The Thanksgiving week post was delayed by the day after hangover…
In spite of my words and actions and oftentimes my thoughts, I really do love my extended family and friends and mostly enjoy having them over to the house, in part because I like to cook for them while I drink lots of beer.
During a normal party or dinner, I can just make whatever I want and nobody cares. If I’m in the mood for steak, then that’s what we’re having. If I feel like making chili, then it’s a done deal. Thanksgiving, on the other hand, is a different beast altogether. People expect there to be certain things, cooked a certain way and everyone’s a critic. One year we made garlic mashed potatoes instead of regular mashed potatoes and you’d have thought we added dog shit and toenails to the potatoes the way my mother carried on. She’s resistant to change, and apparently what goes into the mashed potatoes is not exempt from that no change policy!
Much of my family lives in the City of St. Louis itself, while my little crew lives in a suburb about 30 miles outside of downtown STL. Although I commute it every work day, as do many, many others, there is much griping amongst my family members about having to drive so far for Thanksgiving. I assume the griping about the distance travelled is simply good-natured ribbing though as I don’t recall anybody else jumping up and volunteering to host Thanksgiving at their place.
There’s a good reason that nobody else volunteers. I remember as a kid, my great Aunt Marilyn used to host it. We kids used to run around her house (I recall it being much colder on Thanksgiving back then so we stayed inside a lot) and touch all her crap. Then my parents got stuck with the day, probably at my mom’s insistence because she’s the oldest of her 7 siblings and very demanding that some sort of holiday tradition be maintained (again, resisting change).
For whatever reason, the day has become ours to host. Admittedly, I’m to blame as I volunteered to do it last year for selfish reasons. It was the first Thanksgiving with three (count ’em, fuckin’ 3!) kids, so it was easier to just stay home rather than pack them up and drag them wherever. There were other reasons too, but that’s for another day.
I really don’t mind doing it, but I hadn’t planned on this becoming a tradition because, quite frankly, it’s a pain in the ass. But, like I said, it was a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving and nobody had said anything about it. Had I not “volunteered”, I’m quite sure that two days before Thanksgiving somebody *TT* would have said “uh, so you’re hosting Thanksgiving in two days, right?” That’s not nearly enough time to prep the dinner or my brain to deal with the day.
For reasons I haven’t quite figured out, I enjoy watching the Foodnetwork. I don’t feel as though that makes me queer any more than the fact that I like Bud Light Lime. In fact, most of the people cooking and hosting shows on that channel seem to be men. Anyway, the Thanksgiving episodes recently were especially fun to watch because they’re completely fucked up and devoid of reality.
As an example, there is a woman who calls herself the Pioneer Woman. She lives on what I assume is a 100,000 acre ranch property with at least two gigantic houses each having no less than two ovens that looked like they’ve never been used before and there was enough refrigerator space to hold thirty Thanksgiving meals in their entirety. She cooked her meal alone in her kitchen and had plenty of space to do everything and then all of her family arrived at the same time, just as the meal was ready to eat, each with a dish in tow and a good time was had by all!
Well, that’s not how we roll!
To start with, we can count on my parents and my wife’s parents to show up for sure. After that, there could be anywhere from a couple more to ninety more people than that showing up for dinner. Nobody calls to say “hey, asshole, thanks for hosting Thanksgiving, we’ll be there to eat or we’ll be there later after you’ve already eaten, but we’ll expect to eat again on your leftovers…” Nice. Strike that, I did have one cousin who told me they wouldn’t be there for dinner but might come by later. My mom has 7 brothers and sisters and there are many cousins (19+ at last count) so it’d be nice to ballpark who’s coming or not.
We just sort of guess how much food we need to make and wing it. We got lucky this year because the turkey I smoked came out ok. Had it failed (which was entirely possible) we’d have been hurting for poultry.
Dinner is so anti-climatic. It reminds me of our wedding day. All the money and worry and planning and money and stress and money and then, POOF! It’s over and you’re left wondering what the heck just happened?!! The fun starts after dinner anyway.
By the time dinner is over, I’m already about 23 beers into the holiday (I know, I paced myself this year). There was some Apples to Apples played (poorly I might add since “Chunky” and Demi Moore is a terrible match) and somebody brought a bottle of eggnog with bourbon in it. Did you know they sell that? Should it have been refrigerated? It was fairly awful and made even more awful by adding some cheap whiskey to each shot and then just doing shots of the cheap whiskey once the egg nog crap was gone. Just like the Pilgrims!
I’m not sure who brought the egg nog, but I know my parents brought several bottles of liquor, some of which I think I opened at their house 20 years ago as a teenager. I guess liquor doesn’t go bad, but the hurt the next day was just nasty and made worse by the fact that we didn’t have any Tylenol, Aleve, Anacin…nothing!!! Not even any Gatorade, so I was left to man up and let the pain run its course while the children, (count ’em again, fuckin’ 3!) ran around the house oblivious to what it’s like to have drank (drunk?) more rancid liquor and beer than any man should at one gathering that isn’t hosted in a frat house.
All in all, it was a good time.
In the spirit of the holidays, I’ve deleted the individual grievances with particular persons that I had all typed up (and was really the only reason to read this post) because that’s better left for in-person Christmas Day fun, which will NOT be at my house!!!