I don’t know why certain days become etched in memory, days with nothing really spectacular or eventful about them. I’ve always thought fondly of a Saturday before Thanksgiving in the early 60s. I don’t know where my father was – maybe that’s why we had fun that day. Mom needed some Gurley figurine candles for Christmas gifts she was making that year, so we drove up to the old Kenwood Plaza to a dime store there, a rare outing. I don’t know what made that dime store more special than the Woolworth’s down at Hyde Park Plaza, but it was a trip Mom seemed intent on making.
There was no I71 in those days, so we had to take back roads from Oakley to Kenwood, back roads that were wooded and made me hum “Over the River and Through the Woods” to myself. I think there might have even been snow flurries that day.
At the Kenwood dime store Mom bought her Santa and angel candles, and maybe some boy and girl pilgrim ones as well. When we returned home, Mom put our Perry Como Christmas album on the stereo. This was before radio stations played Christmas music before Thanksgiving. In fact, it was impossible to hear Christmas music before late in December, so it was a special treat to have Mr. Como singing “There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays” that cozy Saturday. I think Mom started working on her Christmas projects as soon as we got home, so there was a delicious atmosphere of preparation. I don’t remember doing anything myself, but the mood and warmth of that day are still with me all these years later.
That was all – a simple shopping trip, a classic November day, and Perry Como. And my mother, and our home, and no conflict, just rich contentment. Every year I must listen to Como’s “There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays” before Thanksgiving and relive how wonderful that day felt.