There are heavy matters at hand.
For one, word comes that Butterball turkeys has a 24/7 phone service, available to all, that helps folks solve their problems and emergencies in preparing Thanksgiving meals. A noble and worthy project. (1-800-288-8372)
One fellow (he had to be from Wisconsin, though I don't know that for sure) called in last Thanksgiving in a mild panic. He had neglected taking the turkey out of the freezer to defrost for a few days in the refrigerator, which his wife (I have no doubt) had asked him to do - and when Thanksgiving came around he was confronted with a frozen block of turkey ice. He decided to reduce the scope of the problem by reducing the turkey's size, took the bird out to his workbench in the garage and proceeded to do so with his chain-saw. The thing that concerned him and prompted the call was his wife's question as to whether the oil from the saw would ruin the flavor of the turkey.
Then yesterday I began the re-read of The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje, one of my favorite novels. On page 8, the nurse is reading to the horribly burned patient:
The weeds and thistles and digging.
Then she began to read.
Her father had taught her about hands. About a dog's paws. Whenever her father was alone with a dog in a house he would lean over and smell the skin at the base of its paw. This, he would say, as if coming away from a brandy snifter, is the greatest smell in the world! A bouquet! Great rumours of travel! She would pretend disgust, but the dog's paw was a wonder: The smell of it never suggested dirt. It's a cathedral! her father had said, so-and-so's garden, that field of grasses, a walk through cyclamen - a concentration of hints of all the paths the animal had taken during that day.
I thought about this. for some time, actually. Then I got up and disturbed our snoozing Spaniel, lifted him up and carried him over to my chair. Then I carefully smelled the skin at the base of his paw.
Ontdaatje was dead-right. It is indeed a lovely, provocative bouquet that points beyond itself.
And I was thankful.