Mondays are okay when retired…The US celebration of Thanksgiving is approaching…

Tom was holding my bag and wine while I took this photo on the cruise to Norway in August.

In my old life, I always dreaded Mondays. As a business owner for most of my career, I often left folders on my desk for tasks I needed to accomplish but couldn’t resolve by Friday late afternoon. Remember that feeling? Thus, when Monday morning rolled around, I faced that pile of folders to tackle them one-by-one before continuing with the rest of the week.

Some required lengthy phone conversations, and others required lots of paperwork, which I always dreaded. I was efficient and meticulous in my work, but these situations were unavoidable. Plus, it was nice to have some time off on a weekend. I only worked when clients couldn’t work with me during the weekday hours.

On the other hand, Tom, working on the railroad for 42½ years, always had an erratic schedule, subject to a pager going off requiring him to head to work imminently. As the US Thanksgiving approaches this year, on Thursday, we both recalled the year he had to leave the dining room table after I had just placed all the dishes to be served on the table.

When we went ashore, we looked back at our ship, Azamara Journey.

Tom’s kids, Tammy and TJ, were at the table, along with my son Greg. My son Richard had already moved to Nevada at this point and wasn’t in attendance.

There was no time for even a “doggie bag.” Off he went with his little brown bag of lunch that I had prepared earlier in the day with a sandwich and a few snacks. At least the next day, I could pack leftovers for him, including pumpkin pie, in that little brown bag. He loves pumpkin pie.

This occurred early in our relationship, maybe in 1991 or 1992, but that wasn’t the first time he wasn’t there. Over the years, I got used to it and accepted the reality of being married to a railroad guy. He was worth it. I didn’t complain.

With our nomadic lifestyle, we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving anymore, although I’d be willing to make the many delicious dishes and pumpkin pies. The problem is that turkey, the ingredients for pumpkin pies, and the various side dishes are not readily available in most other countries. Years ago, we decided the effort wasn’t worth it.

A pipe organ in a church we visited in Norway.

But, on a few occasions, our dear friends Kathy and Don had Thanksgiving dinner in the bush in Marloth Park. Kathy had packed many ingredients in her luggage and arranged for turkeys in Johannesburg, a five-hour drive from the park. It was fantastic, although the four of us were the only Americans at the table of 12 or 14.

On another occasion, I made Thanksgiving in the bush for 12 guests, buying and roasting a stuffed chicken for each couple at the table and baking eight pumpkin pies in 42C, 104F weather. I called the pie-baking “Yesterday’s pumpkin pie hell” when it was nearly impossible to roll the dough for the pies in the heat and humidity. I’ll never forget that day. The pies tasted good, but the crusts were not a pretty sight.

This year, nada…none…no Thanksgiving dinner when none of the ingredients would be available here, either. As I work diligently to feel better, even if I could find the ingredients, I can’t imagine standing in the kitchen all day. Are those days over for me? I don’t know right now.

That’s it for today, dear readers. Again, thanks for all the well wishes. On Wednesday, we’ll head back to Manta to see the cardiologist, find out if he thinks I need heart surgery, and later shop at a bigger market we heard about, MegaMaxi.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, November 20, 2013:

Tom’s dinner consisted of Swahili, a coconut-flavored sauce over the catch-of-the-day. He ate a few bites of his veggies. I always tell him that fried potatoes (referred to here as “chips”) don’t count as a vegetable. For more photos, please click here.

Comments and responses Mondays are okay when retired…The US celebration of Thanksgiving is approaching…

  1. Rick Olson Reply

    Jess & Tom: In your current daily post you mentioned life living with a railroader and what that was like. Missing holidays and family functions because work called him to work. I, too lived the railroad life as well. And I give all the credit to my wife, Sheila for holding down the fort and raising 4 kids into adulthood. So, you two have fun!
    Take Care! Rick & Sheila Olson, Duluth

    • worldwide-admin Post authorReply

      Rick & Sheila, its so kind of you to write to us. From one railroader family to another we send you best wishes for a happy Thanksgiving, holiday season and years to come. Continue to enjoy your much-deserved retirement.

      Warmest regards,
      Jess & Tom

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