We spent Thanksgiving in San Diego at Pacific Beach, where our children now live. Pacific Beach is a small marvel, a colorful, vibrant place on a human scale that is a great place to sketch when it isn’t raining and windy. You can almost afford to live there. Just down the boardwalk a ways is La Jolla, also beautiful and vibrant but way upscale for members of the 99% like us.
We enjoyed our traditional Thanksgiving foods (does anyone else call marshmallows, whipped cream, pineapple, and cherries a “salad”?) and traditional pastimes (watching and singing along to Muppet Christmas Carol while digesting turkey and salad), and I got traditionally teary-eyed when saying what I’m thankful for. I’m still adding to my gratitude list, looking back on the day.
When it was time to make the “salad”, my daughter dug through a couple of kitchen drawers and came up with what was supposed to be a can opener for the pineapple cans…can mangler would have been a more accurate name for that particular implement. It occurs to me now that I take my can opener for granted – I’ve had it for probably 40 years, still works like a charm. It’s easy to forget that everybody doesn’t have one, at least not one that works, nor do they have any cans to open.
The mangling tool in question came from “the Alley Fairy” as they call her, who has designated a place by the dumpsters in the alley where vacationers and landlords toss the stuff they know is too good to throw away but they’re too busy/lazy to take it to GoodWill. My kids are grateful to have a working microwave, four chairs, a desk, a spatula, and an a couple of fans courtesy of said fairy. The fairy even left wine glasses the night before our feast (also what appeared to be a large cement cutting tool, which we left for someone else to figure out).
Now you might think that can openers are old-fashioned… nope. Cans of sugar-baked beans and tuna and peaches make up the bulk of my Earthquake Emergency Food Supplies, because they’re edible without further intervention and will last a good long time. Without a sturdy can opener, we couldn’t get to all that nutrition. So I am grateful for my sturdy can opener, for my shelves of cans out in the garage, for my optimistic and loving kids and their creative acquisition methods, and for San Diego beaches where fairies dwell and the clouds part nearly every day making for gorgeous sunsets.
The gratitude list goes on, but I think I’m ready to focus on the next holidays now.
Pelicans rarely fret about the holidays…