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Stateside With Rosalea: A Loooong Weekend

Stateside With Rosalea Barker

A Loooong Weekend

::Spirit of Thanksgiving::

Thursday was Thanksgiving Day, or the Day Before Black Friday, as it is quickly becoming known. Not entirely immune to the blandishments of junk mail, I set off early on Thanksgiving morning to scope out the nearest Wal-Mart store, in anticipation of getting up early on Friday to fight for a brand new media centre PC for a mere $400 in their Black Friday sale.

Much to my surprise, Wal-Mart was closed on Thanksgiving Day--just goes to show that this really, really is a holiday when the wheels of US commerce grind to a complete halt even at the big-box stores. A handwritten sign on a piece of cardboard taped to the entrance said to come back at 5 the next morning.

The bus driver on my way back home responded to my "Happy Thanksgiving" with "Every day is thanksgiving," reinforcing one of the things I like most about living where I do and shopping in East Oakland--the eternal grace and optimism of the working poor. Lest you think I am an Ostri-anna, you should know that in the end I didn't get up early next morning to go to Wal-Mart.

That's because, when I got back home from my scouting trip, my neighbour told me that those gunshots we keep hearing early in the morning are aimed at the house across the street. Suddenly, getting up in the wee small hours to walk to the bus stop seemed like not such a good idea, and getting a taxi to come to this part of town in the daylight hours is impossible, let alone at that time of night.

::What would Kiwis eat?::

Considering that the Thanksgiving meal, by tradition, consists of the foods that the pilgrims had been taught by the local natives to grow, hunt and cook, I took to wondering what Kiwis would eat. God forbid that NZ ever celebrates anything as vacuous as thanking the kindly natives for helping a bunch of land-grabbing pious twits to survive, but I figured that pork, puha, watercress and kumara would be appropriate.

Substituting Japanese yams for kumara and silverbeet for puha, I came up with a pretty decent meal. Fish didn't seem to be quite the right substitute for turkey--something which has to be hunted on land--so I figured a Captain Cooker would have done the trick back then. Dessert had me stumped, but. There are some beautiful cabbage trees around here, but not only do I not know the method of getting the root, but I'd likely be arrested for trying.

::Cancellation Nation::

The long weekend has had its share of cancellations for me. A bus tour I planned to take on Friday didn't eventuate, and neither did the movie preview I went to on Saturday night. There's something a little spooky about hearing one-third of your inalienable rights under the Declaration of Independence taken away, as in the sentence: "Sorry, but The Pursuit of Happyness has been cancelled." The movie stars Will Smith, was filmed in San Francisco and is based on a true story that first aired on television last year.

Even my new favorite website has been partially cancelled. is where you can sing karaoke and have it rated by others. It's as tragic and as spine-tingling as any talent show in the local war memorial hall, and also off-line this weekend, apart from a handful of songs serving as a placeholder.



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