Thanksgiving is the perfect time for heartwarming homecoming stories. This is not one of them.
After you've lived in a place a while, you learn a few back-road shortcuts to destinations like the grocery store. In our family, we refer to one local shortcut as "The Medes," because nearly every street in this particular neighborhood ends with "mede." There's Cypressmede, Hickorymede and the best of all - Elmmede, with two "m's." If I could have named some of The Medes, I would certainly have strayed from the nature theme and added a witty reference to our real estate taxes with "Bleedmede."
But the road I would have chosen to live on would have to be called "Findmede," because the problem has always been that I can never get out of there once I go in. The initial incident happened a few years ago, when I was driving with my son. I was about to pass the entrance to The Medes when I said, "Hey, doesn't your dad turn in here as a shortcut?"
"Yes," he said, "But that's Dad. He knows where he's going."
Naturally, I viewed this as a challenge, and I flicked on my turn signal.
"Are you sure you want to do this?" my son said.
Initially, we felt we were heading in the right direction, but before long every Pleasantmede seemed similar to the Lovelymede we had just been on. Twenty minutes later, I was heading straight for Panicmede when we came upon a woman walking her dog and pulled over to ask if she could point us toward Homemede.
Sure, it was more than a little embarrassing to tell her we lived five minutes away, but the point is we escaped from The Medes, and I never went back again without a GPS.
Until last week.
Irak Noddats, whose name has been spelled backward to protect her privacy, offered to drive to our book club meeting at a friend's home in The Medes last week. We managed to find the right house and started into the driveway. Noticing our friend's husband pulling in behind us, Irak stuck her hand out the window and waved him in ahead. He pulled into the garage, and we parked behind him; I stepped out with the bottle of wine I had brought and Irak picked up the newspaper from the driveway.
A stranger emerged from the car, but I guess we just figured he was a family friend coming over to hang out with our friend's husband while we had our meeting. He came to the front of the garage door and froze in a defensive pose.
"Should we go up to the front door or come in the garage way?" I asked him as I sauntered up.
"Well, ladies," he announced firmly. "I don't know WHERE the party is, but I can tell you for sure it's NOT HERE."
Irak and I looked at each other and immediately started laughing while trying to come up with a coherent apology. We got into her car and suddenly Irak realized she still held the man's newspaper. She quickly rolled down her window and said, "Oh, so sorry, here's your newspaper. I was going to bring it in."
He took the newspaper from us cautiously, backing away from the car, perhaps noting our tag number. We sped off to the house next door, laughing until tears streamed from our eyes.
And so concludes my nontraditional Thanksgiving story, but I tell it because I am truly blessed to lead the kind of life that consistently makes me laugh, and to share it weekly in the hope that it does the same for you.
For this and so much more, I am so very grateful. Happy Thanksgiving.