Thanksgiving 2018.

It’s Thanksgiving Day in the United States so I’m reposting this from last year with some changes. It could become a tradition.

It has been celebrated as a federal holiday every year since 1863, when, during the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens,” to be celebrated on the last Thursday in November.

Wikipedia

November 25th, 1864

It was even worse than last year. I know every time my family gets together we fall into certain patterns, but that never makes it easier. This time it was even worse because just getting to my parents’ house was such a pain. I thought I’d carriagepool with my younger brother and his wife, but they went up early so that fell through. Then I thought I’d beat the traffic by setting out at dawn, which was such a great idea everybody else in Richmond had it at the same time and the horses were nose to tail, stop and trot, for miles. Finally I got there a little after ten in the morning and my older sister came out already holding a glass of blackberry wine and when she hugged me I could tell it wasn’t her first one. She asked me how things were going and then didn’t wait for an answer and ran back into the house to tell everyone I was there.

I should have known I’d be walking into an argument in the foyer, the way my family is. It’s just what it was about that threw me. My kid brother had this crazy idea for a new way to cook a turkey, leaving the feathers still on and roasting it in the coals of a fire. Well, it sounded pretty stupid to me, and I wasn’t surprised to learn that the neighbors tried the same thing last year and burned down their stable. But I didn’t want to side with my father either. So I said it had been a long trip and I needed to visit the outhouse and slipped out. Well, there was a line at the outhouse: two of my nieces, three cousins, all four of my brothers, and my sister was already in there getting rid of some of that blackberry wine. So I went back inside to see what was going on.

In the parlor my mother was putting together some kind of monstrosity with dead leaves and dried berries that she said she was going to put in the middle of the table.

“Where’s the food going to go?” I asked.

“Well, we’ll move it before we eat.”

I was going to ask why she’d bother to put it in the middle of the table if she was just going to move it again but decided against having that discussion, so instead I sat down and leafed through a broadsheet that was handy.

“The other men are organizing a game,” she said. “It’s some new sport called foot-ball. You should go and join them.”

Well, she knows I’ve never been athletic, but when I protested she got put out with me and said, “It’s your Uncle Wilkes’s idea. You know you’ve always been his favorite. You really should go and do it just to please him.”

FINE.

Well, when I came back in my sister just cackled and toasted me with another glass of blackberry wine. All my mother could say was “Don’t get any blood on the carpet,” and my older brother kept telling me to stop being a sissy and just put some salve on it. Then Aunt Gerda said pinch the back of my neck and tilt my head forward and Uncle Wilkes said no, put pressure between the eyes and lean back, and then my cousins got into it so there had to be a family brawl about that. A day later and I’m still bleeding. So much for the salve. Then Uncle Aloysius had to start in Daniel about supporting the Whigs and Elizabeth about Suffragettes, just trying to start an argument. Fortunately they didn’t rise to the bait.

Then I tried to head off another argument about who’d have to chaperone the kids’ table by volunteering, but my father cut that off.

“No, no, I want John seated here on my left. After I sent him to that fancy and very expensive school so he could waste his time studying the dramatic arts and oratory he should be well-equipped to deliver the traditional Booth family prayer of thanks.”

Traditional since last year, he means. Then my kid brother kicked me in the shins which I know was his way of saying “Don’t start anything”. I kicked him twice as hard in the shins which was my way of saying, “I wasn’t going to,” and then kicked him again to say, “Hurts, don’t it?”

All this might have been a little more bearable if my sister had let me have some of the blackberry wine.

I swear I’m going to get that Lincoln for making us do this.

14 Comments

  1. Margot

    Just as fun as last year! Hope your 2018 holiday is better.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Oh, my 2018 holiday was just fine. I can honestly say it didn’t make me want to kill anyone and I hope the same goes for you.

      Reply
  2. Kristine @MumRevised

    Still funny after all these decades…
    Happy Thanksgiving. Wear a helmet.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Some classics never go out of style. And I always take care when traveling.

      Reply
  3. mydangblog

    I love it! Happy thanksgiving! By the way, I don’t know if you noticed, but I unfollowed and then refollowed you, because it was the only way to get you onto my blogroll. Now you’re right at the top:-)

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I hope you had a happy Thanksgiving too–more than a month earlier. And I noticed that you suddenly followed me and thought, that’s weird, was she not following me before? I missed the unfollow. I’m not very technically savvy. Anyway I appreciate even being on the blogroll.

      Reply
  4. BarbaraM

    Couldn’t you get Dr. Samuel Mudd to make a house call? Have a happy Holiday everyone!

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Heck, why not Harry Mudd?

      Reply
  5. Ann Koplow

    You killed with this one, Chris. I give thanks for you.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Thank you for everything you do and for this killer comment.

      Reply
  6. jay

    stop and trot!
    this is an excellent tradition.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      It’s one I think I’ll make an annual event. And it spares me having to come up with something else at a busy time of year.

      Reply
  7. Ortensia

    Family……you can’t live with them and you can live without them🤷🏻‍♀️

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Yes! Experience has also taught me that the saying “You can pick your friends but not your family” is misleading. If they’re not your friends they don’t deserve to be your family.

      Reply

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