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Some Thoughts on Thanksgiving: Part 2.5

December 29, 2017

As promised, when I last left off, we were just getting to the fun parts of having family over for Thanksgiving. So in no particular order, here are a few of the many reasons that Thanksgiving will always be interesting when family is involved:

  1. Someone in your family will show up late. In my family, it used to be my sister. But now that we have extended family from both my and my wife’s family, it’s a toss up to see who is going to arrive the latest. My dad and I have started to take bets on when the last person or family is going to show up. Usually the time ranges from just a few minutes late to “we’re already seated at the table before we hear the doorbell ring for the last time.”
  2. Someone in your family will inevitably will start a conversation about guns or politics. This will leave the rest of the family in a conundrum as to whether they should engage said family member in what everyone initially hopes will be a productive, civilized discussion or whether they should ignore the bait and hope that someone else will artfully steer the conversation towards less polarizing discussions like maybe the mashed potatoes needing more salt.
  3. Someone will probably make a “semi-racist” or homophobic comment. The handling of that comment largely depends on whether it might have been a thinly veiled attempt at humor or actually is a racist or homophobic comment. Either way, it will definitely make other people uncomfortable.
  4. Someone totally misunderstands an argument or mishears a snippet of conversation and then unleashes a whole diatribe on why that person’s viewpoint is incorrect. Only after some heated discussion, is it ascertained that, in fact, both parties agree and there is no philosophical difference.
  5. If your family is anything like mine, at some point someone will bring up sad memories of dead relatives who are no longer with us and will comment how the dinner is just not the same since Aunt Tillie passed and took her secret recipe of sweet potato casserole to the grave with her.
  6. Usually someone will comment upon another guest’s dish or food offering and claim that when another relative used to make it, it tasted different. Not “bad” mind you, but “different.” This will lead to a whole discussion of recipes and ingredients and preparation methods that ultimately leads to one relative stating that maybe the secret ingredient was simply “love.”
  7. Regardless of clearly set boundaries, someone will predictably be found in the normally off-limits rooms of your house. I’ll go upstairs to use my bathroom, only to find that the guest bedroom doors are now all mysteriously open. Or I’ll go downstairs to the basement to get some ice from the chest freezer only to discover several nieces and nephews going through every box in the place.
  8. Normally, there will also be at least one instance where another adult will discipline or scold a child that is not their own for bad behavior only to be second-guessed by the child’s parents. Even if the offense was something pretty straightforward like running with a knife or trying to use scissors to cut the place mat, the offended parent will say that their child doesn’t normally do that and is probably just learning this behavior from one of their older cousins.
  9. Someone will have done inexplicable things to your bathroom. Whether it be odd toothpaste stains on the mirror, or floating bits in the toilet bowl, often you will find yourself asking “what exactly were they doing in here?” Why would someone need to have partially eaten a granola bar in the bathroom and then casually toss the remains in the trash? Why are there 3 used hand towels now on the floor? All good mysteries.
  10. And finally, what would family be without bringing up embarrassing memories of each other and airing them out for the rest of the family to be entertained? “Remember that time that you got drunk and pissed on Bobby’s motorcycle?” Or “that used to be our favorite game remember? We would dress you up and then put make-up on you and make you watch My Little Pony” Thanks Sis. I could have lived with not remembering that one.

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