Thanksgiving with the Relatives



That time of year is fast approaching when the whole family sits down to a nice, friendly meal to catch up on each other’s lives, reaffirm our strong family bonds and to give thanks for everything we have. That’s not how it goes down at my place but it’s a nice thought isn’t it?

Getting It Together
Most families are so far-flung these days that getting everyone together is a Herculean task. With aunts on one coast, uncles on the other, and nieces and nephews everywhere in between, the chances of everyone sitting down together are slim. Add in the fact that there is always someone who is either mad at me or vice versa and that trims the list considerably. If you have a family that wishes everyone would come over—even that brother-in-law—then you must be living in a TV sitcom and I would even bet we don’t share the same last name.

What to Eat
It used to be simple: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and even cranberry sauce. Which reminds me; does anyone actually eat cranberry sauce any other time of the year? I didn’t think so. Now we have one aunt who requires all gluten-free food, in-laws who are suddenly vegetarians, and of course teenagers who hate everything.

It’s a Chore
The work that is required to present these feasts is amazing. There are hours and hours of preparation for a meal that lasts maybe 30 minutes max. I watched my poor Mother work her fingers to the bone to prepare this massive feast and swore I would never watch my wife do the same. That’s why we men now go downstairs to my man-cave to watch football.

Can I Help?
You may be thinking about now that I am a pig but there was a time when I did help: one time that is. The Wife asked me to help with the mashed potatoes and little did I realize that eye-protection was needed. I grabbed the hand-held mixer, admired how the two little mixers spun together so fast and then deftly dropped the spinning machine into the bowl of spuds. Well, after a half hour or so of cleaning up the potato debris that had lodged in every nook and cranny of the walls and ceiling, I was dismissed to the man-cave, never to be asked for help again.

I Have to Sit Next to Who?
Seating is so important at these gatherings. I don’t mean to be the one who starts complaining first but that’s what the family has come to expect so here goes. I have made no secret I don’t care for my daughter’s current boyfriend; I actually haven’t cared for any of them. I don’t want to mention here where I’d rather he sit but it certainly is not next to me. Everyone else is fine except the one brother-in law and even the vegetarians are okay. Of course they did take offense last year when I said “Vegetarian is an old Indian word for ‘Lousy hunter’” but as long as they can handle my meat-eating ways, I can handle the stench of their squash casserole.

The Dreaded Kids Table
Most of us don’t have a big enough dining table to sit everyone. I know my folks never did and I sat at the dreaded kids table well into my thirties. I had actually made it to the big-boy seat after turning 21 but I tell you, you break one Waterford crystal glass and back to the card table in the kitchen you go. Well, now it’s my dining room, I inherited what’s left of the crystal, and guess whose boyfriend is eating in the kitchen this year.

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