Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving and Dads

by Diane Fanning

It's difficult to think about Thanksgiving without thinking about your dad. I can still see him standing at the end of the loaded dining room table, hovering over a golden turkey, a large knife and piercing fork poised in the air. He'd pause as he calculated just the right angle and the perfect place to sink the blade.

He'd slice the breast in consistently thin pieces--I still don't know how he managed that. Then, he'd masterfully separate one drumstick and then the other, passing one to my brother and placing the second leg on his plate.

I also remember the sad Thanksgiving. The one where we had hot dogs and baked beans. My Dad worked at the Baltimore Fisher Body plant of General Motors. Every year in August, he'd be laid off for two or three weeks while they turned over the machines to accommodate that year's new models. During that particular year, his union went on strike the same day he was supposed to return to work. On Thanksgiving, he still was without work, without pay and with three kids to feed. We were lucky to get the hot dogs. It made all of us appreciate the turkey even more when the next Thanksgiving rolled around.

Now, all I have of my Dad are memories. He passed away in 2005. At first, my father-in-law filled in the Dad gap. Then last year, he died, too. Both men suffered through years of progressively worsening dementia. They inspired my fourth Lucinda Pierce mystery, Twisted Reason.

It appears that their inspiration led me in the right direction. Publishers Weekly wrote: "Edgar-finalist Fanning skillfully illuminates the heartbreaking challenges facing Alzheimer’s victims and their families in her fourth mystery featuring Virginia homicide detective Lucinda Pierce."

In Kirkus Reviews: "As usual, Fanning poses Lucinda a quirky mystery, this time providing a thoughtful look at the stress of those caring for loved ones with dementia."

In this week of Thanksgiving, I am thankful for the encouragement and inspiration dads give their daughters, and for the special insight that I received from two terrific Dads: Leon Butcher and Bill Fanning.

Happy Thanksgiving.


Cathy Scott said...

Sounds like you had a great dad, Diane. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, and congrats on the fabulous reviews!

Unknown said...

Thank you, Cathy. Happy Thanksgiving to you and all you love.

Kathryn Casey said...

I'm reading Twisted Reason and enjoying it a bunch, Diane. Really good.

Unknown said...

Thank you, Kathryn. I'm glad to hear you are enjoying it. Can't wait to read your book, Killing Storm.

Dr. Gina Simmons said...

Congratulations on your well-reviewed work. Thanks for sharing those loving memories of your two dads. I look forward to reading your latest.

Delilah said...

Aww,Diane, what memories! Seems those times in our lives when we had nothing but family are the best! Thank you for sharing yours with us.

Good luck with the new book, I know it will do fantastic!

Unknown said...

Thank you Gina and Delilah!

TNelson said...

Diane: I just sent a message via Barnes and Noble asking for your books to be presented in e-book format. Maybe you could put in a good word at your publisher as well? Sounds like your Thanksgivings in earlier years were much like mine - those WERE the good old days, eh?