To anyone reading this from the “United” States, happy Thanksgiving, or “Turkey Day”. To anyone reading this outside the “United” States, happy Thursday! Today, I want to speak to this holiday and give a sneak peek at my family’s history of Thanksgivings.
“Burrrrp!” My brother and roommate, Jesse, belches upstairs to let me know he’s still alive. He’s actually working today, just like it were any other Monday-Friday (and sometimes Saturday). And me? I am in my sweats, on my couch, smoking a bowl, and writing a blog just like it were any other Monday-Sunday. This is my Happy Place.
I don’t have to worry about getting dressed up and going over to some family member’s house to eat dinner. Or, as was last year, cleaning up my place so my mom would have fewer things to nitpick when she came over for dinner. Instead, I’m in my happy place and looking forward to an air-fried ham with Jesse later for dinner. This is such a non-traditional Thanksgiving, right down to the animal we’re eating for dinner. Rawr. (sorry vegetarians!)
I say non-traditional because I grew up in a very traditional home with very traditional holidays. Every year, my mom and dad would pull out the fancy clothes for us to put on and we’d pile into the car and head over the river (and through the woods?) to my grandmother’s house. There, we’d link up with all our aunts, uncles, and cousins, from my mother’s side of the family. It never occurred to me until later in life that my dad’s side of the family didn’t do much for Thanksgiving.
Anyway, at my grandmother’s house there’d be all sorts of informal traditions. We’d sit around and talk to our cousins while we waited for food to cook. We’d all pile into the dining room. We’d say grace. And then we’d eat. It’s a small ritual but a ritual nonetheless.
As I got older, the Thanksgiving traditions shifted. My grandmother passed away. 2008ish and the family stopped getting together every year. New traditions were made. Those of yelling at your children to get out of the kitchen. Those of hangry adults wondering how early is too early to start drinking. The stress of forced conversation around the dinner table.
Even my thanksgivings with my ex-fiance and her two children, whom I miss terribly, carried on these new, arguably toxic, traditions. So, on the one hand, the past was toxic and destructive. But the present (and future?) are sitting here watching a two and a half hour long Beatles documentary. Waiting to eat until it’s time to cook this ham we got. I’m irrationally excited to have some ham on Thanksgiving. It may have been served as a side when I was growing up and I’ve enjoyed it even more than turkey. Mmm, just thinking about that ham got me like:
Excited Stewie (Family Guy)
Anyway, a few other things I’m looking forward to happening: I’m going to pitch Jesse on my vampire novel I’ve been working on. I’m hoping he can help me get over a hurdle I’ve encountered in the process. After that, we’ll probably watch a movie or TV show. Either one sounds fun. After that, it’ll be back to business as usual on Friday. Family zoom call and all that.
Next year, I think it’d be pretty awesome if we were hosting Turkey Day at our new house, but who knows. Hey, a guy can dream, can’t he? Dreams are what keep us moving forward. Here’s to traditions old and new, positive and toxic, and to non-traditions – the art of creating a new tradition every year. And striving to be more hopeful than the year before. Cheers!