Holidays can be the best of times and the worst to borrow from Chaz. Dickens. I heard a great tip on the radio this morning which was to employ the same tactics used by hostage negotiators when confronted with tension at the table. Also a friend of mine told me about "fall back" behavior the other day, and it's helpful to be on the lookout fo this pattern of behavior. As he explained it, this psychological phenomenon occurs when usually rational people are under stress. Please allow me to illustrate with a little story. ( fictional, of course) (well, based loosely on random factual type stuff as as all fiction is).
Let's just say you are trying to get a hot turkey dinner, and all the trimmings together for 15 people who are about to walk in the door. You've been baking, cooking, stirring and spilling stuff for hours, but the fruits of your endeavors are coming together and about to land on the table with operatic precision.
Then your eye spots something amiss.
You ask your child to remove their shoes (and balled up socks if it's a boy) from the dining room. (One sock being on the table if you have more than one boy.)
"In a minute." comes the reply.
Just then the dog throws up and the smoke detector goes off with unrelated fury.
"Get your socks and get a bucket, too. " You say dashing towards the oven.
"Why me?" says the kid.
Suddenly you are out on the back deck, alone, nursing that bottle of wine you were going to serve with dinner and relishing the solitude. This might be considered "fall back behavior."
If you are looking for an outlet from this kind of holiday fervor- or simply a reward for a job well done, you know me, I 'm going to suggest music. Yes, "music which hath charms to soothe a savage breast." ( yes, breast according to William Congreve.)
Music at home can be great in a pinch. I just found out Jimi Hendrix would have been 72 today thanks to WPFW, and cranking the radio up in the car after dropping off my kids at their dad's felt wonderful. (definitely "fall back" behavior)
But let's get to the one of kind thing known as a live show. On Thanksgiving itself, you can head over to JVs for Dave Chappell, Andy Poxon and crew. Friday night, Valentine Slim will be holding forth at Takoma VFW; the Nighthawks and Skip Castro are at the State Theater.
Last but certainly not least on Saturday-look for the King Soul extravaganza with the Hardway Connection at Bethesda Blues and Jazz.
If you can fall back with friends to catch you, you've got something to be thankful for indeed.
Hang in there everybody.