Under The Covers On Thanksgiving. Epiphanies Galore.

I had the serious sniffles Thanksgiving week. Including on the big day itself. I know you can’t wait to hear what I learned.

It’s very, very quiet under the covers.

Being under the covers reminded me of years gone by, flashlights, camping and reading who knows what after lights out.

With Eric gone, and with MacKenzie and John residing on that other far away coast, not to mention my AirBnB visitors departing early, it was q-u-i-e-t around here.

You could only hear the mountain.

There was, of course, the occasional pitter patter of Jackson’s little feet scurrying across the hardwood floors or my cat “Business” purring or sighing as he slept next to me.

But mostly, I heard the quiet.

I must have needed that.

There was no music. No faraway voices murmuring in other rooms. No deliveries at the door. There were no phone calls, either, for which I was especially grateful. (I couldn’t speak without coughing.)

And hardly a text that required an answer.

All in all, unexpected heaven.

Days seem longer with nowhere to go, nothing to do.

Days seem longer when there is practically nothing to do. Have you noticed that?

The less you do, the more time you have — to be.


Have you tried it lately — doing nothing at all? Without planning to? With no one around?

I hadn’t.

But on (or was it near?) Thanksgiving Day (it’s all a blur) I couldn’t read a novel. Or check Facebook/social media. Or watch Netflix. (My eyes weren’t up for any of that.)

At eleven am the first morning, I squinted at the clock over the top of my fluffy covers, thinking surely it was afternoon by then, but nope.

The day was in s-l-o-o-o-w motion.

Except for the fact that early in the week there was a raging bonfire in the back of my throat, while someone ran off with my lungs (which meant I couldn’t get out of the way of the truck that ran over me), slow motion was divine, perfectly divine.

But there’s no pie. (Drat.)

Thanksgiving and no pie? Oh dear.

By the time Thanksgiving rolled around, I was eating again, and pumpkin pie sounded like quite a decent idea.

The only real food in my frig was Trader Joe’s Tomato soup in a box (minus two servings), and fresh chicken noodle soup from Earth Fare (half gone).

Now what?

My daughter once told me about the time she walked into her kitchen and became instantly depressed when she realized there was nothing to eat because her kitchen was full of ingredients.

Now I understood perfectly.

What do you eat for breakfast when you’re sick?

When I was young, at some point during every Iowa winter, our bustling household of seven became an infirmary. My mother did two things.

She made a tent by draping a wool blanket over something taller than seated children, and herded all five of us under it in our flannel nighties and pj’s to breathe the wondrous, healing vapors of Vicks.

It did feel good to our lungs, I must say.

Brand new nighties and pj’s were made by grandma Stella every year at Christmas and we were wild about them. We figured she was the best grandma in the whole wide world if she could make nighties snuggly enough to make us forget about the cold.

(It was cold in our bedroom! Single pane windows did their best to hold heat that came up through one hallway register (for the entire upstairs) from the wood stove below. The fire below died down overnight, which mean that on a night somewhere between zero and 10 or 20 below, which it was often in those days, it was very cold by morning until my father tended the fire. Getting dressed for school on winter mornings was exciting to say the least.)

We girls (or was it only me?) were in awe of how Grandma made each flannel gown. We’d examine the impeccable stitches, how she joined seams expertly, and how the inside of our nightgowns was just as beautiful as the outside.

Grandma always found the thickest, softest flannel and we loved the prints she chose. The two boys got handsome pajamas, and the three girls got long nighties with piping or trim around the yokes, perfectly stitched buttonholes, and ruffles at the wrist, with elastic just right, never too tight.

There was also a big ruffle around the bottom of the nightgown. We felt so lucky!

But I digress.

In our jammies, under the wool tent, we breathed in the Vicks vapors coming from Mom’s pan of hot steaming water. That was a frequent ritual if we were sick.

The other thing Mom would do during infirmary week is make us soft-boiled eggs and homemade toast with butter, which we loved dearly.

To this day, that is the only breakfast I can eat when I’m under the weather. Of course, I went to the trouble of making myself soft-boiled eggs and toast with butter on Thanksgiving Day.

Even when you’re sick, the dog still needs a walk. (Ugh.)

That’s a tough one, mostly because I live on a mountain and the first part of the road heads up, up, up before it goes down, down, down.

Since my body was running cold, I donned a winter coat, hat and scarf and ventured out.

Slowly. Timidly. Hesitantly.

Even on the worst day, I managed to muster up enough energy for a short walk with Jackson, and he seemed to understand. He ran ahead and played patiently, smelling everything along the way. When I caught up, he’d repeat.

Finally, when I’d had spent every bit of energy I had, he knew the moment exactly, turned around and headed back.

What a smart boy. He sure knows his mama.

Hush-Hush from Eric, even.

Eric has been checking in pretty regularly. Ahh, but not on Thanksgiving! Or any time during the week as far as I could tell.

Instead, I’ll give you the pre-Thanksgiving visitation report.

Eric knows I’m a fan of variety, so one day he blinked the light over my dinner table. Has it happened before or since? Nope. Just once. A small hello from the electrician and yes, it caught my attention and made me laugh.

Another day, he notified me that there was something I might want to see outside my front door. Here’s how it went.

I was cleaning up dishes in the kitchen and my phone blurted a noise — like a darn doorbell — how’d he do that?!?

My phone doesn’t have that notification sound, and it was loud. It was so perfect that for a moment I couldn’t figure out if it was my phone or the actual doorbell.

Obediently, I went to the front door, and what did I see?

There before me was a BEAR, roving around my car. I watched him from inside for a while, and then stepped out on my porch to take a few photos and feel what it was like to be eye-to-eye with this guy.

He looked me over. I looked him over.

I don’t know what he thought about me, but I thought his glossy coat covering a fine set of muscles was pretty impressive as he ambled slowly down my driveway and back into the woods.

“Nice to have a door right behind me,” I thought as I thanked Eric for the unique bear notification method and slipped back into the house.

But on Thanksgiving, no word from Eric as far as I could tell. How thoughtful of him to allow me to continue my silent retreat.

Maybe he was off in another Universe trying his wings at something new. Go, honey!

I must have needed a vacation from humans.

I didn’t know. I had no idea.

(You, too, perhaps?)

Since I didn’t schedule a retreat, and clearly needed one, the Universe took care of it. I must say the surprise element of my sudden vacation was a big factor in my enjoyment.

In any case, my world served up this day and this week just for me, to have all to myself. That’s what I love about the Universe. It always has my back.

I’m so thankful!

The ever-blessed Ellen Winner showed up on my porch the next day dressed as a cornucopia (kidding) with a post-Thanksgiving delivery of turkey, roasted veggies, cranberries, and yes, PIE! Thank you, Ellen!

And then! The day after the day after, she brought turkey soup which was beyond divine. I added nothing, nada, not even salt or pepper.

I’ll be back to my old self soon. I’ll be this happy —->

And that young and skinny mini, too. Uh huh.

Love to you all.



In Care of Relationships, Terri Crosby, thanksgiving epiphanies

Comments (9)

  • I just had a similar retreat and got SO much insight out of it. I was in bed for 4 days and time crawled by, but the quiet was so good for my soul. Good for you for taking that time for yourself!

  • So glad you got your pumpkin pie. Though you wrote me you couldn’t imagine ever singing again when the cough was at it’s worst, glad to kow you will be joining us Sat.

  • Hi Terri
    I SO floated in your silent retreat description!!! And what a sweet adventure! I just finished a poetry writing class at UNCA and as I became so connected to your feelings about Vick’s, flannel PJs, beautiful silence, bear , I kept thinking what a wonderful writer you are!!
    Your sharing this was so delicious! I had a UTI recently and felt lousy and so wanted to be quiet and alone, and even had a funny thought …that it felt so good I could hibernate in that mind-body state forever more!

    Thanks for inviting us to your Thanksgiving “desserts” and after dinner “liqueurs”!!

    Nita Walker

    • You know, Nita, this is half the fun of writing — to know that you FLOATED through the description of my silent retreat! That is the best!!! Such a pleasure to know this…:–) love, Terri

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