Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving Dinner

Our first Thanksgiving together was full of good food, friends, family, cousins big & small, and plenty of after dinner entertainment! It started on Thanksgiving EVE when I joined Jon and Rich for their annual tradition (signaling the start of the holiday season) which includes dinner and a movie, but the movie has to be what they call, "a good, bad!" After much debate and anticipation the selection this year was 2012 and it didn't disappoint - long, dumb, unbelievable but memorable, and most importantly it provided plenty of pointless quotes!

On Thanksgiving we headed to the Nelson's, they hosted the BIG dinner (all 29 of us, and it was only half the team) and since it was an "off" year for The Knowlton Family my parents were able to come too! The food was amazing, from monkey bread to homemade pies and enough mashed potatoes for an army, by the time it was over we were stuffed to the brim. The best part came after dinner with Jon playing the guitar and singing and all the cousins joining in on the chorus lines - "burn, burn, burn and the flames come higher!"
and here's to snow, skiing, lights and hot chocolate
in the weeks to come!

Friday, November 13, 2009

True Grit

I love westerns--old and new. Mostly because I love the archetypes; plots and characters. There's good, bad, conflict and resolutions. There's no ambiguity. The payoffs aren't as simple as a conflicted boy and quirky girl teaming up to scream into a deep chasm. And the clashes aren't created by a son returning home for his mom's funeral only to find that he still can't communicate with his dad.

No, westerns are gritty--they have teeth. The conflict is triggered by a killing and the resolution is earned by revenge. Case study 1 - True Grit. Mattie's dad is killed by Chaney so she hires Cogburn to "kill him back." Cogburn (played by John Wayne) is thought to be the one with grit but we soon find out that Mattie is the one the film/novel is named after. She relentlessly pursues Chaney, breaks her arm, is bitten by a rattler, even shoots Chaney in the stomach and eventually sees him die. Grit comes when a character faces conflict and overcomes it through strength.

That's what I've seen these past three weeks. The protagonist in this story is McCall, the antagonist is death. In an earlier post I wrote about us losing McCall's pregnancy--things escalated from there. The day after McCall received the chemo treatment she started bleeding internally. Within seconds she lost two cups of blood. We rushed from Park City to LDS hospital where the doctor had an operating room prepped for emergency surgery. McCall's dad and I gave her a blessing just before she was taken to the OR. For an hour we waited (Hooper, Shauna, Meme, William O., Dr. KGC and I) for news from the doctor. Last we heard they were going to remove a fallopian tube and maybe do a blood transfusion. The phone rang in the waiting room and I rushed over to answer. "McCall is in the recovery room."

I couldn't resist--although I knew I would get busted--I sneaked into the recovery room to see McCall's face. She smiled when she saw me and said, "Hi baby."

Although death has released it's grip, the last three weeks a different form of conflict has shown it's face. This one looks like pain (surgery), nausea (chemotherapy) and grief (loss). I have watched as McCall has pursued these three ugly faces, caught them, beat them and has come out a hero. In the process she's blackened her eyes, broken her bones and looked in some ugly, dark places but she's healed and has turned the dark places into light.

If McCall lived in the old west, she'd be a Mattie Ross fersure...or maybe a Betsy Ross.