My two thanksgivings, part one.
I went off with my Nittany apple pie (it was PERFECT) to an odd part of northeast Durham - I drove past miracle mile, past the dump and desolate urban woe, and turned onto a little street into a little driveway and then passed a big pond surrounded by trees to find Edward's house. It's one of the city's spectacularly overgrown forgotten corners.
My bandmate Bob, his work-mentor Edward, and a few other guys were standing in a clot next to the pond. Bob was holding up a very large large-mouth bass. His girlfriend Barb had come out of the house and as I parked was asking, "Is that thing alive?" Bob reassured her that it wasn't just as the fish opened and closed its mouth a few times. Barb evinced her dismay and Bob put the fish into a tub of water. He said he'd drop it into the deep fat fryer after the turkey was cooked.
Edward is a small, strong man with white hair and a big, nice wife who does massage and healing for people. He was an artist in Poland (he told me in his somewhat halting English: "Every day we had to look at nudes at the Academy, every day we had to draw or paint or sculpt the nude, after that I've never liked to see women with their clothes off, even my wives.") When Edward, after living among the artists and intellectuals in Poland, came to America, speaking not a word of English, he says he lived for a while under bridges as he tried to find a job.
Now he is a master craftsman; he and Bob do custom, high end work and have a long-term gig restoring the Tryon Palace, a very ritzy job.
Edward's house is full of his paintings and sculptures, many of them made of gigantic found pieces of wood. Over the couch there is a sculpture mounted on the wall. It juts out about five feet - I certainly wouldn't sit under it! Somebody had to tell me: it's a gigantic breast. "Where's the other one?" I asked. Edward clenched his fists and turned, provocatively, sideways, indicating that the other breast is, naturally, behind the wall.
Before dinner I got a call from my poor daughter Melina. She was at her dad's house, alone, babysitting THEIR turkey - her little half-brother is sick and everybody else was at the hospital. We had a chat about "knowing when your turkey is cooked," a chat I reassured her we all have, every single year, because nobody is ever really sure.
Speaking of which, out on the porch a clot of guys were watching the boiling oil with macho interest. Bob would haul the turkey out of the oil on a stick and all would observe it and make sage comments. Then he'd lower it back into the sizzle. It was eventually ready.
The fish, however, received a last-minute pardon and was thrown back in the pond. Macho as he is, Bob didn't have the heart to gut it.
We had a delicious dinner and then Bob and I played tunes for a while (Bob sat under the gigantic breast, I guess he has confidence in Edward's ability to mount a massive pieces of wood securely to a wall). I went home and blogged "Mundo de Fieras" for my Caray! Caray! blog. So ended Thanksgiving number one.
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