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Monday, November 26, 2007

Varieties of Thankfulness

Porcupine is very thankful for Thanksgiving, as he is very fond of turkey and stuffing. Porcupine is thankful that his children are now large enough to demonstrate hunter-gatherer prowess, and present the Clan with turkeys from grateful bosses. Porcupine is especially grateful that he is able to leave said Clan immediately after the celebration, and take off to Maine for a few days.

Here is the view Porcupine was able to bask in for Thanksgiving weekend - safely behing glass, though, as the wind was about 25 degrees off Rockland Harbor.

Porcupine arrived just in time for Rockland's annual Festival of Lights. About 300 hardy souls gathered along the sidewalks of Main Street for the annual Parade of Lights - fire trucks, manure spreaders, earth moving equipment - all bedecked with lights and people, which proceed down Main Street to the parking lot in the photo. There, you ‘vote’ for the best float by placing a non-perishable item on the float, with the proceeds going to the food pantry. Porcupine's favorite was a local landscaping company, which created a ski slope, with Grandmother sitting at the top waving skis and poles - so high in the air that her bouffant hair was grazed by the overhead traffic lights!

Then, it’s down to the waterfront for a 20 ft tall bonfire made of old wooden pallets, with the local fire inspector carefully feeding in soaked kindling to make the flames jump higher (since he’s a professional, and has that neat fireproof suit and mask). It’s a different world up here sometimes...

Another feature is a Community Tree made of 1,400 lobster traps - which you can buy a ticket to win! Porcupine considered buying a ticket, but couldn't figure out a way to utilize the trapswhen he doesn't even have a boat...

The nicest thing about staying in a fine hostelry is little luxuries, like premium television channels that you are too cheap to spring for at home. Porcupine was watching TCM last Saturday night; they ran 'The Best Years of Our Lives' which Porcupine hadn't seen in years.

The film tells of the readjustment of three WW II vets, and is one of the best films ever made about this difficult reentry. It was an unusual film in 1946 that showed veterans having nightmares, crying, and drinking too much.

Towards the end of the film, Dana Andrews - on the right in the photo (a former Air Force Captain, now poor again and a soda jerk) - is behind a fountain counter waiting on Harold Russell (a young sailor who lost both hands fighting) when a man sitting next to him tells him he's sorry he lost his hands for no reason (the man was reading a paper prediecting another war in Korea). Russell says he lost his hands fighting for his country, and he's proud. Man sneers that he's a dupe, that it was all a plot by the Reds to eliminate the Nazis, and if he would just READ and EDUCATE himself, he'd see that Washington poiticians are corrupt and have fooled him, and his loss is a lie. A fight breaks out, and the paraplegic vet uses his hooks to pluck and American flag lapel pin out of man's suit, and Dana Andrews jumps over counter, slugs him, and walks out of store with his wounded friend. Russell shakes his head - "You HEAR about people like that, that call you a fool and say you did nothing, but you never expect to actually SEE one of them..."

Porcupine was amazed at how timely this was, and was thankful for how brave Sam Goldwyn was to make such a film right after the war. Now, of course, we have George Clooney and Brian DePalma and Michael Mann to make films 'supporting' the troops - like 'Redacted', and 'The Kingdom', and 'Lions for Lambs', and... Porcupine is rather less thankful for their efforts.

Porcupine is especially thankful for all the young men and women who have fought to defend their country. And that the country that they died for and were maimed for is still the greatest country on earth.



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