Friday, November 27, 2009

NYTimes Photo Essay

Perhaps even more than the message of this work, I love its composition. The photographs are stunning and it's easy to read. Nonetheless it held a choice thought around this gluttonous holiday that I took full part in, from cooking to eating. My favorite part of the article was when the author posed these questions:

Can giant agribusiness shrink while true organic farms grow? Can the elitism of a farmers market shift so that the organic farms can be subsidized and that prices are reasonable for all people? That would be the democracy of healthy eating."

What do you think?

My Thanksgiving was bittersweet this year. We're all aware this is the last holiday season for my mom's parents; even they know. My grandfather suffers from Parkinson's and my grandmother is addicted to pain pills. He lives at a rehab-to-assisted-living center and she lives alone in the hose they've shared for 50-plus years (at her choice). It's scary how quickly my grandpa went from coherent to comatose -- especially because I only saw him on holidays. Now my family has been given the opportunity to bond over their care. The ten of us first cousins are all right around college age and (almost) all of us are willing to stop by the center to feed him dinner and to hang out with him. If I lived in Columbus year-round I would definitely be there more often; as it is I go whenever I'm home for the weekend.

My grandpa knows it the end of his life. He's confident of where he's going afterward, but one thing holding him back is the well being of my grandmother. He worries who pays her bills and who waits on her hand-and-foot (as she has become accustomed to and now demands of the rest of the family). I love my mom's dad so much, and wish I could have been older to hear his stories and to learn from his experience.

Last night I realized that everything I know about him I've learned through other people. I do feel like he and I have an unspoken understanding, somehow. He fascinates me because he's such a strong and accomplished man. He's a WWII veteran, married for 59 years, raised four boys and one girl, provided for his family with a job as a airplane engeneer, and yet he has this peace about him. He is so incredibly loving, and from him and my dad I've obtained my view of God. I have those two men to thank for the life of peace and love that I am incredibly fortunate to experience. He's the only one of my grandparents I've really loved, because he's the only one of them I can respect.

I've never experienced the death of a family member -- or anyone closer than a high school friend. I'm just so thankful that I have such a supportive group of people! I saw last night that I can count on my mom's side of the family, who I've never had much of a relationship with before. Growing up my cousins were the "cool kids", they were intimidating and as much as a I loved them, I didn't dare trust them.

No more. My cousin Jen and I surrounded my grandma as her husband was ushered out of the house in a wheelchair. My cousin Ashley sat with one arm behind my aunt Melissa for nearly an hour as she composed herself after watching the scene. Earlier in the day, I sat with Ashley in her car for the same amount of time as she spilled her feelings about her parents' divorce -- the first in our big family. Even the three boys who are a year younger than me have become so warm and interesting. With a wiked sense of humor they round out the kind of people with whom I'm priveleged to share blood.

I could go on and on about how much I love my mom's side of the family. And like discovering a pearl in that old 'shell' you brought home from the beach, they've been on my dresser this whole time.

1 comment:

  1. I met with a bunch of vegans yesterday and had some great conversations like this. You are asking this type of question

    Maybe 5 percent of the public is vegetarian
    Maybe 25 percent of that number is strict vegan

    Small numbers but you are going down a great path of questioning here.

    Happy thanksgiving I am thankful for the insightful question!

    Best regards,
    Tom Bailey