Family tradition

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 26, 2005

Every year I enjoy reflecting on the various traditions my family and friends observe during Thanksgiving.

I try to make it home the night before Thanksgiving so I can catch up with a few of my friends who have also managed to make it home. My friends and I usually make our way to the local establishment and act confused over the large number of unfamiliar faces in the crowd. The amount of people we recognize decreases every year as most of our friends and former classmates have gotten married and no longer desire to spend their precious time back home in loud and overcrowded bars.

The night usually digresses into some strange ritual that involves my friends making fun of each other before setting their sights on the other patrons. Nothing is quite as entertaining or disturbing as watching my friends belittle each other as they try to talk to the one available female in the place.

Thanksgiving at my parent’s house usually takes place around two in the afternoon, but starts much earlier when my mom performs her annual pot banging symphony while I attempt to sleep. Once the guilt of sleeping late while everyone cooks becomes more than I can bear, I crawl out of bed and make way downstairs. I hang around the kitchen and pretend to help with the preparations, but peeking in the oven and rummaging through the refrigerator doesn’t really count.

Usually my sister and I discuss the latest gossip from our home town, but since my sister suckered some poor fool into proposing to her earlier this week and she went home with him for Thanksgiving, we just talked about her.

The lunch conversation inevitably turns political and my mom serves as the referee before things get out of hand.

My dad usually falls asleep in his recliner following lunch while pretending to watch football. Whether there are guests at our house is completely irrelevant.

This year I asked a friend of mine from Texas to describe her family’s Thanksgiving traditions. I was extremely disappointed to hear it did not involve a giant steer being roasted on a spit over a huge campfire along with some sort of armadillo appetizer.

Her family’s traditions sounded very similar to mine with the exception of one tradition, which apparently involves her and her sisters driving their dad into some form of masculinity crisis, which forces him outdoors to invent various contraptions to improve their family farm. I guess any man with three daughters must be permitted a certain amount of latitude when it comes to these types of things.

One of my neighbors usually heads down to his hunting cabin in Hyde County to chase Bambi and Smokey the Bear around for awhile and occasionally he actually bags one. One year I am going to go and come back with a wild turkey to roast, but it hasn’t happened yet.

I don’t participate in the shopping bonanza that takes place on the Friday following Thanksgiving, usually because I have to work, but mainly because of the crowds. The lack of parking and the crazed look in the eyes of the bargain hunters terrifies me. I like a bargain as much as the next person, but nothing is worth being run-down in a mall parking lot by an out-of-control shopping cart.

I love holidays.