Maybe I just wanted something a little different this year. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday; a fete with no strings attached. You're not expected to buy the newest singing greeting card, or the hot gift of the year — the iPad is the Tickle Me Elmo of 2010, in case you're wondering what to get me. No flowers, chocolate bunnies or costumes. Simply gather loved ones, cook a huge meal, give thanks for your blessings and eat until your aorta spasms.
Having said that, can I be honest? It's gotten a little boring. The same thing year after year. Same people. Same place. Same food. Same stories.
We show up at Grandma's house mid-afternoon. Things 1 and 2 retire straight to the den where they watch TV until they go pale and limp.
The odd coupling of potato chips and guacamole are the appetizer. No stinky cheese plate or olive tapenade. Nothing en croute. No French onion dip. Nope. Potato chips and guacamole. Why? I have no idea. But it doesn't matter. It's decimated five minutes after the nephews arrive. At 18 and 21, they are more mobile gullets than young men.
I'm asked to open a bottle of wine, a task I perform gladly. Drinks poured, we settle into the kitchen. Though the living room has couches, a roaring fire and big-screen TV, we sit on folding chairs in the crowded, smoky kitchen.
Invariably, one of the mobile gullets has the audacity to whip me with a dish-towel. This affront, as all know, beckons the wrath of God upon the whipper. I respect his challenge though; a young cub striving to raise his stature in the clan. But in my hands, the dish-towel is a registered weapon in 18 states and three Canadian provinces. He goes home covered in welts the size and color of baby leatherback turtles.