Thursday, November 19, 2009

Giving Thanks

Yes, I've probably used this before. One day I was frightfully bored, so I nabbed this old Rockwell image of the perfect Thanksgiving off of the net and started adding speech bubbles. There are actually a few versions of it; one specific to my family complete with accents and passive (and not so passive) aggression. However, I cannot find those, and so I popped this one in for good measure.

Thanksgiving is such a strange thing. It often feels like an obligation (especially when it comes to my parental units)... a guilt-fest, replete with tryptophan and long-held resentments. At the same time, it's a meal I LOVE to cook. Even if it was to cook it for people who took it for granted and didn't appreciate it. When we moved back to the US, until I moved into my first apartment, I was responsible for the whole meal every year. Of course this means I generally cooked for four people only; my mother and father rarely wanted guests, and with a developmentally disabled brother who likes to occasionally fling food or discus his plate when he's pissed, well, it just doesn't make for the best guest-experience. My sisters had always managed to escape the T-day thing because they'd moved away and forged their own lives... but as long as I lived in the house or nearby, it was my obligation to be there and to cook it.

Once, early in my twenties, I got so mad at my persnickety parents, I chucked the turkey off the deck into the snow and locked myself in my room. LOL. When I bought my first house, my mother had a furious rage because I wanted to have a TDay dinner there. When I mean furious rage, I mean screaming-jeemie, psychopathic rage. Needless to say I ended up hosting a separate Tday on the following Saturday in order to appease Satan--after going over to the parent's house to cook for my mom, dad and brother. Tday cooked twice in a week. Thankfully I moved to Oregon and have the excuse of distance.. but leaving behind my family craziness also means I left behind my only opportunity to cook Thanksgiving dinner.

Now, I never cook Tday dinner at all. It's generally accepted that we are to eat at inlaws' homes. We rank too low on the totem pole to earn the right to host. To strike out on our own and host our own dinner would raise up such a firestorm of guilt and recrimination, it's just not worth it. Now, Tday is exhausting from all the obligatory stops, and often emotionally draining from all the drama and gossip that's built up during the year. It's heartburn and feeling awkward and out of place. It's listening to elderly family members describe their latest pap-smear ::shudder:: It's being deprived of having the delicious aromas fill our home, and a fridge-full of leftovers to munch on the next day. Last year, my sister was staying with me, so I wasn't alone when Hubster was stuck out in the field. I control-freaked and cooked the whole meal just the way I like, with fresh EVERYTHING, nothing from a box or a can or a jar... No plastic bags over birds or complaints about the creative things I put in the stuffing. OMG it was so fun. Such selfish indulgence! The sandwiches... Oooh god. This year, Dan is allowed to come home. Thank heavens. So it's Tday at the inlaws' house. No leftovers, and we'll know it's time to go when the pinochle cards come out.

Happy Thanksgiving if I don't post again before that. With the approaching holiday and Ball, I might be a bit preoccupied.

Oh, and on the Horse front: Taglicious has gotten a nasty case of 'Scratches' and is lamed up for a bit. I've commanded for him to remain indoors and out of mud to keep his sores dry and bacteria-free. Poor baby! Saturday I have to further chip away at his dignity and shave his legs. :( Poor boy.


Ms. Fiddlesticks said...

It is so nice to know that other people have some crazy relatives. What is about making your family feel guilty. I do not understand it. I am at a place where 2 children are grown trying to have their own traditions but those other family members they have married into are causing havoc for them. I say have T-dinner for the kids the weekend before. Go to parents is you have to or just tuff up and say it is at my house this year, period, end of discussion. I know those are fighting words. When it is all said and done it is all about parents still controlling you no matter what your age. Girl just cook your favorite dishes any day you like. Happy T-day.

elfkin said...

somehow you make the hellacious, hilarious. Every time, I'm laughing and crying over your family horror stories. Have you seen the movie "Pieces of April"? It's a Thanksgiving must.

AlohaAroha said...

Oh sweetie, I'm so sorry :-(

I love thanksgiving - it was always fun and normal and was just about friends and family and good food.

It's a bit sad now here in NZ, but the in-laws do a really good job of making it as special as possible.

And I have to have everything fresh from scratch. I feel bad if I buy fancy bakery fresh bread instead of baking my own for stuffing.


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