Here's Johnny - A Hatchling Thanksgiving
On Thanksgiving Eve, about 12:45 p.m., The Hatchling stepped off a plane at the Louisville International Airport and administered the first hug I'd had in nearly three months. I heard a sharp crack and thought I'd broken her back, but she said it just popped and felt pretty good besides. By the time she arrived, you see, I'd become so desperate for human contact that I was chasing strangers up and down Main Street until Versailles Police Chief James Fugate asked me to cease and desist, posthaste. I didn't know what posthaste meant, but figured the last half of the word meant I should stop yelling "Hey Lady!" ala Jerry Lewis pretty quickly. He'd also uttered the phrase "restraining order," and I was pretty sure I knew what that meant. The Hatchling (aka Anna, my 18-year-old daughter) has been at Marymount Manhattan College in New York City since late August pursuing her twin dreams: to dance professionally and to exhaust her parents' bank accounts. She's making great progress on both fronts. That morning, she'd made her own arrangements to get from her dorm room in a Manhattan high-rise to LaGuardia Airport. She got up extra early (without a parent's nudge or scream), caught the subway to a bus station and then a bus to the airport. Or vice-versa. Point is, she got to the airport at the recommended two-hours-before departure time all by herself. Her flight arrived a few minutes before its listed time (another Thanksgiving miracle!), she strolled off, sans luggage, we made it to my car less than a half-hour after I'd arrived and I only had to pay a buck to park. That, my Dear Readers, is an efficient trip to an airport. On the way back, she said school was going quite well and admitted that more than one of her five roommates might be classified as a Wild Child. Apparently, in the Big Apple, it's quite easy to obtain alcoholic beverages as a minor, though I'm pretty sure The Hatchling hasn't done anything more than smell the rancid breath of a Wild Child. We stopped at Kroger World to get a vegetable tray for the next day's festivities at my mother's and, of course, to tour Kroger World. (Dear Readers may recall my semi-satirical and entirely fictitious account last year of a Woodford County family's trip to the Largest Kroger In Kentucky - the shuttle bus from their distant parking place to the front door, their ride aboard the KrogerRail inside the store, the tour of Krogerians of the Caribbean, etc.) "You won't find this in New York City," I told her, and not for the first time - I'd said such things as we drove past pastures along I-64 and U.S. 60 filled with four-legged beasts. Anna was so excited or polite that she seemed quite enthused about her first trip to Kroger World, where we found a $3.99 vegetable tray and even ate lunch there. Somehow, she managed to save half of her macaroni dish, which I'd eyed with evil intent as soon as it arrived. The next day, we took the admittedly tiny vegetable tray to Mom's and joined my brother and his Hatchlings for a mid-afternoon Thanksgiving meal. One seat at the table was empty but there was nothing to be done for it, so I set my sights on less lofty goals. Perhaps still thinking of my unrequited feelings for, among other things, Anna's macaroni dish, I proceeded to fill and finish three plates full of turkey, mashed potatoes, corn and green beans. I'm pretty sure at least one roll was involved, too. Across the table was my brother's stepson, Andrew, a 14-year-old from Venezuela, in the midst of a growth spurt that has added a half-foot to his height and apparently requires enormous amounts of fuel. He kept pace with me and the war was on. At one point mid-second plate, I mistook Anna's hand for a drumstick and she nearly lost it - in my defense, she'd been warned to keep her hands and elbows away . In the end, Andrew outdid me by the margin of a piece of pumpkin pie, but hey, you gotta let the kids win occasionally. The Vikings lost a heart-breaker but all else seemed well with the world or close to it. Anna was home for the weekend and while I never did get a clear shot at the rest of her macaroni, I did my best to get enough hugs to last four more weeks and she never said anything about a restraining order. She'll be back Dec. 23, and this time will stay for a month. I can hardly wait, but I suppose I'll have to. I hope every Dear Reader had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and I'll see y'all at the Christmas Parade Saturday.