I gotta love it. But, not for the typical reasons, not because I find comfort in its traditional value—the televised parade, football, stuffing, and that blessed monster-bird whose consumption leaves everyone comatose for a week—or because the holiday provides the occasion for a four-day break, not even because it draws the family back together (extended relations included)…we all know how overwhelming that can sometimes get. The reason I love this year’s Thanksgiving holiday is because my family’s experience of it was far from being predictable.
This year I actually only got to spend the day with half my family (mom and younger brother), the rest (dad and two sisters) opted for the louder, crowded, more festive version in Southern California. Those of us left behind still got along quite famously though. The evening began with my mother and brother taking drinks of Bacardi as my mom finally recounted the strange events of her early twenties (which, until now, were years that have been unaccounted for…dear God, it’s taken me so long to pry these stories from her mouth, I wish I’d have known that all I had to do was give her some rum), then progressed with a period of us three trying to silence the ever so sensitive fire alarms that “won’t-shut-the-fuck-up-already”. After that was Thanksgiving dinner time, when each of us, never really being big fans of turkey or stuffing, got to have whatever we wanted:
Brother: baked chicken and corn
Me: pizza, broccoli with cream of mushroom, and Jolly Rancher Jell-o
(in cups…must be in cups)
Mom: anything that’s not turkey
It was grand. We didn’t spend the entire day stressing over and preparing for that one important meal; much less do things according to the conventional Thanksgiving Day protocol.
Something I’ve always noticed from holidays past is that, most of the time, people get so wrapped up in “tradition” that they forget to enjoy themselves. I vividly recall the days when my aunts would run around the kitchen with such serious drive and urgency (trying to get all the necessary dishes ready for the family) you’d think they were preparing for war. Such hustling and bustling would typically last the entire day. Meanwhile, all the men are busy keeping up more of the “tradition” by propping themselves in front of the television, complete with beers in hand. In my family, what tends to occur as a result is less meaningful interaction and more rote behavior. To hell with that, give me more spontaneity, more impulsiveness. Forget the cranberry sauce! Give me sushi! This year’s Turkey Day was unique. I immensely enjoyed myself. Hope all six of us will be around next holiday…mmm…Christmas…