Saturday, November 22, 2008

Gobble Gobble

The recent unconscionable news coverage of Sarah Palin in front of a contraption that decapitates turkeys was just too much for me as an entree to this Thanksgiving holiday.

That thoughtless image reminded me of my own bucolic background and the combination of horror and metaphor made me laugh uncontrollably, striking the tickle bone of embarrassment because of the strange and morally reprehensible disconnect to life. My inappropriate chuckles conjured more memories.


The killing of the dinner was part of my childhood, as you can see from this 1980 photo of my father Harold J. Fries proudly displaying our up coming repast. My dad loved to bring dead things home, de-feather, skin and hand them over to my mother who was talented in cookin em up.

She'd make quite a turkey day spread, orange zest cranberries with walnuts, corn pudding a southern delight for everyone but me, perfectly whipped potatoes, stove top stuffing, doctored up and a succulent bird.


It was a great excuse for my dad to have wine, wear his light blue cashmere sweater and be emotional. He never minded leaving the football game to come to the table savoring the meal silently with a few nods and slurps, a custom acknowledgment of my mothers fine efforts.


I can understand how Sarah might be just numb to the entrapping of entrails in her life, never thinking it could ruin another person’s day if seen on TV. Her interview with Greta Van Susteren on Fox TV showed a stuffed grizzly bear in the background, forewarning, that, is the Alaska way. Inspiring more stories from my own home state.

The Thanksgiving I had my tonsils removed, I received obligatory cards from all my 4th grade classmates. “I’m a turkee I taste good, I tastes better than you ever wood”… " Roses are red , violets are blue, its time to wake up for its Tanksgiving day”…and one that now seems like the essence of Truman Capote's “In Cold Blood” a picture of a dark stick character with a gun shooting a turkey, “come back soon, or I’ll shoot you and sell you to the blacks” by M Conner, warm Pensilvania greetings. I still wonder if the disturbed M. Conner ever ended up in some jail.



Another Thanksgiving my dad and I went down to our farm to check the horses. It was bitter and rainy, just on the verge of snowing. We knew mother’s dinner was urging us home, when we came across a car stranded on the side of the road. A cold and hungry family miles from their intended destination had run out of gas. My father ran to our farm gas pump and gave them as much as their tank could hold. The man tried to pay my dad and of course my father refused, the man asked if he could give me a dollar instead. Simple gestures of Thanksgiving; sharing gifts of kindness. I loved that day.


Its the simple gestures,whether turkey or tofu, may your holiday be filled with love, gratefulness and of course, a few good laughs.

All the World's a Stage


Alas poor Yorick , I knew him”….William Shakespeare

Hamlet said, gazing into the skull of his dead friend, so depressed from all his loss and troubles. If someone had told Hamlet, forgive, move on, be creative with your loss, and go talk to a medium to clean up your dead relatives issue, there might not be a play.

There are some things we must put to rest. Things become tired, worn out, the tenure is up, the expiration date is over,it's time to retire, and close the play.
What makes it so hard to give things up?

I recently had a client, whose father left after he was born and whose mother never gave him enough; emotionally or figuratively. At 50, he has a job he was successful in, but no longer is happy with, belongings he has no need for, ways of being in the world that no longer work for him, eating habits that are compromising his life, and when I asked him why he still hangs on, he said, “they are my security blanket, they are things that make me feel safe or remind me of my illustrious past”. The stage set for another act.
If we want to grow, move ahead, and be more of who were are called to be, we need to let the blanket go.

So I must walk my talk.

For me, acting, was a creative way to survive my young adult hood, exciting, fun, difficult, and permission to be someone other than me. Now like a worn out blanket it no longer serves me. If your heart is not there, neither will your spirit be. Strange, to have kept holding a space for something to come, when in fact, that space kept me from embracing the things that were right in front of me. The 30 year run of my professional acting life has closed.

Now, if I am on stage, it will be helping Hamlet, Harold or Hanna talk to the ghosts of their relatives, clearing up those difficult familial issues. And if I hold in my hand or talk to a skull, it will be in the field of homicide assisting detectives in their investigations, or with Max my crystal friend.

Here choose I. Joy be the consequence….William Shakespeare