The calls begin at the start of the week from old friends, family, and the kids.
The question, “What are you doing?” comes out as “Whatcha doin’?”
There is truly little interest in the actual tasks underway or the activities in process as the nation prepares for Thanksgiving. More it’s about connecting at this time of year.
“Whatcha doin’” means “I miss you”.
It means, “I wish we were kids again when life was simple.
It means, “Are you making that mashed potato recipe Mom used to make?”
It means, “I wish Mom were still around to talk to as she made those mashed potatoes when we were kids.”
It’s the start of our season of nostalgia that seems particularly potent this year. The entire country seems to be nostalgic for the perception of “simple” that came with being young.
Truthfully there was nothing simple about the times of our youth for those of us who are Boomers. The death of Charles Manson this past week reminds us that there were domestic anarchists or terrorists active in this country when we were teenagers. More than 48 years ago, we also experienced crazy men calling for race wars and murdering people in their homes.
One of the biggest differences between no and then was the lack of persistent, insistent channels of information in the 1960s. Yes, we had a television when I was 13. It was a black and white TV that required a hand on the knob to actually change to one of the four channels. There was radio, sure, but mostly music or sports and less hate.
We simply didn’t have persistent, insistent voices in every room of the house, in our hands, in our cars with hundreds of variations telling us the same story over and over, with opinions coloring the perspectives and providing extreme interpretations.
So this week, we turn on Hallmark movies - the fireplace log with a soundtrack was big today. And we call old friends, family in other places, and ask at Thanksgiving, “Whatcha doin’?”
And we yearn for a time that we believe was simple – despite all evidence to the contrary.