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.
(Diane Fanning is also the author of numerous true crime books. Her site is http://www.dianefanning.com/ and if you go to the reading room located on her site you can pick a chapter from any of her books to read. She is also a colleague, a contributor at women and crime ink and one hell of a talented author)