Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Giving of the Thanks

Only when I was a child did Thanksgiving seem to have any sort of continuity, a sameness year after year.  It wasn't monotonous, just the entire family (extended family too) gathering at our house,  my mother making the turkey colossus, mountains of mashed potatoes, rivers of gravy, never enough stuffing, cranberry sauce (both freshly made and sliced out of the can), green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, dinner rolls, pumpkin and apple pies...I think that covers it...Wait!  How could I forget; frozen corn, steamed with butter melted over.  Until I was at least 12 I sat at the kids' table, which was just as well because many of the adults would be smoking during the meal.  Despite being a smoker myself, I have never smoked at the table.  It's disgusting, and then that old nasty habit of stubbing out a butt on your plate.  Honestly, I have no words for how foul a practice that it is, especially for the person cleaning up after.
Now, as an adult, I find Thanksgiving to be unique every year, something memorable invariably happens to distinguish one turkey day from any other.  There was the year that my father decided to celebrate Festivus early and instead of opening the meal with a prayer of thanks, launched into the 'Airing of Grievances', of which he had many.  Then there was the year that my grandmother so pestered my sister-in-law in the kitchen over that said sil spun around and rammed right into a corner cabinet, nearly knocking herself out and then sporting an angry black eye.  The year my oldest brother got so drunk that he slept throughout the entire gathering (this is why I am vehemently against morning drinking).  The only thing that remained the same about Thanksgiving was that while my maternal grandfather was alive (1908-2003), he would bring his own tupperware containers and demand leftovers, instructing whoever was hosting to not be stingy with the gravy.  I can't look at tupperware and not think of him, that self-centered old coot.  But now he's gone and his habits, once annoying, now seem quaint.
This Thanksgiving will be remembered as the year Caty, my wife, missed out on one meal (we have to attend 2 Thanksgiving meals, the first with my family, and the second with hers), the good traditional meal with my family, because of a sprained ankle - which then aggravated the pinched nerve in her neck (crutches are a pain, literally).  We'll go to the nontraditional meal with her family.  No stuffing, no mashed potatoes (they hate starches, in fact, her entire family has a hostile relationship with food, which explains why none of them can cook worth a damn), dry pathetic bird, a grotesquely quivering jell-o salad, a bunch of raw vegetables, and some sort of store bought dessert, probably ice cream. 
Ah well.  I'm still ever thankful for the companionship and love shared by family, all the more so because of our quirks and flaws.

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