This is another chapter in my attempt to fill in my backstory for you, the Infinite Guest reader/listener. Part 1 is here.
You may have noticed, since many of our podcasts have been about it, that Thanksgiving is near. What you may not know is what I’m doing for Thanksgiving, because why would you, that would be weird. As luck would have it, I’m going to tell you now.
I’m driving to Montana to see my niece. Her name is Goldie. She is goddamn adorable.
Goldie gets her name from her great-great-grandmother, a mysterious woman with jet black hair of exotic extraction whose ancestry changed every time her grandson, John Hall, told his daughter and her husband (me) about her.
John, a retired Marine who never told a story the same way twice, was a son of the Rocky Mountains. He was pretty much bald and had an infectious laugh. He was also one of our two Thanksgiving hosts.
My family’s holiday could be broken down into Detroit and Dallas portions. The Detroit half was at my mother-in-law’s place for a traditional and perfect turkey dinner, where I would strain my rotator cuff mashing potatoes and watch the Lions lose. We would then go to John’s house for the Dallas half. He and his second wife would open their home to family, friends, neighbors, and the regulars at his favorite bar, since the regulars didn’t have anywhere else to go with the bar closed for the day. It was as inspiring a way to gorge on deep-fried turkey and watch Tony Romo do something remarkable/terrible as one could want.
John died on Jan. 23. He’d been in failing health for awhile. He was 60 years old.
The grieving process is a weird thing. And a not insignificant part of it for my family was figuring out what, if anything, to do for Thanksgiving. If my wife had said, “Eff it, we’re staying home, making frozen pizzas, and watching Gilmore Girls,” I would have been perfectly fine with it. Because John was her father, and Gilmore Girls is great except for Christopher.
Then John’s other daughter, Sarah, gave birth to Goldie, our first niece, in September.
Goldie was born in the Rocky Mountains, is pretty much bald, and has an infectious laugh.
So that’s why I’m going to Montana.