Thanksgiving, the “official” kickoff to the holiday season (tell that to my holiday iPod playlist, cynics), is just around the corner, and this year will be a bit of a departure from the cycle that’s been going on for the last fifteen years or so. Usually, my brother and I (and now GP, who realizes the foolishness of attempting to fly cross-country for a holiday like Thanksgiving) alternate years between the two of my parents, spending one year here in San Jose with my mom and stepdad (and other extended family members and friends), and the other in the Central Valley with my dad (and aunts, uncles, cousins, and assorted others). This happens to be a Central Valley year (trust me, I know the rhythm at this point), and I had assumed that it would be occurring as usual, with a schlep over the river and through the woods to my aunt’s house, where we would be met with more food than even a medium-sized army. However…
I get a call last weekend from my dad. “We’re having Thanksgiving at your place this year.”
“I’m sorry. What?”
“Yeah. Uncle ___ said there’s no room for us at their place.”
“Look, I’ll give you a call later. We need to talk more about this.”
Upon further discussion, it seems that Thanksgiving celebrations have been moved from the aunt’s house to an uncle’s house (my dad is one of four, there are three of them left, and he is no kind of host). There will be various and sundry guests at this uncle’s Thanksgiving dinner, but it seems that when it comes to the four of us (me, GP, dad, and my brother)…there is just no room at the table. I am, to say the least, a little flabbergasted. I haven’t seen these family members since our wedding– more than a year ago– and I suspect that there may be some mitigating circumstances (though I can’t fathom what they might be), but we’re soldiering on. We’ll drive out to my dad’s, I will prepare the meal, and there is a good chance that we will ring in the holiday season with a viewing of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.
Who knew Thanksgiving could be so ridiculous? Can we not just agree to get together, gorge ourselves, and nap peacefully with our obese beagles (yes, there will be pictures of my dad’s precious dog) at our feet?