Friday morning here, after a restless, disorienting night’s sleep. It’s still Thursday back home, the morning of Thanksgiving Day, but we’re not celebrating until tomorrow, which will be my son J’s 11th birthday. Out here, that is – back home it will still be Friday. Polar convention is to slide holidays to Saturday, to provide a coveted two-day weekend.

In my dreams last night, it was 1957. Or maybe 1958, and I was going through the psych eval to winter over at what was then the brand new South Pole Station. As I knew from Siple’s book, the eval back then was far less than fine art, but of course the dream made it impossibly surreal: all of us sitting in a 1950’s living room, looking through toy catalogs and writing essays on which plastic action figure I most identified with – on the back of somebody else’s Boy Scout merit badges. The woman administering the test wanted me to pass – she kept whispering encouragement under her breath when I was on the right track. But my pen kept turning into one of those inch-thick Sharpies, and there was no way I could write a damned thing on the flimsy little ribbons we’d been provided.

But now here, awake, it really is Friday morning, and everyone’s been gearing up for Thanksgiving. Big pull of freshies came in on the last flight yesterday, along with the ordnance they’re going to use at an unspecified date to implode Old Pole next week. Still no mail, though. Not for over a week. As I understand it, there’s traditionally been a big push to get mail in right before Thanksgiving, but with all the weather cancellations, the manifest has been backed way up trying to get people and supplies in, and personal mail’s been bumped down the list. I can’t complain though – we haven’t had any plummeting tractors to deal with.

Bunch of us gathered last night in the galley to make pies for T-day. Apple, pumpkin and pecan. Not clear to me that it was all that much of a labor saving for the galley crew; I think it was more of a community-building exercise. Great fun, though, to prep food in industrial proportions: pumpkin recipe called for “5 1/2 cups of eggs, 6 pounds of milk”….

Tonight is potato peeling in the gym, followed by the South Pole International Film Festival retrospective. As I understand it, some time in mid-January, folks start making short Pole-themed films to ease the monotony of the routine. Ben and Elissa have compiled their favorites from previous years to get prospective filmmakers’ imaginations running. I’ve seen a few already, and it looks like it’s going to be a blast (yes, I’ll bring a disk home to share).

Anyhow. Then tomorrow is Saturday, Pole-Thanksgiving. Which is Friday for the rest of you. But it’s almost 6:45 already, and I need to get up, and get my disoriented and sleepy posterior out across the snow to station for work. To make up for lack of coherent thoughts this morning, I’m just going to post some slow-to-load pictures of the past 18 or so hours.

Lining up outside DZ for the freshies pull

Haley insists she’s not inciting a snowball fight

But here comes the snow!

Time to stop playing – here comes the food

Here come the freshies

John Rand is always on hand to help out – legend is that
he’s the only person alive who’s lived in all three stations: Old
Pole, the Dome and the Elevated Sation

T-Day prep – wrapping Brie

John shows us how to assemble the apple pie

Christie’s got an industrial batch of pumpkin pie filling

Joselyn and Ken fill the pies

Rachel inscribes the Brie


Oh yeah – we’re still at the South Pole

With lots of snow and big machines

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