All The Leaves are Brown (Thanksgiving and Writing)

Does the title of this post sound familiar? Those of you who remember the Mamas and Papas song, “California Dreaming” will recognize it as part of the lyrics.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day in America. In many ways, it’s my favorite holiday of the year. Not just for the turkey and dressing (or stuffing depending on what part of the country you live in). Nor the cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and all the trimmings.

Yes, those things are delicious, but to me what makes Thanksgiving special is family. It’s a time to get together and be thankful.

People have different family traditions. Some have touch football games. Others watch football on television. Still, others might play card or board games. Something my family used to do was to walk through the woods to the top of the hill on our property. It’s been a while since any of us has done that.

Now, back to the title of this post. What do brown leaves have to do with Thanksgiving? For me, there is a connection.

On Thanksgiving 1978, two friends and I flew to Los Angles, California to visit with other friends. I spent the day with my family until it was time to leave for the airport that evening. My brother and father spent part of the day building my brother’s new cabin. Mom and I cooked dinner, and we all celebrated together.

But you can imagine the day seemed long for me as I eagerly awaited my trip. I took several walks through the woods to pass the time. Yes, the leaves were brown, and I spent lots of time dreaming about California.

Other special Thanksgivings include the first one after my husband and I married. We celebrated with his family on Wednesday night and my family on Thursday. The last Thanksgiving before my mom passed away was another special memory. And still another was shortly after my husband was released from a 24-day hospital stay for chemo and a bone marrow transplant. That particular day was cold and snowy.

Thanksgiving and Writing

As much as I love the holiday, I’ve never written a story set during Thanksgiving, Yet. I’m considering including one in the collection of short stories I’m currently working on. I have a title and a general idea for the story.

A Book of Shorts (working title) is a mixed genre collection. Some are ghost fiction, others contemporary, and still others mystery and suspense. But each story seems to have a common theme. The settings are all small towns and many of them have a strong emphasis on “home.”

  • From a Window—a young couple befriends a reclusive and lonely old man during the Thanksgiving season.
  • Coming Home—a fallen hero returns home. (I shared an excerpt a few weeks ago.)
  • Ghost Bridge—a young woman moves to a hundred-year-old house and hears unexplained sounds at a nearby bridge.
  • Without a Trace—a family flees their home in the middle of the night never to be seen again.
  • Summerwood—a road-weary rock star realizes his small-town home is the one place he can find peace and solitude.
  • Allison’s Story (working title)—Allison leaves the city and moves to a small town where she opens a veterinary clinic.

Told you it was a mixed bag. These are just a few of the stories I have planned. I’ll share snippets in the upcoming weeks. But for now, I wish all of you in America a happy and blessed Thanksgiving. Whether you’re traveling, spending the day with family, or staying home, I hope you have a wonderful day.

37 thoughts on “All The Leaves are Brown (Thanksgiving and Writing)

  1. Our Thanksgiving was lovely. We decided to attend the community meal rather than have a depressing “turkey for two.” When we got to the venue, we knew so many of the volunteers/servers that they “put us to work.” It was one of our best Thanksgivings ever!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sounds like a wonderful time! I know about that turkey for two. We did it last year due to the pandemic. First time in our marriage we didn’t spend the day with family. This year was so much better.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for sharing these memories, Joan. Thanksgiving has always been a time for our family to gather and now that we are so scattered, I miss those big noisy crowds. My mom lived in a two bedroom two bath trailer home outside Jacksonville, Tx, and at times there were more than 20 people crowded in for lots of laughs, games and great food. I miss my mom more this time of the year than any other. She was a world-champion pie maker! Anyway, sorry to digress. Happy Thanksgiving and I look forward to your short story collection!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Don’t apologize, Jan. I enjoy hearing people’s memories of times spent with family. The last Thanksgiving Mom was alive was so special. We didn’t know that only a short time later (December 5), she would leave this world.

      My mom was a great cook as well. Don’t you wish we could enjoy some of our Mom’s cooking right now?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Glad you have so many happy memories from Thanksgivings past. And so happy your husband got to come home from a bone marrow transplant in time to celebrate with you. Hope this year’s Thanksgiving makes for happy future memories! Your story collection sounds intriguing. I love small towns and “home” themes.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Like several others, as soon as I saw your notice in my Inbox, I sang ” … and the sky is graaaay.” (LOVED the Mamas & the Papas!) Couldn’t help singing, and couldn’t wait to read your post. Lovely thoughts for this prelude to Thanksgiving, and I hope everyone is counting their blessings, even though this has been a tough year. Or two. Still, we are all blessed, and a stroll through your memories awakened quite a few of mine. Thanks for that, Joan.

    And finally, YAY on your new book of short stories. (I dearly love anthologies!) It sounds like something right up my alley, and I will definitely be looking forward to the release. (Will be happy to help you get the word out, too.)

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, Joan! 🤗💖

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Marcia. I hope to get the first drafts of these stories done by the end of the year (January at the latest) and then get back to the second Legends of Madeira book. And thanks for the offer to promote. ❤

      Wishing you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I recognized the song immediately. I love Thanksgiving. It’s my favorite holiday. I enjoy my family, football, and eating. What else could I ask for.

    I look forward to your book of shorts. It appears to have something for everyone.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. So many memories from years past. From the gigantic gatherings of my youth, including pinochle tournaments or bowling, to the demure events we have these days. I like collections of short stories and I’m sure yours will be wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sometimes we would get together with extended family on my Dad’s side. Those gatherings were huge. Lots of memories. DIdn’t know you bowled. My husband and I bowled for years on a mixed-league. It was fun.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. That’s nice. It can get to be an expensive hobby. We have a few hundred dollars worth of bowling balls just sitting in a closet that we haven’t used in years. But we had fun back in the day.

          Liked by 2 people

  7. Thanksgiving is definitely a holiday I associate with family. I’ve many wonderful memories of gathering around the table for the feast, sharing stories, and enjoying time together. I so miss that now, since siblings and children are in different parts of the States and travel is complicated at best. I hope you’ll be creating another wonderful memory tomorrow and best of luck with your upcoming stories. 🦃

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m fortunate in that both my brother lives nearby as well as my husband’s family. We’re going to one of his aunt’s houses. It’s always fun there. Happy Thanksgiving to you, Gwen.


  8. The song popped right into my head. One of my favorites.

    Lovely memories you shared. And exciting plans you have for your story collection. Wishing you all the best with it. And Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! 🧡

    Liked by 1 person

  9. You have beautiful holiday memories, Joan:) The ones I remember fondly are just the moments spent around loved ones. Love the bits from your collection, I look forward to reading it! Happy Thanksgiving xo

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Yes I had the tune in my head as soon as I saw the words, one of my favourite songs. Autumn leaves seem to inspire song writers. Thanksgiving must be a good inspiration for stories, family dynamics and the winter travelling factor.

    Liked by 1 person

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