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November 23, 2014

Sunday Travel Thread: Over the River and Through the Woods [Y-not]

Thanksgiving is an emotional holiday. People travel thousands of miles to be with people they only see once a year. And then discover once a year is way too often.
-- Johnny Carson

Sitting here looking out the window watching snow fall... yep, it's November and Thanksgiving is just around the corner.


All done now? Good.

Thanksgiving has become one of my favorite holidays, second only to Christmas (although it's getting closer and closer as the hassle of putting together bundles of gifts and shipping them across country has become wearing). I like the simplicity of Thanksgiving: it's a big meal flanked by time off and lots of football. Hard to go wrong with that.

Well, except for the hassle of traveling.

First, a poll:

Now, a song:

Although this version is designed as a Christmas song, it really was based on a poem about Thanksgiving. Here's a little bit about that famous song:

First published in 1844, "Over the River and Through the Woods" was a poem written by Lydia Marie Child - a poet and novelist (and quite the advocate for emancipation of slaves). Child published the poem in a collection for children titled Flowers for Children, Vol. 2.

The song "Over the River and Through the Woods" is a song about taking a trip to visit grandparents and other family members on Thanksgiving day. The narrative of the lyrics celebrates the long journey there, the snow and the animals the family passes along the way. The narrator seems to be a child, though that's not explicit, and it spends about a dozen verses anticipating the joy and familial communing which will take place around the Thanksgiving table.

Mr Y-not and I were flat broke when we first got married. Between our lousy finances and the nature of our jobs, traveling 800 miles "back East" for the holidays was not an option. Later, when it would have been more feasible, various circumstances conspired against it.

On the couple of occasions when we did travel "home" for Thanksgiving, our trips were unmitigated disasters. (I'm looking at you PEOPLExpress Airline! BTW, did you know they've been resurrecting that monstrosity?)

Really, the only flaw with Thanksgiving in my mind is the travel, especially if you are far enough away that driving is not an option. Even before the days of shoe bombers and horny TSA agents, flying was a hassle, especially if it took us through Newark (one of my least favorite airports and number four on this list of worst airports in North America). These days I do almost anything to avoid flying.

So we just don't do it and, instead, listen with (barely concealed) amusement to the horror stories of our friends and co-workers who go through the torture of travel.* Although it's not Thanksgiving-related, I liked this one:

[T]wo British women were arrested by authorities after they tried to take the body of a dead relative on to a plane at Liverpool's John Lennon Airport. Airport workers became suspicious after the two women got out of a taxi with the corpse of 91-year-old Curt Willi Jarant, who was wearing sunglasses, and tried to check him in for a flight to Berlin. The women -- Jarant's widow and stepdaughter -- explained that they thought the dead man was asleep. Nevertheless, police booked them on suspicion of failing to give notification of a death.

Do you have any good travel stories?

*If you do have to travel, especially with kids in tow, here are some tips to make it go more smoothly. (One thing I've learned to do is to carry individually wrapped Fig Newtons, which I offer to the parents of squirmy kids sitting near me. I'm surprised by how many parents don't seem to have good snacks for their kids when they travel.)

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posted by Open Blogger at 11:45 AM

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