The wind was so strong and cold tonight that I had the track to myself. I hadn't felt like going for a run, after a long day of work and then a stop at my housecleaning job, but I usually find that if I can just get the clothes on and get out the door, the run just happens and I feel fantastic afterwards. However, I think earmuffs would be a good investment if I am to run regularly this winter, like I tell myself I will. The headphones just aren't quite enough to keep out that brisk New York wind that comes right off the Hudson and blows whole garbage cans across the Riverbank Park football field.
The moon was half full and not as bright as the stadium lights that lit the track like daylight. It was sure colder than last night when, after a feast of epic deliciousness, my dozen friends and I took a nightwalk in Fort Tryon Park. We walked into the rocky, tree-filled park and hiked the hill that leads to the Cloisters. Wild cats scuttled through the underbrush like dry leaves. The half-moon watched as we posed for a group photo against a rock wall separating us from a tremendous cliff that overlooked a busy highway separating us from the river and the George Washington Bridge, its lights all pink and yellow on the water like a painting. I was dressed in a fancy skirt and high heeled shoes. I felt alive and confident, but thankful that the cover of night was there in place of my usual shyness because guys were talking to me, and it was both exhilarating and nerve-racking!
Yes, Thanksgiving Dinner with friends turned out to be a wonderful occasion, both for the food that was shared (the best collard greens of my life--who knew? And ham to die for, not to mention my roommate's turkey, topped with her divine cranberry relish) and the company. The odds were definitely in my favor at the "kids" table, let me tell you, and I was quite pleased to make some charming new acquaintances.
After the nightwalk, Doctor Ben busted out the game of Ticket to Ride that he takes everywhere, and we played a few rounds. Ten Days Around Europe (or whatever that game is called) and Speed Scrabble soon followed, and if we weren't all so stuffed from pie I'm sure the revelry would have continued much later into the night than it did. But after a bit of cleanup, my roommates and I rolled ourselves out the door and enjoyed a rare cab ride home. One eggnog and ginger-ale nightcap and a few minutes of gossipy re-cap later, it was time for reluctant but inevitable sleep. I didn't want the day to end, but it felt like I'd been up forever.
Earlier that morning, Jessica and I had braved the crowds of Times Square for hours and hours just to catch glimpses of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. The mass of humanity was so thick that we didn't see much else besides the balloons, some celebrities we didn't recognize (except Cyndi Lauper, who some guy thought was Pink), the tops of the tubas in the marching bands, and what appeared to be a very drunk Santa practically swinging from his sleigh/float. We met a sweet old lady from North Carolina who took our picture, laughed at a 7 foot tall man who kept getting asked by random kids if they could get up on his shoulders, and got a good taste of the general craziness of people in a New York crowd (yes, it is a free country lady-with-the-huge-stroller-in-the-packed-crowd but we're still calling you crazy, because you are.)
After that we lazed around, snacking until go-time, when the three of us roommates teamed up to carry one huge roasted turkey, two pies, a bowl of fruit salad, a container of gravy, a thing of whipped cream, a dish of sweet potatoes, a pan of deviled eggs, and a bag full of serving utensils up to Inwood. I am thankful for Gypsy cabs. I'm thankful for fun friends, and I am thankful for such a wonderful day.