LC Van Savage
Comfort, Joy and Din
They all seemed to be here just a couple of weeks ago celebrating Thanksgiving, weren’t they? I think I remember. A huge crowd it was, emptying the larders, gobbing the doorknobs with PB&Js, smashing walls and other things, and shrieking at each other in impossibly high decibels, yelling and laughing and slowly destroying my home. There was food involved in that visit, a big gamy bird, succotash, gravy, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, pies and breads and other things on our loaded table, and astonishingly that crowd managed to polish off most of it. The table was left that Thursday with a huge pile of food scraps, bones, and empty, crusty dishes.
I exhaled really loudly when all of these dear folks, beloved relatives drove down the driveway and off into the day and back into their lives. The energy level of our home oozed away and we were once again at peace and in solitude, in the middle of a home that looked as if it had been stirred hard by a huge spoon.
And in a blink, they’re back! Every single one of them and maybe a few extra. Christmas. That’s what brought them back home. Who decided to posit these two major holidays right on top of each other? Bad planning, if you ask me.
But here we go again. In my immediate family, people apparently enjoy conceiving children in the spring, which means they give birth during the Christmas season. Mongo comes first in December, Paul born Christmas day, Erick on December 28th, Mark’s daughter Darby on December 31st and moi, Jan. 1, #sixtygulpnine. Wall to wall birthday parties.
So here we all are. Everywhere! And loud? The noise has just about totally shattered my stapes, and my eyeballs have moved forward a bit.
The house looks borderline razed. We could open a toy store tomorrow if consumers were interested in purchasing smashed, squashed, heaved-in-a-rage-of-being-unable-to-assemble, shattered stuff. Doctor’s kits, kabillions of Legos, wild and domestic plastic animals, weird electronic components, DVDs, CDs, VHSs, scooters, stuffed animals with an “Oh, please help me!” look, Barbie components, candy, ornaments, remnants of gift certificates, boots---well, the left ones at least, skateboards, skates, part of a very pretty party dress, a caboose.
Food? It’s everywhere. Healthy? Not exactly. But it’s plentiful. Laced with lots and lots of sugar. It’s also largely ground into the carpet. But there are a couple of dogs in the mix here, and they take care of it. Who needs a professional cleaner? (We do.)
And another groaning board, this time with different foods, more wines, candles, people, people people. Christmas dinner. One small boy throws a piece of date bread at his sister who retaliates, screaming, by flicking a well-filled spoon of mashed potatoes and gravy into his hair, the situation not helped by my laughing so hysterically I quite nearly black out.
Tradition demands we all go ‘round the table and again, as this mob did at Thanksgiving, say that for which we’re thankful. Some of the group love this habit. Others simply hate it. A few are neutral and just say anything to get off the pin.
“I am thankful for my kids,” says one, which is a pretty standard get-off-the-hotseat response. The laughter begins, raucous and loud, the answers more nuts at they go ‘round the table. “I’m thankful I didn’t have to cook this stuff.” “I’d be more thankful if we didn’t have to do this stupid thankful thing every year.” “I’m thankful you said that.” “We’re thankful we’re moving closer to Mongo and Bucky next summer so we can eat well and see Maine.” “We are truly thankful our kids have such wonderful grandparents.” “Yeah. What she said.”
And then it came perilously close to my turn. I now had to tell this unruly, hungry family mob what makes me feel thankful, and so I told them. I said, “this.”
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