"The Thanksgiving Visit"

posted Jul 20, 2011, 1:56 PM by Terrence Moss   [ updated Dec 15, 2011, 7:56 AM ]

“Where are you?” Erick’s father asks as he pulls up to Terminal 3 at Newark International Airport. He had invited Erick out to spend Thanksgiving with him and his girlfriend.

Erick had met her a few times before but his previous trips were usually overnight stays since he was usually splitting his time on the east coast between Boston to see friends he met while living up there, childhood friends in New Jersey, friends he made during his summer in New York and in Baltimore to see his brother, sister-in-law and nephews.

This was the first time in several visits that Erick would not only be staying a few days but not darting all over the northern eastern seaboard trying to see everyone. Erick’s brother Brent, whom he had just seen the previous month when he surprised their mother in California for her birthday, was also driving up from Baltimore with his wife and their two sons. As was the case with their mother, it was a rare time since the divorce that his father would get to be with both of his sons and grandsons.

“I’m right here,” Erick replies as he waves his hand in the air. “Can you see me?”

“No. Can you see the Enterprise van?”

“Yeah. Are you behind it?”

“No. I’m behind the Hertz van.”

Erick walks toward the Hertz van as it starts to pull away into the slow-moving airport traffic. “I’m walking toward you but I just realized I haven’t a clue what your car looks like in the dark – or even in broad daylight for that matter.”

“Stay where you are. Hopefully you haven’t changed all that much.”

“Nope. My hair is still balding, thinning and receding, but I’m now dying my scalp blond.”

Erick’s father “Is that you?”

“Can you see the red highlights in my hair?”

“Is that an Enterprise van?”

Erick backtracks to a small section of the terminal with no cars and no else waiting to be picked up. “No, that pulled off a few minutes ago. A National van took its place.” 

“Why are they both green?”

“Technically, Enterprise’s colors are white with green trim. National is green with white trim. Or something like that. I’m just talkin’. I haven’t a clue.”

“I think I drove past you.”

“Are you still in the terminal?”


“Then you’re fine. I walked to the end of it. I found an area where there are no people. So you should be able to see me.”

“Did you go all the way out past the taxis and the town cars?”

“Yes. I’m just beyond a minivan and a white car with their trunks open.”

“You wear glasses now?” Erick’s father asks as he pulls up behind the minivan with the open trunk.

“Yeah. I guess you can see me now. Where are you?” Erick asks as he looks around.

Erick’s father flashes his high beams. “I didn’t know you needed glasses.”

“I don’t. These are for fashion,” Erick responds. He hangs up the phone, walks toward his father’s car and gets in.

“Fashion, huh?” Erick’s father comments with a smile. “It’s good to see you.”

“It’s good to see you, too.”

“Thanks for flying out,” Erick’s father says as he carefully starts to pull into the still slow-moving traffic.

“I had nothing better to do. Besides, I calculated that we haven’t had a holiday in six years so you were overdue.”

Erick’s father thinks about this for a moment. “What about Fourth of July a couple years ago?”

“I didn’t count that. It’s not part of the so-called Holiday Season that seems to start in September and last until March.”

“I see. How was the flight?”

“25D was the worst place to be seated. If I wasn’t getting bumped by other passengers as they walked by, I was treated to a succession of crotches or posteriors in my face as they waited for the bathroom. At one point, I started praying for turbulence just so that the pilot would have to turn on the fasten seatbelt sign.”

Erick’s father chuckles. “Still the Curmudgeon.”

“You thought I’d outgrow that?”

“I was hoping. And praying.”

“That’s probably one he isn’t going to answer. Besides, I’m getting older, not younger.”

“How old are you?”


“Exactly. Wait, you’re thirty-four?”

Erick looks over at his father. “Yeah. How old did you think I was?”

“I thought you were thirty-five.”

“That’s next year.”

“All this time I thought you were a Centennial baby.”

“In 1977? Your marriage to mom was Centennial.”

Erick’s father shrugs off his confusion. “The years just kind of blend together at some point.”

“I guess they would at a certain age,” Erick teases as he points toward his father’s graying temples.

Erick’s father shoots him a quick glare. “You know you aint too old…”

Erick laughs. “Ha! Actually, I am. I bought sheets.”

“What does that mean?”

“I don’t know. Mom used to always say I wasn’t grown until I bought sheets – even after I moved to California. And so I did.”

“You are a strange young man.”

“Thanks, Dad. I always aim for you to constantly be wondering, ‘What’s the matter with Junior?’”

“But you aren’t a junior.”

“Okay, then ‘what’s the matter with sonny?’ or ‘what’s the matter with that boy?’ Then again, I’m not so much a boy anymore so I guess we’d have to go with sonny.”

“Well, if that’s your aim, then you succeed much more often than not.”

“I appreciate that.”

“Carline’s excited to see you.”

“How is she?”

“She’s good.” Erick’s father answers as he exits the airport and merges onto I-78 West. “We’re getting married.”

Erick silently processes this for a moment. He stares straight ahead, blinks rapidly and slowly nods his head. “Does Brent know yet?”

“No. I thought I’d tell you first to gauge your reaction. You tend to be more understanding of these things.”

“Well, you kind of just threw it out there but I’m good with it. Besides, you’re just as grown as I am.”

Erick’s father nods. “That somewhat how I thought you’d react.”

“Are you worried about Brent’s reaction?”

“A little.

“You want me to tell him?”

Erick’s father chuckles. “I think I’m more scared of how you would tell him than how he’d react.”

Erick smiles deviously. “What’s wrong with ‘Hey Brent, Carline’s going to be in a new show premiering next year called Meet Your New Stepmommy!’”