Thanksgiving in New York City |

Thanksgiving in New York City

I don’t know how I ever slept on a redeye flight. I guess I didn’t always have two boys using me as a pillow.We arrived at JFK airport from Grand Junction at 5:20 a.m. EST, 3:20 a.m. home time, the day before Thanksgiving. It was to be hosted by my sister Meg in New York City – a complicated but thrilling variation to my family’s years of Thanksgivings in and around Maryland.”No one here has houses,” my son Roy, age 9, murmured from our taxi into the city. Moments later, he shouted, “A revolving door! I love revolving doors!” and darted ahead as we disembarked at a friend’s loaner apartment in a slim tower on West 90th off Broadway. I entered the next slot, but the wheel stopped. Teddy, 12, had popped in smack behind me, and his duffle hung out in back, squashed in the door. We hayseeds awkwardly yanked and heaved it in, and Roy said from the lobby, “The doorman was watching the whole thing … Hey, an elevator!”My husband was visiting his family in Kansas, but all my siblings convened. Lucy, with her small son; my stepsister, Lisa; and my brother and his friend Clayton stayed at three separate friends’ apartments in the 80s, and we all regularly walked to Meg’s place on 78th and Riverside, where my mother and stepfather bunked.At first, the boys and I hurried and blundered, trying to catch up on sleep and with family and going sightseeing. We slept through the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. At the Guggenheim, after seeing the visiting Russian exhibit, the boys were on their last legs when we reached the works by Kandinsky, Chagall, Monet, Gauguin and Van Gogh.”Hey, you guys, this is from Gauguin’s Tahiti period,” I’d shout at their retreating backs. “It’s really important!”I pulled out the heavy artillery: “Van Gogh was crazy. He cut off half his ear.”That stopped them. “Why?”I couldn’t remember, but hurriedly pointed out the sense of movement he imparted to the “Cliffs at St.-Rémy.””He used a lot of squiggly lines,” Teddy later reported to Dad, adding informatively, “I saw a painting by Pablo Pizarro.”Roy observed, “This one guy cut off his ear.”Outside, my sons, who will hike all day when hunting, or ski for hours, reacted to our walks with shock and exhaustion. “Get a taxi! There’s a taxi!” one would shout, dancing to hail it.All three little boys, used to more space, displayed dreadful city-sidewalk manners. Despite scoldings, my two pushed and shoved each other, even fell, playing imaginary football. “Hit me again, Teddy,” Roy would whisper when I wasn’t looking.On our last day, we entered the American Museum of Natural History, which houses the world’s largest dinosaur collection. Roy was tired, he told me. He sat on the floor; eventually, pointedly, he dropped to a crawl. “I don’t like this exhibit,” he said.I despaired. Unfortunately sensitive to noise, and sharing a single bed with a sharp-elbowed 9-year-old, I’d had one night’s sleep in four. This museum was a highlight of our trip, costly in expense and effort. My children were unimprovable.But apparently they’d simply seen enough dinosaurs in Denver and Fruita, because after a stop for drinks, they rallied magically in the Native American halls, racing to each exquisite diorama, crowing over the Iroquois in their long houses, in which eight families shared four central-corridor fires. Or Natives fishing, weaving mats, and tanning skins (using deer brains, a prized detail).”Pit houses! We studied those!””Buffalo hunting!””War clubs!””Choctaw lacrosse!”We visited several other halls, of mammals and gems, and the Hayden Planetarium.Then we walked the 15 blocks up to our apartment, and back down 14 blocks for one last visit at Meg’s, and clear home again, and nobody complained or tried to hail a taxi.Alison Osius lives in Carbondale and can be reached at

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