Despite my grumbling about the rising tide of commercialism threatening to swamp the season, the Family Robbo actually had a very pleasant Thanksgiving this year.   A few observations:

♦     It’s just about five and a half hours between Port Swiller Manor and my brother’s house.  Because we can’t all agree on anything else, we spent the entire trip there and back in the Honda Juggernaut® listening to Toby Keith’s “Thanksgiving Takeover” on Sirius, which played on continuous loop over the course of the long weekend.   I happen to like Toby Keith, but I don’t like him that much……

♦     My brother had the brilliant idea to unload all the kids at an indoor trampoline park on Friday.  Not only did we get the shank of the afternoon to loll around in peace and quiet digesting the previous evening’s browsing and sluicing, the younglings were positively worn out by the time we picked them up and wonderfully subdued.   Well done!

♦     Among the guests this year was my old father’s first cousin, a childless widow who I only met for the first time about a year and a half ago.  She turns out to be witty, intelligent, well-traveled and absolutely chock-a-block with family history and genealogy.  (No word yet on whether she also has a shoebox full of shares in Australian diamond mines.)  I suspected we might become good friends when we got into a detailed comparison of our drives down.  (She actually doesn’t live very far from us and took the same route.)  I knew we were going to be good friends when I discovered that she listens to the same classickal radio station as I do and also noticed like me that the afternoon host has a habit of sometimes saying “Tchai-kow-sky” instead of “Tchai-kov-sky”.   I mean, peas in a pod, what?

♦    I won’t bore you with all the family stuff (at least for now), but one notable nugget is the fact that my great-great-grandfather’s (the Civil War soldier) in-laws were mill owners who operated a station on the Underground Railroad in southern Ohio.  I think that’s pretty cool.

♦   Speaking of classickal musick, what with the extra week of post-Thanksgiving November and the fact that the local station has already rolled out its Christmas playlist,  ol’ Robbo is going to be reduced to a snarling, spitting wreck by about December 14 or so, after he’s heard “If Bach Had Written ‘Jingle Bells'” or Schubert’s “Ave, Maria” on glass harmonica for the umpteenth time.  Consider yourselves warned.

♦  To those of you scratching your heads about my various musickal gripes and wondering why I don’t just turn the radio off, I can only say What? And spoil my fun?

♦    My brother’s neighbors have a very sweet and playful little spaniel-and-God-knows-what-else mix who my nieces and nephew mind when the neighbors are out of town.  From what I gather, the poor dog doesn’t get much attention, so I always make a point of going and playing with it when we visit.   This was not lost on certain young persons.  Combined with the fact that we all found ourselves watching some national dog show on the teevee in between football games one evening, and you can understand why Robbo found himself confronted with a demand from the gels to know why the heck we didn’t have a dog and could we please get one for Christmas.   (The answer, despite the fact that they’d even researched some local giveaways, was a firm Nyet!  For one thing, it wouldn’t be fair on our elderly cat.  For another, I can’t even get that gang of hooligans to clean up after themselves.  Fat chance they’d step up to take on the responsibility of a dog.  I’ve an idea, though, that I’ve not heard the last of this.)

♦  Charlottesville, Virginny is a heck of a lot easier to navigate when the big Thanksgiving weekend ball game is being played down in Blacksburg.

♦  Before we left home on Thursday, I discovered that the port swiller mailbox had been knocked off its post for about the dozenth time.  I can usually console myself with the thought that it was just an accident – somebody swerving to avoid a deer, a wayward snowplow – but this time it looked as if blunt force had been deliberately applied to the side of the box, judging by the baseball bat-sized dent in it.  Heigh, ho.   Well, I jury-rigged it on Thursday and then put on a new one Saturday after we got home.   (The process of repair lasted well on into dusk, probably not the brightest of ideas but I wanted to get it done.)  Stupid kids –  I suppose booby-trapping the thing would leave me liable for damages if I ever managed to nail one of the little bastards.

♦  And so here we are.  A chance of a bit of snow tonight and tomorrow morning.  Woot!

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