Do you remember Thanksgiving as a kid? We’d have pageants dressed in brown paper bags and construction paper. We’d learn about Pilgrims and Indians. We even learned that the
Indians Native Americans called corn maize. We’d get time off of school and inevitably we’d each be asked to say what we were thankful for each and every day. Oh wait…this was before Facebook. Never mind we just had to do it once in the month back in the good ol’ days.
At Thanksgiving dinner we would sit around the card table with our other little cousins and eat our blended turkstufftatoes and gravy. Parents constantly encouraging us to eat more, but none of us stopped moving long enough to actually eat a proper meal. We wanted to play and run and do just about anything besides eat the food around us. Except the pie. We always wanted the pie.
Holidays were always fun when we were kids. We were happy, we ran, and we played for hours upon hours oblivious to the grown ups around us. Oh, sure, we’d hear the moaning and groaning of our parents and others about how difficult the holidays were and how difficult it was dealing with family and good ol’ Uncle Jim, but as kids we never understood. How could we have understood? Kids don’t understand the nuances of adulthood.
Well, the time has come. We have been officially upgraded to the grown up table. We are ready to join in on the annual football game. We can’t wait for the real wine and real conversations, but mostly the wine.
Thanksgiving is going to be great this year!!!!
Except before the appetizers are ready and the turkey is carved you suddenly realize what the adults have been groaning on about each year. There are almost a dozen people every family has that when combined in the same household can make even poor Turkey Tom spontaneously combust into a dry, withering mess.
- Cousin Paul (The wanna be jock)– In he comes Mr. Football himself! You know the one I’m talking about. As soon as he walks in the door he asks why the So-and-So Game isn’t on and plops himself on the couch. He asks his wife or mom to get him a plate of appetizers and a beer so he doesn’t miss one exhilarating moment of the games! As long as he’s not asking you to wait on him then you could not care less about what he does all day. Go Bears! (The Bears are a football team, right??)
- The Sister That Brought the New Boyfriend.Oh my gosh they are like so totally in love. They’re going to get married and have babies and oh my gosh it’s going to like be so great. That is, of course, assuming they are capable of taking their tongues out of each other’s throat long enough. Ugh, tonsil hockey never looked so gross.
- Grandpa Phil– You love Grandpa. He’s awesome when he’s talking football with the cousin. He’s perfect when he falls asleep in his lounge chair. And he is hilarious when he goes off on his politically charged tangents about everything. The kids at the kids table are talking about why we celebrate Thanksgiving and sure enough Grandpa is the first to go off! He shouts across the room, “Them Injuns scalped those Pilgrims. Don’t be trusting those damn teachers. What are they teaching kids these days? All this politically correct nonsense! Why…when I was a kid we played Cowboys and Indians. Now it’s Cowboys and Native Americans. What’s next?? Calling white bread Caucasian bread?? Bull crap if you ask me.” But nobody asked him.
- Grandma Mary- Grandma is the matriarch of the family and has helped prepare many Thanksgiving dinners. Although this year you suddenly realize that while she is sneaking off to the kitchen to help your mom with dinner she’s also sneaking some time with Captain Morgan behind the pumpkin spice.
- Creepy Uncle Jim– Uncle Jim keeps talking about the sorority sisters you had…many years ago. Something about the way he is licking the gravy off of his fingers makes you want to help Grandma Mary “do the dishes.”
- The Praising Brother– He is a good church going brother who loves to let everyone know he’s a believer just about as much as you love pie. Mmmmm pie. Each year he says grace and proceeds to pray for 15 minutes as he not so subtly puts down all of the sinners around the table. Especially your sister and her boyfriend which have just announced they’re moving in together while unmarried! *Gasp!!*
- The Brother’s Wife- A religious wife, a sweet wife, a meek and mild wife. She couldn’t hurt a fly and buzzes around the house helping and catering to the whims and needs of everyone in the family. She also wisely volunteers to help the kids at the Kids’ Table eat their turkstufftatoes and gravy. If you didn’t know better you’d think she’s been sharing some of Grandma’s “Pumpkin Spice.”
- The Vegan Cousin- She’s 26, a Buddhist yoga instructor, lives in the big city, and a liberal activist. She’s brought her own tofurkey and strongly encourages everyone in the family to now boycott McCormick spices because it’s not organic. She sits three seats away from Grandpa and before you know it each outburst from Grandpa results in an equally passionate response. “Those Native Americans were here first and we stole this land from them! Not only did we take all of it, but we gave them smallpox and death! Oh and now they all live on a small section out in the desert because we have a guilty conscious!! I’d scalp your ass too if you were raping and pillaging my people.”
- The Bragging Aunt- She continues to over brag about her kids. “Didn’t you know that my Tommy went overseas to Europe for missionary work? Oh, and my beautiful Sarah is studying pre-med in school! They are just wonderful children!” You struggle to stay silent because you know from Facebook that Tommy is in Europe going to Ibiza clubbing, getting drunk, and running naked on the beach while Sarah is taking a single biology class at the community college as she works on earning her degree in parties and boys.
- Cousin Aiden- He is 23 and keeps checking his cell phone. He’s quiet and has five plates of food as if he hasn’t eaten anything in years. He must have spent all of his money on that brand new iPhone6 Plus that has grown into his hand. You don’t know much more about him because he leaves without saying goodbye.
- Mom and Dad– They’re drunk. It’s the only way they will survive the next few hours. Looking at them only reminds you that someday…you.will.be.them. Drinking only to numb the pain of yet another family Thanksgiving.
Yeah, I think I want my brown paper bag costumes back.