By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Macho Madness Times Are A Changin'
Placeholder Image
Over the years I've come to find people who cope well with unusual issues and situations tend to be those who are also somewhat adaptable to change.

I was discussing this with someone recently when I mentioned how years ago my wife, Donnelle, and I would take our infant daughter, Rachel, along when we would go out for a meal at midnight, or go bowling, or entertain just about any late night excursion.

We really didn't visit much with friends at these hours. They always seemed to be in bed, I explained.

"Really?" The way the question was asked indicated the person I was talking with didn't seem impressed with my parenting skills.

But don't call Child Protective Services just yet. I'll explain.

When Donnelle and I became brand new parents many years ago, Donnelle had simply adjusted her and Rachel's schedule to my evening work schedule, and we wouldn't eat dinner until I got home from my late night shift as a police officer.

We would always catch one of the late night talk shows, (usually Thicke of the Night; anyone recall that one?) eat dinner, talk about our day, and simply enjoy each other's company until we went to bed about 2 a.m.

It worked like a champ.

We'd all wake up late the following morning, and have a couple hours together before I went to work.

Over the years we adjusted our schedules not only to the hours of the day, but to the point where we would celebrate anniversaries, holidays, and other events on my days off. The best July 4 block party of my life, for example, occurred in our old neighborhood on July 2.

One year when Rachel and our son, Kevin, were still young and included Santa as a big part of their life, we had our Christmas morning at 4:30 a.m. My shift started at 7 a.m., and I didn't want to miss their joy and excitement of the day.

Donnelle, as usual, was at the forefront of these occasions, making the day happen so my work schedule wouldn't impact our family.

With my retirement from the police department a few years ago we thought those days of adjustment were over.

But that's not the case.

Rachel is living in Washington State, married to Danny who serves in the Air Force. Kevin, recently graduated from college, found a job in southern California. In years past most holidays would work out in some fashion, but this year it looked like Kevin was going to miss out.

His job demands dictate he will not be home at Thanksgiving. We initially planned for all of us to head to SoCal so he wouldn't have to make the drive up, but as he explained, with his work schedule he wouldn't have much time off.

Although we haven't missed a Christmas yet that included everyone, as empty nesters we have missed a few Thanksgivings over the years when our kids could not get home. Thanksgiving for us, like most families, is the cornerstone of the holiday season. So we've really missed it.

But this year Donnelle began scheming.

In early November, Rach and our grandchildren will be in town for a wedding. Kev was able to grab an extra day off, so he'll be driving up at that time also. And that's all Donnelle needed.

"We'll have Thanksgiving!" she declared, talking aloud as she began figuring menus, planning the day and inventorying other family members who will be available to attend.

So Thanksgiving will be about three weeks early this year. We'll have our warm up meal in the late morning/early afternoon, which includes various snacks and hors d'oeuvres followed by the main meal of turkey and all the fixin's later in the evening. We'll eat ourselves into a coma, and since we are doing this on a Sunday, there'll even be football on TV.

Although I'm still concerned about getting everyone together for Christmas, including Danny, who will miss our early Thanksgiving, I'm really not worried.

I just hope we can still find a tree in mid January...

Craig Macho is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. He may be reached at or by calling 847-3021.