Dan Gisvold at Bear Creek

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Thanksgiving with our family was always a big thing. Shoot, we had our great-grandmother, our grandmother, my mother's sister, Louise (who is still going strong in her 90's!), Louise's family and all of us. Sometimes mom and Louise's cousins would join us. We would all trek to Sacramento and Auntie Doo (Louise) and Uncle Eddie would make this gynormous dinner. Always with a turkey and always with a Waldorf style salad (yuck!). The kids were regulated to the living room table and the adults were in the dining room.

Dan HATED it. He was constantly being teased about being skinny or lanky or looking like Papa instead of our father (Bill and I are father replicas, sorry to say). It was worse if it was raining and he was stuck indoors with all the grownups. If he took offense he would get teased about being a bad sport. If he said anything smart he was reprimanded. It was a no win situation for him.

So, when we grew up, Bill and I liked big Thanksgivings. Dan didn't. Duh.

The last few years, though, Mel and I had kinda skipped the whole Thanksgiving thing. Our parents had passed on. Melodie might come over but usually not because I didn't like her driving on a holiday and when we lived in Bakersfield it was usually foggy at that time of year. So we would usually order in Chinese or something and forget the whole thing.

But this last year Dan was here with us and we all wanted to do something. Nobody wanted to cook. That was a given. No one would eat what I cooked (not even me, the cats or the dogs, for that matter). Jed needed a vacation (and he was the only good cook in the group). So we made reservations at an Italian restaurant in San Luis Obispo. It was one of a handful of restaurants open on Thanksgiving.

We made the reservation early so that Mel wouldn't have to sit on a hard chair or wait around too long. (Restaurants are murder on people with bad backs!) But we still had to wait. It was Thanksgiving and people were staying at their tables. While we are standing there, I snapped this picture of Dan with Melodie and Jed.

Jed, Dan and Melodie

Just as I took it Dan remarked, "There's always one in the crowd." And I laughed. He hated having his picture taken.

I look at that photo and I realize how tired he was. But it was one of the most enjoyable Thanksgivings I ever had. We laughed and told stories. Mel and Dan had a great conversation about some esoteric thing. We talked about music and singing. We talked about family and how great a family is.

Less than a month later he was gone. I am so thankful for that Thanksgiving.

1 comment:

  1. Thanksgiving was always our big holiday too and we had a fabulous one right before we lost Eric. I think they'll all be harder from now on, but we made it through the first one and we'll make it through the rest as well.