The Suitcase Lady


November 11, 2014, 9:28 pm

November is a challenging month. For starters, its name means “nine” which comes from the Latin “novem”. But calendars change, and November, number eleven in the current arrangement, has become an anachronism. September, October and December share a similar fate, while the other months can gloat about being named for gods, goddesses and emperors.

Only hard core lovers of big, roasted birds name November as their favorite month. Thanksgiving is a genuine American holiday, but it is loaded with pitfalls. How can an extended family sit around a dinner table and meet the needs of its clan’s vegetarians, gluten frees, libertarians, dieters, Democrats, Republicans, teetotalers, evangelicals, football fanatics and vegans? The carving knife must be kept in the hands of a mature adult at all times. Nowadays, mature adults are at a premium.

For those of us up here on the tundra, hope dies in November. The  trees have shed their last leaves, the fog hovers around our knees at dawn and dusk, and the sun’s appearance is a rare event.

Our beautiful Lake Michigan presents an additional threat… wants to kill us. November is the month with the deadliest storms on the Great Lakes, and Lake Michigan and Huron (which are scientifically one lake) hold the record for most shipwrecks. The gales of November are legendary.

The storms may rage and the temperatures plunge, but here is a way to combat the November doldrums: celebrate National Split Pea Soup Week, the second week in November. A steaming bowl of pea soup loaded with carrots, celery and bay leaves is sure to provide delicious fortification for the days ahead.


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