Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Thanksgiving Traditions

In less than a month we will
be celebrating Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is that special time of year
for relaxing, eating in abundance, and
gathering with family.

It's a day of fabulous smells-
of pumpkin and pine
and of plump pecans oozing from a baking pie.

It's full of eggnog and ambrosia salads
and dinner rolls as big as your fist,
lathered in real butter
and as soft as Charmin.

Traditions are created and kept
around Thanksgiving tables.
Some people always have the oyster stuffing,
others serve festive cranberry dishes,
and a special pie is always part of
the past holiday memories.

Some people trim their tree
after their Thanksgiving meal.
Others bake cookies together.

It got me to thinking about
what kind of traditions that
I have instilled in my family...

I think what my family remembers
most about our Thanksgivings together
is the vision of me in the kitchen at 4 a.m.
on Thanksgiving morning.

There I am in my ripped gown,
my hair frazzled in unattractive swoops,
my unshaven legs peeping out
above my mismatched fuzzy slippers-
my breath like a halitosis tornado
and my unbound breasts swaying
like water balloons every time
I bend over.

There is the yearly vision of me
with the hairdryer in one hand-
the other hand prying open
every possible turkey orifice
in an attempt to thaw out the ice chips
that failed to melt overnight in the giant bird.

Then my kids see the eight boxes
of Betty Crocker Stove Top Stuffing
miraculously prepared-
frozen corn and green beans
microwaved to perfection-
and instant potatoes stirred lovingly
and served in my best Tupperware dish.

The tradition continues at the table
where I make sure everyone
at least gets a fork
and cans of Coke are placed
in the center of the table for easy access.
And I go all out and splurge on Chinet-
and not those thin dollar store plates.

They'll probably always remember where I
come to the table
with wet hair right from the shower,
a few burnt fingers,
and a "Don't you dare say anything!" attitude.

Trim a tree after dinner?
Are you crazy?!!
Who in their right mind would drag
out lights and bubs
and ornaments and tinsel
when there is a sink of dishes,
a crap load of garbage,
and a dinosaur carcass in the kitchen?

Our traditional family Thanksgiving
includes doing the dishes,
a load or two of laundry,
taking out the trash,
giving the dog the Heimlich maneuver
because he's grabbed a wishbone,
cleaning up spilled gravy
and tossing the burnt
brown and serve rolls-

Every so often, I think about changing
our special holiday traditions-
adding something
to the precious memories that I have
burned into the brains and hearts
of my children-
but, then again, I think-
"Why start now?"

Whenever I consider Thanksgiving,
I think of it as that quiet time...
a time of jingle bells
and downy throws-
of old movies
and bowls of fragrant oranges-
of festive hearts and reminiscing-
of mincemeat pie and red wine
and mittens.

But, then suddenly, the real vision
pops into my head.

Thanksgiving is the time
just before all Hell breaks lose
and Christmas creeps up on us
like the Hulk!!!!

And those Christmas traditions, my friend,
I'll share with you
another day.