It's that time of year again folks, the ghouls and goblins have knocked at your door and you gave them treats.
The trick is they will return on Thanksgiving to laze about your house watching football, get hammered, and consume copious quantities of foodstuffs in a cornucopia of consumption unequalled anywhere in the time space continuum. Yet this is my favorite holiday by far. I was surprised to read in some rightwing blogs that liberals were conducting a war on Thanksgiving.
This seemed at odds with reality. Of course it did get me thinking a bit about the experience. Enough to chronicle the event.
Tradition is the centerpiece of the holiday is it not? Of course we all want the exact same recipes and schedules that we knew as children. But it goes deeper. We want somber puritans to browbeat us with their bible belts and whatnot. Maybe some scarlet letter action, or an old fashioned witch burning as well. There of course must also be a political angle. (Natives might have had better immigration policies, Pilgrims were Republicans, Turkeys are religious symbols, etc.)
The war began when Uncle Ferd insisted the proper term was dressing while Aunt Percy demanded it was stuffing. It came down to fisticuffs and the whole family began taking sides.
Turnips, once considered traditional fare, were relegated to optional side dish.
And who puts nuts in the dressing or stuffing or whatever the hell it is? Nuts go in a dish. Stuffing is bread cubes, celery, and butter, maybe sausage or Chile Peppers if you want to get ethnic, but nuts? It's sacrilege. And everyone knows that, except your mother-in-law, who is the kind of person who serves mashed potatoes and potatoes Au gratin as side dishes, but since she doesn't even put Jack Daniel's in the sweet potatoes like any normal person, why even get into it? But before any festivities can begin some cousin will be asked what they are thankful for and they will use every available cliche up angering everyone else who will now appear to be assholes when their turn comes... but the whole thing ends mercifully when the homeless guy you invited in says he'll be thankful when the damned thing is over and cousin Jen says the rolls smell like stinky sneakers. Dad of course is thankful for something in some other room and feels a need to thank it personally.
Making a salad, on Thanksgiving is a mortal sin and anyone who does it is attacking the religious symbol of the Holiday which is the headless turkey who gave his life so that Sarah Palin could use him in the background of some pointless unintelligible ghastly interview. Now if your relatives makes a salad, obviously they have vacated their senses and must be restrained with bungee cords in the basement before anyone in the house inadvertently consumes a healthful green on the country's most hallowed day of gluttony. Homeland Security will be waterboarding anyone caught eating greens of any kind not cooked in some type of fat and cream. Later, when Uncle Gomer has finished his half dozen whiskey sours and is staring at his plate with an expression of outright dread, it will become clear that the creamed pearl onions are a communist plot, because evidently wild wolves raised him...wolves in the Soviet Union where, apparently, party doctrine demanded these obscene subterranean items be served and also dictated that Thanksgiving include corn, in canned niblet form. Niblets, for heaven's sake. So now your mother has to waste time explaining to Uncle Gomer they don't even have creamed onions in VLADIVOSTOK, THOSE POOR BASTARDS"!
Of course by now some relative who began slamming Bloody Marys at ten in the morning says "not everyone does things the way we do, remember? You know, like those heathens who eat at one in the afternoon instead of at four-thirty, so as not to miss any of the football?" And your mother announces that Thanksgiving is not about football, it is about giving thanks for not living in Russia and eating nibletted corn, and furthermore, she is certainly not going to get up at four in the goddamn morning to put the goddamn bird in the goddamn oven just so everyone can shovel food into their mouths in a big goddamn hurry and rush off to watch TV, but by now they already have.
Of course no Thanksgiving is complete without William S. Burroughs ...