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.