My family likes a traditional Thanksgiving meal. None of that tofurky or talk about genocide that would force us to uncomfortably deal with the damning effects of our own whiteness. (Um…gulp.) Family is important, and so are napkins in an autumnal color scheme. I look forward to the holiday every year, not because it means a short vacation from school or because I can have four slices of pie instead of my usual two, but because it’s an excellent opportunity to observe my family’s quirks. What follows is a deep investigation into the minds and hearts of my boring kin. But first, some wisdom I’ve picked up over my twenty-one years.
From the mouths of babes:
“Normally, Thanksgiving is a holiday where a bunch of smelly old relatives that you never see come over, eat turkey and leave.” —some boy I babysat one time, 9
From the mouth of a sage:
“When I was your age, I walked four miles in the snow to pick up a pheasant! The pheasant wasn’t dead yet, but it was by the time I got home.” —a man who is related to me, 90
Appetizers: Family Jokes
Q.What do you call a bear with no teeth?
Q.What’s the difference between God and a surgeon?
A.God knows he’s no lawyer! Wait, God knows he’s no… did I say doctor?
Q.What did the cannibal say after eating the clown?
A.This tastes funny.
Q.Why wasn’t the pony allowed to sing at the concert?
A. He was a little hoarse.
Turkey: Things Grandpa Said
“I don’t like butternut squawk ravioli!!”
“I don’t like the fruit that Trader Joe has.”
“Is this a milk ball?”
“These two tweeny-boppers are going to figure out my telephone!”
“I don’t like that Edward Norton.”
Salad: Brooches Around Table, Best to Worst
1.Mother’s turkey brooch
2.Mother’s adjacent double-ear-of-corn brooch
3.Grandma’s dragonfly-with-red-eyes brooch
4.My aunt’s children-holding-hands brooch
5.My other aunt’s “F-A-M-I-L-Y” brooch
6.My cousin’s rhinestone alien brooch
Green Beans: Things the Dog Ate Under Table
—Gravy from my aunt’s spoon
—A mushroom that dropped on the floor
—A used Chobani cup
Mashed Potatoes: Being Thankful
Mother: “Everyone’s here, healthy and happy.”
Father: “Good friends and good wine.”
Grandma: “You all and this wonderful meal.”
Aunt: *happy the snow stopped falling*
Other Aunt: “After-dinner nap.”
Uncle: *half-hearted thanks for the company*
Me: *Poorly sung chorus of “Food, Glorious Food” from the 1968 musical, “Oliver!”*
*Blank stares from my grandfather and nine-year-old cousin*
Sweet Potatoes: My Post-Grad Plans
—Go with the flow
—Clean and sober
—Really on top of LinkedIn
Stuffing: iPhone Pictures My Uncle Showed Me
—The flowers in his backyard
—The lawn chairs in his backyard
—His backyard fence
—The hole the neighbor’s dog dug under the fence in his backyard.
Dessert: Helpful Suggestions
—Get a haircut.
—Travel after graduation.
—Start a Roth IRA. No, it’s not too early.
—Don’t cook the turkey upside down.
—Find yourself someone nice.
—Watch “Brideshead Revisited.”