My goodness…it is November 1st! From this point until the end of the year will feel like a fast moving locomotive, the kind that takes you from London to Paris through the Chunnel, to me! Where did the year go…or where did the years go! We purchased a new Christmas Tree last year. We are discussing putting it up well before Thanksgiving.
But, before Christmas comes Thanksgiving. I did not realize what a sleeping aid Turkey is, with it’s tryptophan, until I witnessed several members of our civil service council dozing when they attended our monthly meeting, just after enjoying a work-related Thanksgiving Dinner!
Thanksgiving at SIUC for the Building Service department meant the annual Thanksgiving Dinner. This was a dinner first started by one of our foreman, Gerald Davis, for the members of his custodial crews. Soon the feast became so popular and student members of our 25 + additional crews wanted to understand more about the annual Holiday revelry! Well, nothing would do but to begin having a department wide, old fashioned, Turkey and stuffing and mashed potatoes dinner.
As the over 200 students gathered into Muckelroy Auditorium in the Agriculture building…along with 150 full time staff and guests that included chancellors and vice chancellors and directors and presidents…the excitement was palpable in the air! Nothing says that you care about another human being…like breaking bread with them…especially if you bring the bread!
We have celebrated Thanksgiving and hosted the event at our home for over 30 years. Many of those years were in our little four room house in Elkville, Illinois…where we regularly had over 20 people in attendance!
Grandpa Earl would bring a smoked ham each year and MJ would have rum for rum cake, which is simply delicious, and she would offer Grandma Neve June a shot of it. Grandma would down the shot in one gulp and ask for another! She said that it was very good!
We have already set a date certain for the putting up of the Christmas Tree. Perhaps you did not realize that the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is less than usual, with Turkey Day falling on the 28th of the month? Thus, we have to make our adjustments! The Brooks Christmas Tree….with of all of its holiday regalia…will present itself on Saturday the 23rd of November!
The day after Thanksgiving is another Brooks Family Tradition! For the past 20 years we have been traveling to historic St. Charles, Missouri…which was Missouri’s first capitol. St. Charles transforms its cobblestone streets and venerable shops to the land of Charles Dickens and Scrooge and Tiny Tim! There are also derivations of Santa Claus through history…including Father Christmas and Pierre Noel. There is a Revolutionary War band and a Victorian roaster of chestnuts on an open fire…or kettle. Christmas carolers who are resplendent in their period costumes serenade we common folk with the most lovely Christmas songs.
The Charles Dickens characters, as well as the renditions of Santa Claus, give out little cards, to the children, that explain the historical significance of the Christmas character that they are portraying. The first year the we attended…I collected many cards!
We have a favorite restaurant in St. Charles that makes wonderful Reuben sandwiches. Upon entering and sitting in the cafe chairs and high tables that are next to the bar…as you do not have to wait if you sit in the bar…I proceed to order Grand Mariner served in a snifter. I believe that am paying for a shot of the luxurious orange liquor …but I receive, roughly, three or more shots in my glass! There is a wonderful older lady, who is probably younger than me, who only works behind the bar during the holiday season…and she provides a generous pour…and I tip her accordingly!
Once, after we left our holiday lunch of Reubens sandwiches and triple Grand Mariner…we purchased a new dining room suite…made by the Amish! On another Friday after Thanksgiving, after Grand Mariner…I purchased the Trump Tie at a local art gallery! We have a favorite clock store in St. Charles…Jansens…and we have 9 clocks to prove it!