Aerial View was WFMU’s first regularly-scheduled phone-in talk show. Hosted by Chris T. and on the air since 1989, the show features topical conversation, interviews and many trips down the rabbit hole. Until further notice, Aerial View is only available as a podcast, available every Tuesday morning. Subscribe to the newsletter “See You Next Tuesday!” and find tons of archives at aerialview.me.
Today's Aerial View Pod(iatry)cast is all about thankfulness. I've been guilty, far too often, of not counting my blessings. Which is why I sat down and talked for twenty minutes straight about the things I'm thankful for. I even read from my "Thank Bank". But that's not all you'll hear on this show...
There's also audio from 2005 of a Thanksgiving Day drive to Tuckahoe, NY, to meet up with my friend Jim. We then drove out to Long Island together (we grew up in the same town) and went our respective ways for Thanksgiving Dinner. You'll get to hear all my frustration at Thanksgiving Day traffic and lots of cursing!
The final portion of today's show features audio from a 2005 Communication Breakdown live, web-only morning show. Yes, my first standalone podcast, Communication Breakdown, eventually became a live show from 6 am - 9 am Eastern time on the WFMU stream. I'd do three hours of radio, then go into work. Yeesh.
In the portion included on this Aerial View, you'll hear me talk about my first date with the woman who became my wife. If you didn't hear this when it initially "aired" or never downloaded the podcast version, you're in for a treat. I was quite proud of what I accomplished with Communication Breakdown and ask that you give it a listen one of these days.
Among other things, I'm thankful the above glop-covered mess won't be my Thanksgiving meal this year. That's what I ate in 2012, served at the Lindenhurst Diner around 1 pm in the afternoon. The missus and I had travelled out to Long Island to see my mother in the hospital and afterward we decided to get some Thanksgiving dinner with my brother. It was without doubt the single most depressing Thanksgiving meal I've ever had.
I truly hope you're surrounded by those you love, eating and drinking in celebration of all we have to be thankful for! Please remember those who still face food insecurity in this country and consider making a donation to the people at Why Hunger.
Last Week: JFK & JAF
Last week'sAerial View Pod(iatry)cast featured my recent sojourn to the Grassy Knoll with my friend Josh Alan Friedman.You can hear the show right here.
If they can rerun "The Night Before Christmas" every year, I can re-run this...
A Better Place
Little Sara rolled her new wheelchair down the special ramp her Grandpa had built and into the backyard of her new home. How may times had she dreamed about coming to live with her grandparents and now here she was. Her grandmother watched from the picture window at the rear of the house as Sara negotiated the narrow pathways around the garden and back to the barn. Her heart went out to the child, recently orphaned and too young to understand how her world could be so easily shattered. How do you explain drunken driving to a nine year-old ? How do you tell her about the precarious nature of life and how it can be snatched away at any moment? How do you convince a little girl that her parents are "in a better place"? How do you tell her that she might not ever be free of that wheelchair ?
Sara thought about the "better place" as she struggled around the backyard. The wheels of her chair kept bogging down in piles of newly-fallen leaves. She'd give an extra push to get free and be on her way again. She was nearly at the barn when her Grandfather stepped around the corner:
"Why, hello there, young Miss!” he said. “Lend a hand ?" He grabbed the handles of the wheelchair. "Just got a turkey. Would you like to see him ?"
Her grandfather rolled her through the open barn doors and into the musty darkness. Something rustled from within, made a small noise, indistinguishable. Sara grabbed the wheels and rolled further inside. There, in a pen, was a big, round nervous creature with a small head on its long neck, constantly moving, emitting a gobble. Sara was fascinated. She felt a hand on her shoulder.
"That's Tom." said her grandfather. "Tom, say hello to Sara." The turkey dipped its small head, turned and headed for a far corner of the pen.
"Oh, he's beautiful, Grandpa! How did he get here?"
Her grandfather stumbled, thinking of what to say. "He's a stray, honey. He wandered in here with a hurt wing and we fixed him up. Soon he can go back to his friends." he said, hoping his grandaughter would believe him.
“Can’t we keep him?”
“Well, I don’t know...” her Grandfather answered. “It would be wrong. He probably wants to get back to his friends...” Sara stared at Tom the Turkey. He stared back. “Let’s get into the house. Your Grandmother probably has dinner on the table.”
After that, Sara would wheel out to the barn every day to visit with Tom. She’d talk to him for hours. Watching from the window, her Grandmother worried. “Grandpa...” she’d say to her husband, “...do you think it’s such a good idea for her to get so attached to that turkey? Thanksgiving is right around the corner...”
“It’ll be fine. I told her he’s going back to his friends as soon as he’s ‘well’.” Grandpa said.
The morning before Thanksgiving, Sara’s grandfather was up extra early. Sara heard him washing his hands at the kitchen sink. Then she heard the back door open and close. She got herself out of bed and into her wheelchair, rolling it to the back window. Her grandfather had an axe in his hand and was walking to the barn. Sara hurriedly wheeled herself to the backdoor and down the plywood ramp into the backyard. Her grandfather had disappeared into the barn.
Sara pumped her little arms as hard as she could, rolling herself through mud and leaves to just outside the barn door. Then she got stuck in the mud. No matter how she tugged or pushed she could not free the chair. She tried to but could not see into the barn. She struggled up from the wheelchair and got to her feet. She took a step and was surprised to find she didn’t fall down. She took another step and tottered before righting herself. Two more steps and she was inside the barn. Her grandfather had Tom’s neck stretched on a large wooden block. The axe was in midswing, high above her grandfather’s head, when he saw her.
“Oh my... oh my God!” he shouted. He brought the axe down and tossed it aside. Sara walked slowly over to him. “Grandpa...” she said.
Her grandfather, on his knees, tears streaming down his cheeks, said, “Sara! My God! It’s a miracle!” He hugged her. “Grandpa...” Sara said, “You weren’t going to kill Tom, were you?”
Her grandfather shook his head, saying, “No. No, honey. I wouldn’t do that.”
“LIAR!” Sara screamed, pushing herself away and grabbing the axe, which she brought crashing down onto her Grandfather’s skull. Blood spurted into the midday air, a crimson arc bright against the cool dark of the barn, as she yelled over and over “LIAR!” with each swing of the axe.
Thanksgiving, 1963: Me, Diana, Mario (RIP), Joanie (RIP) and Marc.
William Chris T. DeVaughan
Be Thankful For What You Aerial View Got
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ON DEMAND ARCHIVES: The Aerial View Archive page features archives going back to nearly the beginning of the show in RealAudio and MP3 format.ON THE WEB:Listen from the playlist page aeriaview.me.OVER THE AIR: Aerial View is currently off the airwaves of WFMU until further notice.PODCAST: Aerial View is available on iTunes as a podcast.