Vail Valley Voices: Thanksgiving can get … messy
Ryan Summerlin November 27, 2012
So, the peaceful Wampanoag Indians sat down with barbarous pilgrims some 391 years ago and established what is known as a day of thanks.
There were no turkeys or pies or desserts, but lots of corn that the red man grew for the pale intruders and some deer meat the white guys slaughtered.
It wasn’t until 1863, some 242 years later, that good ol’ Abe Lincoln officially made it an American Holiday.
By then, the Indians weren’t invited to the table anymore. In fact, the North and the South, the whites and the blacks, the Irish and the Italians … nobody was getting along, let alone eating together.
Let’s fast forward 149 years and see who didn’t come to dinner this year.
My son went to his mom’s with his new wife and sat with their mom’s new husband. Of course, her new husband’s kids were there, too. I don’t know when those kids will see their mom, but that’s nobody’s business until it’s brought up around the dinner table.
My son and his wife stretched the day out to make time for her mom and her new husband. Her real dad will have to wait, as he is in California with his new wife, who had dinner with her kids and the neighbors, who have no kids.
My daughter saw her mother briefly at the same dinner, but had already committed to break bread with friends that do have original parents but they don’t live here.
She decided to have those friends and some of their friends, who are strangers, to her house for dinner since their parents aren’t here for them. (That’s almost religious, don’t you think?)
My other daughter drove down from Paonia with her boyfriend to say hello to all the super-extended family after she had early dinner with his parents who are still together.
Her mom, the one that is now remarried (and used to be married to me) was really upset about that because all the kids weren’t at the new house at the same time. An argument has been abbreviated since there is a tentative agreement for next year to reverse the proceedings.
I have other friends who are still married to each other but were not with their kids because they don’t like each other.
This makes some parents sad, but I say just wait it out, the hate thing doesn’t last. Before you know it, they won’t come to dinner because they have other commitments with new in-laws and new friends.”
Some friends are golden because their parents are dead and they eat wherever they want.
A wise man once told me about Thanksgiving: “If you don’t whine, friends, family and kids will forget that you once were part of the equation. No one will pay any attention to you. It’s like you never contributed. They will forget you. Suddenly, you will cry alone, make a 22 pound turkey, eat it and consider suicide. The next day, you wake up alive and get the calls from everyone asking if you had a good holiday.” Go figure.
Well this year was different, at least for me. I have been invited for years to visit with good old friends and their family. Well, careful what you wish for, I told them. “I’m coming and I’m bringing someone that is arguing with her kids and her mother about where to have dinner.”
Ah, America’s innocence and ignorance. We have managed to confuse, translate, change, redirect and just plain screw up the original thought. Short and sweet has turned to extended and cumbersome.
Thursday has come and gone. It’s Saturday as I write, and I’m making a turkey because my daughter and her boyfriend are driving through and they want dinner.
My new friend won’t be here because she’s making up with her kids and now feels obligated to see her mother.
My son and his wife will be here on Sunday for leftovers. My other daughter doesn’t feel well but wants a suitcase full of food delivered because she gave all her stuff away.
And it continues: my third cousin will be here Tuesday; I have an aunt just released from a correctional institution and she will be here Wednesday; DNA tests prove otherwise, but my illegitimate child and his mother are coming on Thursday; and on Friday …; and then it’s going to be Christmas.
We have taken corn and venison and created a 15-page menu to accommodate it. Ya gotta believe that those Wampanoag Indians are really disturbed by all this. That or they’re rolling over with laughter in their graves about how stupid we have become in the last 400 years.
It’s only dinner.
Greg Ziccardi can be reached at GZVAIL@Yahoo.com