Ever the dutiful Canadians, we returned to Nova Scotia for the Canadian Thanksgiving holiday this year.  If you haven’t read any of the posts I have written of late, you can read about why and when the holiday is celebrated in the great white North in “First Frost.”

It is very different down here in Durham.  There are great piles of golden leaves scattered across the lawns, but there are colorful leaves still clinging to the trees.  Fall is a beautiful time of year here and it seems to last forever. American Thanksgiving has come upon us like a Macy’s parade, with much fanfare and advance publicity.

The day after Thanksgiving triggers the frenzy of Christmas shopping, of course, but Thanksgiving itself celebrates family gathering and food.  We seem to think the holiday is a license to stuff ourselves after we have stuffed the turkey. In the days when our Nova Scotia house was built, the holiday itself would have required a great deal of food gathering. Those days are long gone and the entire holiday season can now be weighted with the freight of gourmand guilt.

The turkey is an indigenous animal, although the wild turkey is so wary and elusive it seems like a distant relative to the huge birds in the supermarket.  Barbara Kingsolver spent months trying to interest her young turkeys in sex.  The miracle referred to in “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” is the natural insemination and hatching of a handful of chicks. Now that artificial insemination has become the norm, the species seems to have lost all interest in sex.  The male who showed the most interested in reproduction imprinted on her husband’s leg. I have never eaten a wild turkey, but we did have one that was capable of walking in the farmyard.  They are not such a rarity in Nova Scotia.

For the last few weeks here in Durham, the temperature has been fluctuating a fair bit, but yesterday it hovered around 60 degrees F in the afternoon (15.5 degrees C).  I’m going to risk the wrath of my Canadian readers by admitting to a luxurious indulgence that will be hard to come by up North.  My wife and I went swimming– in an outdoor pool. The water temperature was 80 degrees F (about 26.6 C).  The Duke Faculty Club lap pool open stays open until the middle of next week, so if any of you are desperate…..

The long Fall here in North Carolina is absolutely lovely, but the days are getting short and we are running out of our allotted time.  The blog should pick up steam again in January.  We’re heading for a place I haven’t been in forty years, back when bell bottoms were in fashion, the Beatles were breaking up and the Rolling Stones did free concerts.

Stay tuned for your ever faithful reporter, writing from London.

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