previous home next Thanksgiving a and other monthlies
November 23, 2000
about shools, Costco, happy cows, Thanksgiving Day, and our monthly.
write us Česky

Madlenka + Šmudla
Madlenka + Šmudla

We had been invited, for a long time, to visit Kren's (Martina, Ik, Madlenka a Šmudla) on Thanksgiving.

On Monday I called Martina to arrange for her and me go for Madlenka. Madlenka got accepted to a prestigious school in Menlo Park, which means daily commute. This is nothing special here, due to non-existing mass transit and lack of a real down town, mothers must daily drive kids to and from school. Schools are usually built to cope with that, having a roundabout where cars roll and pick from assembled children. Next to our house, on Arastradero, this system causes a traffic jam. Suddenly, hundreds of cars attempt to enter an alley and eventually leave it, which is regulated by traffic lights, so twice a day this alley becomes the "main" street and traffic streams in and out of the school. I promised Martina that I can pick Madlenka up sometimes, on the occasion of a runaway dog, earthquake, asthmatic seizure, or other natural or family disaster.

George practicing
Some of us kept ahead of others
At Kren's kitchen
Every good party takes place in the kitchen

We agreed to a trip to the school on Tuesday, and went shopping on Monday. We both dislike shopping and find it more acceptable to chat while browsing among racks of stuff. First, we went to Costco, which is a warehouse-style place, with much cheaper prices (half to third), but you must buy large packings -- and only what they momentarily have. One cannot rely on them having laid out just what you need, or your favorite brand. They sell everything from bread (the tasteless sliced toasty kind), yogurts, vegetables, meat, fish, poultry, over to books, underwear, jeans, shirts, slippers, toilet paper, toothpaste, detergents, all the way to refrigerators and computers. Costco is an ugly store, everything is exposed in boxes, or stacked on huge racks, cloths are heaped in piles to dig through, and everybody is rolling through with shopping cars that would each accommodate a standard-sized kitchen appliance. But, for the price ... would you not shop there??? :-) For example, jeans cost $12 there, six rolls of Kodak films $10, etc. So we drifted through Costco with Martina, which was useful in that she pointed out -- this cheese is awful, this is good, this sausage is acceptable, these tomatoes are great...

A difficult task, placed on men
Complicated surgery

I would also wish to let you shop for meat here. My aversion towards dead animals disappeared completely. Sid explained, how a steak from a "happy" cow tastes better than one from a poor weary bovine, and he was probably right. Cows roam outside most of the year, in a beautiful countryside, bellow and graze and have no stress. We had seen herds on hills around our way to the ocean, and Sid commented, "tell me, can a cow with this view be unhappy?"
Back to meat. It is processed, cut lean, with tubes, cartilage and bones removed, pleasant to behold. Martina told me a story, how she once desired to make cracklings and so she went begging to a big store's meat department to give her some fatty scraps. They regarded her as very eccentric, and so she quickly added that she wanted it "for her dog". They regarded her worse yet, for she wanted to torture the poor animal with CHOLESTEROL!

If you wonder now, how come that Americans are so fat on average, it's because the eat huge volumes (I am not able to finish a standard American serving), they feed all the time -- for a one day trip, they pack a full cooler of food. What more, American cuisine is relatively simple-minded. Steak or sausage, or hamburger, with a heap of fries or fried hash browns, add ketchup and mayonnaise, gulp cola, then coffee with whipped cream, and dessert.

At the table
Finally, food's on the table

Tuesday, then, we went to Menlo for Madlenka. She is twelve now, goes to this school for a second year and it must be quite difficult, for she stays there from seven thirty to three thirty. It is interesting that she LIKES it. What I would like is their one and half hour of physical exercise daily. These kids don't grow up into donuts.

I asked the ladies about Thanksgiving, since I know a bit what the word means, but I lack any idea of who, when, where, and why. I had a vague hint of Pilgrim Fathers back at my English classes, but that's about all of it. Well: Pilgrim Fathers left Boston, England, for Holland (I believe because some religious dispute, as it was common in those times). They did not catch on in Holland, either, and so they continued on they ship called Mayflower to America, to Plymouth river mouth. Created Jamestown, where they were free, but most of them died from various diseases. Winter was approaching and settlers found that they were going to starve. Fortunately they got together with some local Indians, who showed them how to hunt wild turkey, eat yams and cranberries, and so they organized this feast. Since then, Americans celebrate Thanksgiving. During this holiday, nobody will jump at you in a costume with a red cap, and nobody will try to wash your brains claiming that your child cannot survive without a brand new digital toy, which simulates a nuclear explosion, nor (hear, hear!!!) would you need to send any greeting cards to anyone (I admit that in this department, my efforts were always tepid at best, and I mean to maintain this policy in the future, hence you may not expect to receive anything from me this year as well :-)). On Thanksgiving, families get together, talk and eat turkey.

What's in that pot?
No, Martina is really not inhaling anything...

Our family got together in full set -- the two of us, all Krens (including Šmudla), and Tomáš. Tomáš is another person who somehow ended up in America one day.

It was taxing due to volume of food and wine. Such an afternoon lunch dragged out to become dinner. The boys carved up the bird, many a beverage got poured, and it was a relaxed fun.

A whole number of months fell on Thanksgiving as well. It's hard to compare that to anniversary, since we did not get through any years yet, but we had been husband and wife for two months this day. Further on, it's been a whole one month since my arrival to America, and half year since our first e-mail. You will certainly agree that a celebration was in order.konec

[Previous] [Home] [Next] [Write] [Česká verze]

previous home next Copyright © 2000-2004 by Carol & Sid Paral. All rights reserved. write us Česky