Thanksgiving Week

I have just returned from my evening walk in downtown Edmonds. For the first time this year, the fountain on Main Street is lit up with holiday lights, as well the surrounding buildings and little shops for a few blocks in each direction.

Each evening, downtown Edmonds settles down with the coming of nightfall and becomes very quiet and peaceful. As I strolled along the damp streets and passed by the decorated windows of quaint shops, I was thinking about what to write about in my article tonight, and I was organizing my thoughts regarding the upcoming Miami game itself. Lost in my football reverie, an old Thunderbird with seemingly no muffler went roaring past with such a rumble it seemed to rattle the sidewalk. There was a slight rush of adrenaline within me, and after a moment I shook my head at the irony of it all.

Given some of the horror stories that we have heard and read in recent weeks about the Taliban, if I were in Afghanistan a vehicle roaring up from behind might have a different connotation to it, no? People being beaten in the streets for having too short of a beard. People being arrested for listening to music or singing. Women being beaten or worse for simply showing part of their face in public.

It's an entire world away from Edmonds, Washington.

Reflecting further upon the big picture, a kaleidoscope of revolving images come to the mind's eye. Airplanes being flown into buildings, giant skyscrapers suddenly collapsing upon themselves. Crushed bodies, weary news-anchors, news of local Husky fans dying in a plane crash in another faraway land.

Meanwhile the enemy is taunting us via pre-recorded video, millions around the world are praying for us, our President rising to the challenge and leading with authority and inner determination. Air raids taking place in a distant, foreign land. A homeland press bent with worry and hang-wringing about another Vietnam. Government leaders are targeted with killer bacteria. On the east coast, people think twice before opening their mail. The same scenario seems to play out before us each day in the media. More hand wringing and debate. A giant airline goes down again, near that same city, crashing and burning amid a quiet neighborhood. It seems a desperately unfair blow.

Suddenly, the enemy is on the run in that foreign land. Cities are falling into Northern Alliance control as the enemy flees south. Reports are surfacing that our Special Forces Operatives have hunted down and are now surrounding the terrorists' leader. There is obviously a certain measure of relief and satisfaction of the direction this seems to be going. Our President reminds us that there is still much more to do.

It is a full two and a half months since that fateful day, and alas, Thanksgiving week is now upon all of us. Obviously, it will take on meanings that haven't been really as heartfelt since the days of World War II, or at least that's the way that I see it.

Meanwhile, here I am, walking along a quiet street in the evening, busily analyzing an upcoming football game. Every day I walk about my city and region with a relative assumption of security and peace of mind. So much so that a vehicle roaring up from behind doesn't automatically fill me with heart-pounding terror. At least for me, the prevailing thought mirrors the reality. Some cheap bastard who needs to get his muffler replaced.

In all seriousness, you've got to love this country, huh?

In the wake of the tragedies we have witnessed and experienced, our country's military intelligence and might are now on display for the world to see. Things are being handled immensely well. This leaves its citizens, such as myself, feeling free enough to take casual, evening strolls along damp streets and amid twinkling holiday lights, all the while worrying if there is any way our Huskies can knock off Miami.

"Only in America!", as Don King would shout.

In the event that Neuheisel and Co. can fashion a game plan to brilliantly utilize Jerramy Stevens and Reggie Williams in tandem, and pull off an upset of the ‘Canes, the Dawgs can be sitting pretty at 9-2. Then perhaps . . . waiting in the wings is the fulfillment of my pre-season "prophecy" . . . that of Washington playing Oregon in a major bowl game.

Then we'd really know that the entire world has been turned upside down.
Derek Johnson can be reached at djohnson@dawgman.com.

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