We all have our Thanksgiving traditions. Some people uncomfortably hold hands and pray giving thanks for what they are receiving on the table. Some people don’t pray at all but give thanks to that mouth guttering turkey on the table. Some people don’t have turkey at all. I’ll brighten this up a bit.
Our family of 13 had many traditions, but only one of them was truly glorious. It wasn’t the nose bleeding fights we’d have in the basement that thankful day causing our father to ban us from boxing gloves. He was a wise man, but bare knuckles weren’t a wise alternative for us……brothers and sisters both. It wasn’t someone drinking so much eggnog that precious day causing them to throw up at the dinner table, thus causing me not to partake in Mom’s exquisite cuisine. It wasn’t even mom being irritated because, in later years, that there was a beer can in every sacred picture. Mom wasn’t, is not, and never will be a drinker. That’s probably why she’s 80 something and in better shape than all of her children. This other tradition is one I believe most can relate. There are three rounds of Thanksgiving dinner. The first round consists of mass quantities of food, mixed in with someone, (my nephew, Dean), vomiting, followed by those capable of witnessing that event, and actually finishing their dinner. Second round: Mom and the sisters doing dishes until next Thanksgiving came around the calender. Third round: The boys becoming hungry enough to make turkey sandwiches two hours after eating turkey, mash potatoes, sweet potatoes, (I once remember swimming in mom’s gravy as though imagining we could actually afford a pool), and as usual, some idiot would show up with this weird salad known as a Waldorf. This contains fruit. I am a fruitcake and I love fruit but not on Thanksgiving. That thankful day, I would say “no thanks” to fruit. When I sat down at the table, I was watching Carnivore Central, and nobody was going to change my channel.
Now for the best tradition of all. It wasn’t always just mom, dad, and the 13 of us in this humble house. Brothers and Sisters eventually began getting married (to other people who were not related to us…..sorry that happens in some states) and started having children of their own. That added a bit to the table. Remarkably, we also had friends showing up to mother’s magnificent feast. So, now we’re talking about five or six hundred thousand people we have eating, drinking, fighting and throwing up. Growing older and a bit more crotchety, and mysteriously wiser (that usually doesn’t happen with men my dad’s age), he, my father, wanted these people, sons, daughters, uncles, aunts, friends, sons in law, daughters in law, potatoes, turkeys and people he didn’t even know to get the Hell out of his and my mother’s house. Therefore, the ideal tradition began. He confiscated all the keys of people capable driving home with their children and started each one of their cars up. Sometimes, when dad made a point, it didn’t have to be with words. He was a man of action. With exhausted fumes blowing through our block, driveway and house, everyone collectively said, “well I guess this party’s over…..see you next year”.
I never knew my father was a genius.