This spring-like weather is an anxious start to the ski season.
It's a little early to make any prediction on the whole season. We all know it can turn quickly and ferociously around here, and after last winter, we're due for something closer to normal (whatever normal is anymore). But if the skiing doesn't get interesting pretty quickly, I may have to deal with a drywall repair that I've been putting off for months. I hope it doesn't come to that.
Thanksgiving has come and gone already. It's a little hard to get my brain wrapped around that one, even though the Christmas decorations have been out for a month at Home Depot and more than a few people turned on the lights a week ago. It's difficult for even a world-class procrastinator like me to ignore Christmas with all that going on. I've come to appreciate the more reflective observance of Thanksgiving more than the overwhelming celebration of Christmas. It's a good thing to take a day or two to look at the overall condition of things.
We live in an extraordinary community. Admittedly it's easy to be generous when there is so much to be generous with. The $600,000 raised in one day from the Live PC Give PC campaign is really the tip of the iceberg of the charitable giving that goes on around here. That's pretty incredible. A big share of the money raised will go to people and places far removed from here, where there is real suffering and a need for assistance. We took good care of our trails, pets and open space, but nobody was shy about taking care of people in third-world countries where clean water is a luxury. There was a different feeling about making those donations on a day when so many others were doing the same, even though it was the same donation I would have made without fanfare in December. There is power in the collective act.
The abundance that Thanksgiving dinner symbolizes is truly there in my life. The dinner itself was based on the Grandma Jensen one-true-Thanksgiving-dinner plan. Truth be told, I suspect that Grandma Jensen would hardly recognize "her" feast if she were still around to see it. My mother did a pretty close approximation, and my oldest sister didn't deviate much from the official plan. (The other sister has made concessions to recipes from her husband's family. Dinner at her house is very good, but not strictly orthodox.) Now the head chef is my niece, with lots of parts of the meal farmed out to others.
It's still the Grandma Jensen model. But when we drove to Idaho for dinner at my grandparents' house, the meal was still being cooked on a "combination" stove half electric and half wood. She preferred the wood in the winter since their house never had central heat. The turkey had been patrolling the yard the day before. My cousin and I once got very brave and went out behind the garage where the cats were having their own Thanksgiving feast on the parts that weren't going to get cooked. The banana squash that made "pumpkin" pie was grown in a garden behind the tractor shed. With the exception of the cranberries, the entire meal had been produced on their farm.
Things are different today, at least in terms of where the food came from. Things aren't so different, though, when you crowd multiple generations of the family together around a combination of tables stuffed into any available floor space in the house. Mine is now the generation of venerable old folks who are largely relieved of any cooking duties. Changes slip in there sort of unnoticed. Apparently there are some families where yams are cooked without marshmallows. Shocking.
Life is good, and for a lot of reasons. This is a community that takes care of each other. I've got a huge extended family that I really enjoy sharing time with. There are good friends to play with, and a great playground to do it in right here. I live in a spot of incredible beauty. My "frontier living" is possible because a whole lot of people make it happen. When it snows, the guys from UDOT and the county have the roads plowed. The people from the power company keep the lights on (mostly) in all kinds of weather. I've got the best UPS driver in the system, which says a lot since I'm not in a location that is easy to deliver to. The propane company calls me before the price goes up to see if I need the tank topped off. There is much to be thankful for.
I think I'll have another piece of pie.
Tom Clyde practiced law in Park City for many years. He lives on a working ranch in Woodland and has been writing this column since 1986.