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Weekly Features
Letter from New York
Mathew Tombers is Managing Director of Intermat, Inc., ( a television company which executive produces programs and consults with industry companies on a variety of issues. Intermat, Inc. is currently involved in approximately thirty hours of television in various stages for a variety of networks. He is one of the Executive Producers of OFF TO WAR, a ten hour series for Discovery Times and for a one hour on international adoptions for Discovery Health. He has consulted a variety of companies, including Ted Turner Documentaries, WETA, Betelgeuse Productions, and Creation Films, Lou Reda Productions as well as many others.

The Albuquerque Version

Thanksgiving, 2005

As I work on this column, I am sitting in the kitchen of my oldest friend in the world, Sarah Malone, and her husband Jim. Sarah and I have never not known each other and have been friends from before we marched off to kindergarten in a rain storm sometime back in those Fabulous Fifties [more fab in retrospect than in the living, I suspect].

Adrift, this year, for Thanksgiving, Sarah phoned me and requested/demanded/ordered my appearance for Thanksgiving. Sarah is physically petite and monumentally forceful – just ask her son Kevin, who fondly calls me “Uncle Mat” out of emotional kindred-ness rather than that of blood.

It is the night before Thanksgiving and while I am sipping a lovely Beaujolais with Jim, hundreds of thousands of people are making their way from one home to another, struggling with a storm back east that is making a Holiday mess.

Personally, I love Thanksgiving. It is my favorite Holiday: celebration without need for gifts, good food and a four day weekend, while surrounded by the people whom we love and who often drive us mad.

It is a time when we can all revel in our personal and familial dysfunctions, groaning over the peculiarities of Aunt Ethel, while at the same time loving them for being part of the tapestry of our lives.

Sometime in the years I lived in California, I made Thanksgiving MY holiday, as important, if not more so, than Christmas. I love the sense of gathering and that the gathering is to say “thanks” to the universe for what we have.

We are remarkably lucky, we Americans. While this is a Holiday which drives most of us to some distraction, due to the travails of travel and the frustration of family, it is also a special time.

In the days since 9/11, the Holiday has seemed more important – to me. It was the first major Holiday following that dark moment and in the national pain we gathered together with more meaning than ever and with more sense of importance than ever. That lingers.

This column was born in those days, and I recall preparing the first Thanksgiving in Claverack Cottage, a gathering of friends and loved ones, nestled together against the darkness we all felt outside our personal pools of light.

It is four years on and we are all, I think, aware of the dark that is in this world. While we have been spared to date more 9/11’s, we have had the misery of Madrid and the loathsome London day when bombs went off in “The Tube”.

Far away, there is a war being fought and the death toll climbs with every day, both for our soldiers and the civilians caught in the nightmare Iraq has become – as if it would have been anything else. [In 1920, the British experienced much of what we are experiencing in Iraq and we might do well to read their reports and learn their lessons.]

It is Thanksgiving and the world is as dark a place as it was in 2001; it is less immediate than that year but just as real.

Part of my love of Thanksgiving is that it is a time to pause, to rest, to give thanks and to put in perspective our lives. I am deeply grateful for my life; even if there are personal travails now.

I am also thankful I was born American, even if now I feel more challenged than anytime since Viet Nam. It is my hope that out of these travails and tribulations, we can emerge, eventually, stronger and more robust, as we did post-Viet Nam.

It is one of the more interesting things about this country; we seem to emerge from crisis better than we did than before. This one is challenging but so have others. Hope for the future is something we can be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

This past week, Al Adams, one of the great media guys out of San Francisco, passed away. He had been fighting, I found out, ALS [Lou Gehrig’s Disease] for the last two years. He was a creative, funny man with an always odd sense of humor that took a moment to understand. I knew him best in the 1980’s when I was working for A&E. He will be missed by many, including me.