For as long as I can document (2004) and as long as I can recall (2001), Tom and I drove to Arlington to spend Thanksgiving with his family. We generally left early Thanksgiving morning to avoid the traffic and came home Sunday morning again to skip expensive hours on I-45.
The weekend was a special time for Tom and I. We had a quiet hours in the car together and always managed to take one or two quiet walks during the days or evenings. Tom and his family were very good at relaxing...I was less successful, so we often found activities to keep me busy like short runs and long runs, and even shopping trips. Once Tom and I even accumulated 32 bags of leaves from the front yard to burn off energy.
We did have one very special tradition that always happened. It happened on the drive up, or on a walk Thanksgiving night. It even happened in 2008 on Tom's last Thanksgiving. We would listen to Alice's Restaurant. If you don't know the tune, it is an 18 minute song by Arlo Guthrie about the draft. But it takes a while to figure that out. It sounds like a song about littering:
"Until we came to a side road, and off the side of the side road there was another fifteen foot cliff and at the bottom of the cliff there was another pile of garbage. And we decided that one big pile is better than two little piles, and rather than bring that one up we decided to throw our's down."and evidence
"...the twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy pictures with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one."
We would huddle up and sing along each and every word, cracking up the entire time.
I promise, you really should download this song. Or watch it in YouTube. But close your eyes. And imagine Tom harmonizing, groovin', with a very happinin' look on his face. Like the picture above (taken at an equally cool pub roll).
And then sing along:
"You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant
You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant
Walk right in it's around the back
Just a half a mile from the railroad track
You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant."