Thanksgiving! It's a great holiday. No presents to buy, no cards to send, no carols to sing, no tree for the cat to pee in and knock down. All that's required is to eat a delicious meal of turkey/ tofurkey/ turducken/ turcowshrimpporklomeinmooseburger, bask in the love of your family, and give thanks for all those little things that bring sunshine into your life. Twinkle lights. Ibuprofen. Glee. Your generous snowblower-owning neighbor. The downside is having to wash 65,000 dishes afterwards, but that's your own fault if you have 22 people over and insist on eating off of real plates. A communal metal trough is much easier to hose out afterwards.
I celebrated Thanksgiving Part One (aka Thanksgiving: The Stuffening) with my brother, his wife and two daughters the weekend before, at their cabin in Godforsakken, Maine (not its real name). It's wayyyyyy up in the Great North Woods, on a high bluff overlooking the Penobscot. To get to it, you have to bump several miles down a dirt logging road, then careen down a set of faint tire ruts through tangled overgrowth for another mile or two. Normally they use it for summer camping, but my brother got the idea that it would be great to put on an entire Thanksgiving meal there. The cabin has no running water, no electricity, no beds, and no kitchen to speak of. No bathroom either. There's nothing like peeing on frozen, leathery oak leaves and then realizing you forgot to bring along toilet paper.
Since I wasn't doing any actual cooking, other than showing up with rolls and pie, I was more or less agreeable with this plan. The turkey was roasted outdoors for 6 hours inside a 55-gallon metal drum, while we all huddled around it, shivering. I felt like a hobo. Potatoes, sweet potatoes, and squash were also boiled outside on the fire. There might have been peas too - my memory is a little hazy due to smoke inhalation. By the time the little plastic turkey thermometer popped, it had been dark for quite awhile and I couldn't feel my feet anymore.
The main point to this story is that inside the cabin, on the table, I discovered a copy of Guardians of Ga'Hoole "Guide Book to the Great Tree", an encyclopedia of characters and place names from the books.
"Ah!" I said to my nieces. "You've read these?"
"No," they said. "We just like reading about the characters." (Did any of you ever see Metropolitan? There was a character in it, Tom Townsend, who never read actual books, just literary criticism. I think this is the situation we're dealing with here) .
So I flipped through to see what the Digger entry said. This is how they described him:
"Digger is quiet, the philosopher of the group...."
Now, I thought....I mean....wasn't he......is that...wasn't Digger kind of hyperactive and talkative?? Or is it just the turkey smoke playing tricks on my memory?
I think it would be helpful to do the same thing for other characters David's played. Some of these movies, it's probably been awhile since you've seen them, and at this time of year, with all that juicy tryptophan coursing through your system, it's easy to forget who's who. So here's the expanded Grove edition of Misleading Character Summaries.
Neil Fletcher: Unassuming. Gentle. Wouldn't harm a fly. He's the one everyone trusts to cow-sit while they're away in Darwin.
Dilios: Enjoys dressing in warm, snuggly layers. Gets really upset if you wash his Pookie Bear or if any of his foods are touching one another on the plate.
Jim Doyle: Loves banks. Banks + Jim 4ever. Can't get enough of those banks. Jim's got a fever, and the only cure is banks.
Josh: Devoutly Shaker. Also, gay.
Gerold: Totally shallow. Addicted to "Farmville".
Mark Waldman: War profiteer.
By the way, if you hanker for owl pellets (and who doesn't?), there's a virtual owl vomit simulator that lets you dissect your own cyber-pellet and figure out what the owl had for dinner. (Answer: not Stuart Little. And not those mystery metal flecks either.) Go to KidWings and click the Virtual Owl Pellet button.
Hey, you know what? Maybe the
owls Spartans would have won the battle of Thermopylae if they hadn't kept breaking into slow motion in the middle of battle.