Friday, November 23, 2012

Post Thanksgiving Blessings

I love the whole Thanksgiving feast/celebration thing -- I really do.  A day where the table wears a tablecloth; flowers in a vase; a candle; appetizers, main course and desert; company; conversation; music.  The closest we ever get to a party around here.  Fun times, to be sure.

But the truth is that I enjoy the day after Thanksgiving even more.

A steaming hot turkey leg, glass of white wine and a good book.  In my humble opinion, it gets no better than this.
The immensely thick book I'm reading is Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann.  Cousin Anke in Germany told me that it was one of her favorite books when I was visiting her in Hamburg last summer.  I promised her that I would read it and it's been patiently sitting on my bookcase for several months now.                                                                                

After visiting Uncle Mike in Arizona and showing pictures of Lubeck (where Buddenbrooks is set), I decided that it was time to finally actually open the book.  So, when I got home, I blew the dust off the cover and began reading the first of 731 pages.  It was a hard slog through the first few chapters -- about 15 characters are introduced and some of them have the same first names.  I was lost and had to go back several times to reread who was who.  I haven't suffered so much since I read War and Peace.  But now those chapters are safely behind me and I know everybody pretty well.  And I can't put the book down!  Cousin Anke was right -- this is a fabulous novel (thank you, Anke!).
Best of all, I actually was in Lubeck and can have an image in my mind of what the author is describing.  I'm in heaven!!! 

Everything came full-circle when I visited Unkle Mike in Arizona.  I asked him what music he listened to and the first name he said was Gustav Mahler.  I can't say that I was delighted -- I've tried on several occasions to appreciate his music but have never been able to "get" it.  Mahler, to be blunt, makes me grit my teeth.  But when people I admire like something, I do my best to understand why.  So I told Mike that I would give it another try. 
He gave me this cd of Mahler's 5th Symphony.  I've listened to it twice now.  The music is not easily accessible (at least not by me), but the first movement (with the trumpets) is growing on me (thank you Mike!).
When Mike called me yesterday to wish us a Happy Thanksgiving, I told him that I was working on Mahler.  I also told him that I thought it only fair that he read Buddenbrooks, to sort of even things out.  He agreed and said that he'll be checking the book out of the library. 
Gustav Mahler and Thomas Mann were roughly contemporaries.  I was born the same year that Thomas Mann died.  I have no idea what any of this means, but am very happy to be deep into the literature and music of my German heritage.
School is a million miles away.  Two more days of freedom -- a blessing!

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