to modify that situation.
In the last year I’ve had to sell everything I own including a Christmas tree that adorned my living rooms for decades…but that I won’t have this year to decorate. I sit in an empty shell of a house that’s been on the market for months but has garnered little serious interest; a house I’ve struggled and scraped and sweated to have for my own before fortunes drastically faded.
Recently I took a job with a shady business in a seedy ghetto, settling for a fraction of the wage I’d previously been accustomed to; desperate and hungry and broke. That stint lasted about three weeks until lesser “colleagues” decided that they hated me so much for having different worldly experiences than them threatened violence against me.
The company’s HR has yet to respond to assistance I sought from them; I left there over six weeks ago to avoid getting shot. Literally. And their representatives sat by and did nothing.
After that, I snapped up an online job with a web design firm that scammed me out of thousands of dollars for which I’m on the hook, and that which exceeds every dollar I now have in this world.
Disclaimer: This is NOT fiction, folks. This is all real and has taken place over the last three weeks.
So on occasion I scrape together what I have left of the jasmine rice in my cupboard to quell the stress headaches some and to give me enough focus so that I can write.
Because it’s all I have.
And it’s why my Thanksgiving and Christmas and unforeseeable holidays will be me sans my son. Or thanks. Or peace…all of those great wonderful idealistic notions that seem to stir sentimental hearts into tizzies at this time of year.
My heart has rarely afforded me the ability to be sentimental. That makes me sad, too.
But more so I find it ironic that this is my view, my life, my perception, and my struggle that has continued entirely too long and beyond a length of time I never thought I could imagine.
Those with whom I’m close, few they be in number, are and have been fully aware of my plight.
From them I’ve received the obligatory “That’s too bad. Hang in there and something will come along soon. It’s just around the corner”, their patronization from their ivory towers. I can’t stand the shallow woe that spews when there is nothing else to say.

I’d like to work. I’d like to be productive. I’d like to not lose my home. I’d love to have a bottle of wine for Thanksgiving dinner.

I’d love to have a Thanksgiving dinner, for that matter.

I’d like for my book to be a number one best-seller, NYT blockbuster…I’d like it to mean something to someone who makes the effort to read it from cover to cover and not those who promise to buy it but never do, and not those who do buy it and allow it to collect dust on their nightstand.

I’d love to have someone to gift my book at Christmas time.

If I had any number of those things, I’d be thankful.

I’d like all of you reading this to truly TRULY honestly, from the depths of your soul take the time to watch your child shove that last bite of pumpkin pie into their face at the table.

To listen to the laughter of your grandmother as she recalls a long-since-passed memory.

Leave your phone at home. Ignore social media for two days.

Savor the taste of a succulent roasted turkey. Breathe in the crisp fall air when it takes away your breath.

Allow me to live vicariously through your ugly sweater stories and drudgeries…and smile for me.

Grin to yourself if you see any owl ornament in the window of a shop you pass as you rush to buy that last minute gift.

I bet my son would love it.