Thanksgiving this year was anything but traditional. In fact, it’s the most unusual Thanksgiving we’ve had aside from two years ago, when we were thankful for warm Belgian waffles served on a street in Brussels. Ed’s a bit under the weather, so we passed on invitations from our neighbors and friends, figuring we’d cook up a meal at home.
After a lazy morning of watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and Star Trek (“Captain Kirk is climbing a mountain…”), we were both feeling a little stir-crazy. Ed suggested a drive up to the mountains of North Georgia, so we set out in the late afternoon. Helen was our goal, but we were in no hurry. We took the scenic route and enjoyed the lovely late-afternoon views.
There were actually a few shops open in Helen, and after a bit of wandering we popped into the Old Bavaria Inn and Restaurant. I can’t go to Helen without craving schnitzel, and a heaping plate of Jager schnitzel and spaetzle hit the spot. To top it off, I had a Kolsch-quite possibly my favorite beer-to wash it all down. As I told Ed, at that moment I was very thankful for his ancestors’ culinary genius.
It was cold and dark when we left, and as we started our drive I pulled up Twitter on my phone. I had a notification that the International Space Station would be flying over our area at 6:39 p.m.: just 15 minutes away! We continued to drive until we found a stretch of road with no lights and a relatively clear view of the northwest (it’s tough to find a wide-open spot up in the hills). Finally, when I was about to give up, we saw the bright light of the space station whizzing by overhead. I got so excited I actually waved to the astronauts. Then, not far behind, there was another bright light speeding through the sky. The space shuttle Atlantis had been at the space station, but they undocked the day before Thanksgiving. They are already home as of this writing, so I’m glad we stopped for the rare opportunity of seeing both spacecraft at the same time. The whole experience only reinforced my desire to be an astronaut. Perhaps NASA will start a “Writers in Space” program?
In all, it was a most untraditional Thanksgiving, but a great one. And I must end with the words of Obi-Wan Kenobi: “That’s no moon. It’s a space station.”