Archive for the ‘Nye Family’ Category

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, way up there with Halloween and Christmas. When I was really little we celebrated Thanksgiving at my grandmothers’ houses. They traded off Thanksgiving and Easter every year. Eventually, the big feasts got to be too much for them. We had a couple of Thanksgivings in a noisy, overcrowded restaurant until my mom took over. She refused to spend another holiday packed in like one of too many sardines at the Red Coach Grill. She cooked Thanksgiving dinner for the next twenty or so years.

After I moved to Switzerland, I continued to celebrate Thanksgiving. I created my own traditions and gathered friends together for the annual harvest feast. I love to cook and entertain and Thanksgiving dinner became one of my trademarks.

When I moved back to New Hampshire, I was delighted to host the family. For several years, at least eight, and sometimes more, Nye’s joined me around my farmhouse table for a fun and festive feast.

Last summer my dad pulled me aside for a heart to heart. My parents spend most of the winter in Florida and he was reserving their flights. He candidly confided that he couldn’t quite handle a trip north for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. Between Alzheimer’s and arthritis, travel is difficult for my mother and therefore very stressful for Dad.

I didn’t like the idea of them down there alone, having dinner in an overcrowded restaurant or any restaurant for that matter. I decided to spend Thanksgiving with them on one condition. Like my mom before me, I decreed that dinner would be at home. I would cook a turkey and all the trimmings for them and some of their close friends.

We had a wonderful time. Four of their oldest, dearest friends joined us. I knew them all, most for close to a decade and one for more than forty years. I got a little fancy with a couple of side dishes but did not mess with tradition when it came to the turkey and made my mother’s stuffing.

Sitting around the table with my parents and some of their nearest and dearest, reminded me of how thankful I am for their friends. I am grateful that these wonderful people love my mother and accept her frailties. I am thankful for the love and support they give my dad.

It looks like the start of a new tradition. Yes, I’ll head south again next year. I’ll improvise in my parent’s decidedly ill-equipped kitchen, debate how long to roast the turkey with my dad and suffer bad hair days in the steamy heat. But most of all I will rejoice and celebrate the time with Mom, Dad and their dear friends.

What about you? What are you thankful for this holiday season? I’d love to hear from you.


To subscribe to Susan Nye’s Other Blog just scroll back up, fill in your email address and click on the Sign Me Up button. You’ll get an email asking you to confirm your subscription … confirm and you will automatically receive new postings.

Feel free to visit my food blog Susan Nye – Around the Table or photo blog Susan Nye 365. © Susan W. Nye, 2010


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60 Years

In September 1950, two kids in their early twenties set out to make a life together. Those two kids are my now octogenarian parents. Last summer, we toasted them at a lakeside celebration. Sixty years is a long time. Quite frankly, I am in awe of my parents’ achievement. Although, I’m not quite sure if I should call it auspicious, pure stubbornness on both their parts may have had something to do with the longevity of their marriage. That and true love.

They pledged to love and cherish each other in good times and bad, in sickness and health, for richer or poorer. Like all marriages, they’ve had it all, the good, the bad, the ugly and the absolutely wonderful.

There were times when, if they weren’t broke, they certainly felt like it. The year we moved back to Boston from Connecticut for my dad’s new job, comes to mind. The move and the job were cause for joyous celebration until the Connecticut house languished on the market for months and months and months. For almost a year they juggled two mortgages. In rosier times, my mother used to laugh and tell the story of my dad’s first order with his new firm. As delighted as they were with his success, they couldn’t go out and celebrate because their bank balance was teetering around zero.

There was the very scary summer when my mom developed thrombophlebitis and suffered a pulmonary embolism. She was one month pregnant with my brother at the time. In the end all was well and our family of four became five. My sister, brother and I are three delightful, now grown children. Mom’s grandmother bracelet jangles with two more generations, six beautiful grandchildren and two terrific great-grandchildren.

More important, there were many, many idyllic days on New England beaches and ski slopes. Plus lots of fun evenings with family and friends. We have shared jokes and stories, argued, ranted, raved and laughed. A lot. My parents are enthusiastic people and they live life with enthusiasm.

While I can’t guarantee it, I think the secret to my parents’ marital success was their ability to create a true partnership. (That and their feistiness. Both of them.) My mother stayed at home but she was no meek and mild sitcom mom. I don’t ever remember her uttering in a threatening tone, “Wait ‘till your father gets home.” She just took care of her sometimes naughty children then and there. She also handled any and all crises when they happened, called contractors, plumbers and electricians when she needed them, juggled the social calendar and entertaining, watched over everyone’s health and wellness and managed the family finances. About the only thing she refused to do, was get the car serviced. She always said the guys at the garage treated her like an idiot. And she was nobodies’ fool. She was smart, opinionated and funny, held her own in any conversation and never wore an apron. We all knew she loved my dad (still does) but she never gave him that adoring Nancy Reagan look.

Because she was so good at taking care of the home and family, my mom freed up my dad to do his job and do it really well. Dad was in sales, he was good at it. He was away a lot; traveling on business. Neither ever had to worry, they were both confident that everything, and then some, was covered. Of course they were lucky to be raising kids in a time when families could not only live but live well on a single income. And I guess we were pretty lucky to be raised that way. (Although, I must confess, when I was a teenager, I didn’t get why my mom would willingly stay home.)

About seven or eight years into their retirement, a few tables started to ever so slowly turn on my mom and dad. Maybe we didn’t realize, or maybe none of us could admit to realizing, that my mom was beginning to show the first signs of Alzheimer’s disease. The disease’s progression has been slow, steady and sure.

My dad now takes care of all of those things that my mother used to cover. He handles everyday things like laundry, little things like keeping track of birthdays and big things like managing their finances and healthcare.

Their old division of labor has disappeared. But in their own way, they are still partners and their partnership is as strong as ever. Of course it could be stubbornness but call me a romantic, I’m betting on true love.

What about you? Is there a special couple or person you admire? I’d love to hear from you.

To subscribe to Susan Nye’s Other Blog just scroll back up, fill in your email address and click on the Sign Me Up button. You’ll get an email asking you to confirm your subscription … confirm and you will automatically receive new postings.

Feel free to visit my food blog Susan Nye – Around the Table or photo blog Susan Nye 365. © Susan W. Nye, 2010

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Significant days and events are sprinkled through our lives. Some are highly personal. I remember the morning my brother was born; the green-eyed monster was sitting on my shoulder and I was not convinced a baby brother was a good idea. I remember my first day of college, my excitement and nervous anticipation for a new adventure. I remember my fortieth birthday party when I enthusiastically embraced the new decade.

There are also monumental world and national events. My parents have clear recollections of the day the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Americans share a proud memory of the summer night we sat spellbound watching grainy black and white images of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walking on the moon. After waiting for 86 long years, Red Sox fans will forever remember the joy of winning the World Series.

And then there is September 11th.

I was in Tokyo. It was already evening when I landed at Narita Airport and with the time difference, only minutes before the first plane hit the World Trade Center. But it was several hours before I learned of the horrible events in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. After the long trip from the airport into the city and a business dinner, I was finally able to call it a day and escape to my hotel room. It was late, I was jet lagged and exhausted.

I turned on CNN for background noise while I unpacked and got ready for bed. Watching the news, I was shocked and horrified. I barely slept; instead like millions around the world, I was riveted to the television for most of the night. Up on the thirty-something floor of one of those big, impersonal hotels, thousands of miles from home, I felt terribly alone. There was a hollow, empty feeling in my chest.

I was a few days into a two week business trip. My colleagues did not hesitate to tell me that I could certainly cut my trip short and return home. US airports were locked down so jumping on a plane and heading home was not an option. Work became a distraction. I met with customers and discussed IT strategy. I consulted with our local sales and marketing teams. All the while I could not help but feel an overwhelming sadness, a hollowness and a bit shell shocked.

When the airports reopened, I flew home to my little cottage in sunny California. It was good to be out of big hotels and in my own house, surrounded by greenery instead of concrete. However, I had been living in California for less than a year and it didn’t really feel like home.

The initial shock started to dissipate but within a week I knew that if I wanted to feel normal again I needed to hug a kid. Not just any kid, it was time to spend time with family.

I headed to New Hampshire for the long Columbus Day weekend. The leaves were changing color and the sun shone. I joined my family for walks down to the lake and hikes in the hills. We lingered around the table over leisurely dinners and long conversations. My nephews were big, gangling teenagers and indulged their auntie with hugs at arrival and departure. My then tiny nieces were happy to share lots of hugs throughout the weekend. The hollow in my chest began to fill. Thanks to the boys and little girls, I started to feel normal again.

On this weekend of remembrance, I hope that you too find normalcy, peace and yes even pleasure in everyday, ordinary events, time with family and friends and lots of hugs.

What about you? How did you heal and recover after September 11th? Feel free to share your thoughts and add a comment.

To subscribe to Susan Nye’s Other Blog just scroll back up, fill in your email address and click on the Sign Me Up button. You’ll get an email asking you to confirm your subscription … confirm and you will automatically receive new postings.

Feel free to visit my food blog Susan Nye – Around the Table or photo blog Susan Nye 365. ©Susan W. Nye, 2010

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