Thanksgiving and Jack London

Thanksgiving morning in Missoula and we have a fresh little skiff of snow on the ground. It won’t last; it’s supposed to be up in the mid-30s today. I can remember actually going snowmobiling on Thanksgiving Day as a kid, right from the front yard. We had a couple of those boxy old machines with a top speed of maybe 30 mph. An old Evinrude and an Arctic Cat or two. We’d tear around out in the field, my dad with two or three kids falling off the back. Those days are long gone, though. Still, it remains possibly my favorite holiday. Not for any of the traditional reasons, certainly, so I’m not entirely sure why. I think it’s because this tends to be my favorite time of year, and I associate it with snacking all day, mom producing delicious food smells in the kitchen, stuff like that. Today will be low key for us, mostly a chance to relax. I think we are going to venture up Rock Creek with our fly rods. Don’t expect to catch a damn thing, but it will be beautiful to be out. If all goes as planned, I’ll get to watch my favorite movie this evening, which I also associate with the season: The Last of the Mohicans. I hope everyone has a peaceful day.

Jack London country near Glen Ellen, CA, from my visit last August

Today also happens to mark the 96th anniversary of the death of one of my writing heroes, Jack London. I was fortunate to visit his grave site at Jack London State Historic Park back in August. I would have liked to spend more time there, but it was actually about to close when I arrived. I snuck in anyway so I could visit the grave, but didn’t explore at all beyond that. I ended up locked in the parking lot with my car on the wrong side of the gate. Luckily a guy who lives on premises had a key and let me out. When I apologized for the trouble, he said, “Well, it’s Jack’s land, and he wouldn’t mind.”

Jack is under that big rock

The Call of the Wild was a book I loved as a kid, and still love. I have been working my way through a collection of his short stories this year and intend to complete it this weekend. He lived an active life that fueled his writing, something I am striving to achieve as well before it’s too late. Visiting where he lived in California, the lands where The Call of the Wild begins, only makes the images that much clearer. I’m pleased to have the opportunity to see these places.

So Jack will be part of my holiday this weekend as well. Who knows, maybe I’ll watch White Fang or something. I’ll definitely be looking over his photography.

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