A blog of general comment by one of L.A.'s best known commentator/essayists. Humor, drama, pathos, satire and, well, everything else.
It is early in the morning on the day after Thanksgiving and the house is in moderate disarray from a family gathering of 14 happy souls.
There are still dishes in the sink and the dining room remains almost as they had left it with chairs pushed back from the table, orange and lavender petals from a bouquet scattered on the linen table cloth, glasses with traces of wine here and there.
All of this will be taken care of as the day progresses. The dishes will be washed and put away and the dining room restored to its orderly condition. The household will settle into its normal routine.
But this isn’t on my mind as I stand with a cup of coffee looking over the rooms where family had gathered only hours ago. I can still hear the echoes of conversation, trails of laughter, shards of stories traded back and forth across the table.
Our extended family is a gregarious mix of retired teachers, a retired milkman, a financier, a gifted young artist, an entrepreneur, an aspiring musician, students, a baby, a park worker and the wives who keep it all together.
As I stand near the table recreating the sounds and images of yesterday I see my wife, the vibrant Cinelli, basting the turkey, mixing the dressing, finishing the glorious pumpkin pies and organizing the additions that others have brought to the dinner.
She smiles as she works, happy to have this day, happy to have this family, happy to have all of us winning the struggle to survive during a difficult time in America, thinking of a daughter who didn’t live for this day, pushing ahead through pain and memory for the joy of others.
She is a remarkable woman who paints and writes poetry as gracefully as she serves up a gourmet dinner, as willingly as she keeps our household running, as artfully as she juggles our finances, as patiently as she keeps her grouchy, unstable husband plunging forward.
Conversations of the day before remain in the room, this pleasant room, and while they vary in content, there remains a compelling toast to those who Occupy Wall Street from Oakland to New York, mounting a velvet revolution against greed, corruption and the ruthless quest for power that has tarnished the very soul of America.
I realize as I stand with a cup of coffee in hand considering the glory of family on a day of thanksgiving that we are a cross-section of Americana and our voices are rising to right the wrongs and to bring equality back to a nation off balance.
This is what I have to say today as morning rises over the mountains and the valleys of L.A. We are a happy people, grateful for what we have but challenging the status quo. Like the character from the 1976 movie “Network,” we’re madder than hell and we’re not going to take it anymore.
It’s the bottom line on this day after Thanksgiving.
Al Martinez is a Pulitzer Prize winning essayist, former columnist for the Los Angeles Times, author of a dozen books, an Emmy-nominated creator of prime time television shows, a travel writer, humorist and general hell-raiser. Try him. He's addictive.
Joanne Cinelli Martinez is composed of artist, poet, gourmet chef, interior decorator, photographer, volunteer, and all around intelligent person; also the life long partner and care taker of the simple but happy little man who runs the blog. She views him with suspicion and uncertainty. It is a cautionary love story.