Peter Meinke's Poet's Notebook, Thanksgiving edition

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,

Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;

Conspiring with him how to load and bless

With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run . . .

Our children, with whom this year we can only gather post-Thanksgiving, are scattered all over the world, but we’ve been pleased to learn that Thanksgiving is celebrated everywhere, in various forms. Basically, it’s a big bash at harvest-time, bursting markets loaded with tasty local specialties. (I know first-hand about Munich’s Oktoberfest, which I attended while stationed in Germany in 1955. For some reason it’s pretty fuzzy in my mind — that was a long time ago! — though the German word bierleichen, meaning “beer corpses,” has stuck with me. I’ve always been fond of languages.)

In Hanoi, where one of our sons works for USAID, they celebrate Têt-Trung-Thu, or Mid-Autumn Festival, which, instead of pumpkin pie, features mooncakes — square pastries stuffed with lotus seed paste. Another son is in Beijing, with similar festivities, except the mooncakes tend to be round. In America, of course, the people tend to be round, especially after Thanksgiving.