"Cause I'm the Turkey, That's Why!"

Monday, November 29, 2010 | 2 Comment(s)

Thanksgiving is my family's biggest holiday of the year.  One of our yearly traditions includes going around the table and saying what we are thankful for.  We do a bit of an emotional autopsy on the year past.  The whole process includes moments of laughter, usually some tears, but always a feeling of connection.  This year i spent one of my first thanksgivings away from my family of origin (not including when i was living out of the country).  I went with mmf to her family's place in northern VT.  How north?  Well, we had a white thanksgiving--so pretty much all the way north.  Mmf's family was gracious enough to indulge my request to keep this public thanks-giving tradition.  And it was wonderful.  I was really touched that they agreed to it, but in addition, they all really took it seriously and were heartfelt.

For the holiday past,  I present you with a few of the things i am thankful for.  and a few things i am not thankful for.

1.  it is difficult "entering" a new family.  since the engagement, i think there has been a tangible feeling of the elastic surrounding mmf and my life together, tightening.  Since this is the first time i'm seen mmf's folks post-engagement, its the first time we've thrown around words like "mother-in-law" and "son."  For whatever reason (TV, media, observation of life), i really don't like the words "-in-law."   Whenever i hear the suffix "-in-law," i hear "-that-i-hate."  So that's a no go.  To get to the thanks part:

I am thankful for my expanding family.  It's a strange thing that in the past year, i have gained 3 sisters (mmf's sis and my bro's wife and my bro's wife's brother's wife--i'm still not gonna use "in-law" however) and a brother.  And, what i'm realizing, as life gets more and more  . . . ahem . . . real, is that i need family to expand to deal with the new challenges i face.  as I am a firm believer in the concept of independence as a farce, i am thankful for the new branches that are sprouting from my family tree.

2.  Staying on theme.  When joining a new family, it can be anxiety producing, cause all the normative stuff you've done your whole life is not necessarily the same normative stuff that mmf's family is used to.  Two things i am thankful for, that are part of mmf's narrative, but not my family's:  Apps & Cocktails. 

Every time i'm in VT for a holiday we have pre-dinner food.  Pre-dinner food rocks.  it's beneficial in that it keeps the non-cooks from picking at dinner, and also makes you feel classy--like you're at a fancy wedding or a benefit gala.  It doesn't matter if it's shrimp (hell's yah), pigs in a blanket (HELL'S YAH!) or cheese and crackers, apps are NOT just for the iPhone. 

Cocktails.  Turns out, cocktails make giving thanks much easier.  you can really get into a flow.  Cocktails (both pre-dinner and during) accentuate the gala atmosphere the apps created.  They also underline the point that you are relaxing.  No, we don't usually crack the scotch at 2pm for the football game, but today is a hoooooliday, so we make an exception.  We are refined.  we sip drinks.  we are fancy.  fancy free.

Things I am not thankful for.

1.  Two days ago (Nov 27), i ate sushi with mmf to Christmas music.  The whole time.  They just rocked thru the greatest carols mix.  Not fun.  It is the WRONG friggin MONTH!  I still have turkey in my fridge.  It made my dinner tangibly less enjoyable.  Mmf suggested that i just pretend it is Christmas day (she mixed up her Asian cuisine, but it was still super funny since she said it deadpan). 

2.  Recently, i've had some eye problems (again).  Long story short, to varying degree's my right eye can be normal to extremely red and irritated.  When it's really red, i have to go through the unbelievably unpleasant process of explaining my condition to random strangers who ask about it.  Which brings me to: I am not thankful for strangers who think its totally acceptable to ask people personal questions. 

The worst of these is a man who is a serial conversation joiner. a man who will find any opportunity to start and continue a conversation with, pretty much anyone at pretty much all times.  It's both creepy and annoying.  Recently he, having seen me around the coffee shop on occasion, bust out with "what's wrong with your eye, it's red."  In my mind i said, "No shit, MY eye is red.  Thanks for letting ME know.  I was totally oblivious to my own friggin eye.  What would i ever have done without you pointing it out."  My next thought was saying, "Yah, it gets that way when it senses a totally inappropriate question from strangers."  I didn't.  Mostly cause i love the shop so much that i don't want to increase my drama with any of its denizens (with exceptions of course). 

I will say, that i also encountered my favorite example of how TO ask someone about their eye infection.  While at another local bar/brunch place with some friends, a mutual friend/acquaintance joined us.  While i don't know the guy very directly, our circle of friends has great overlap, and he's always been extremely nice.  He asks, "Can i ask you a personal question." (by couching the question as personal, he's recognizing that you just don't shout questions of infection out without prompting. aka. Hey Mister, That herpes?)  I said yes.  He said, "Do you got the junk?" He was referring to conjunctivitis -- or pink eye.  It wasn't an unreasonable question.  Pink-eye is both super contagious and it looked like i had it.  He also asked it in the best way.  The way a kid who used to go to sleep-away camp and get pink-eye and lice checks regularly would ask it.  I told him that he was safe -- no junk here.  junk free since '93.

happy thanksgiving.


  1. I wish my family did apps and cocktails. We'd probably get along much better than we do.
    I laughed my way through this entire post.

  2. fam doesn't do apps and drinks? the hell u say! Have you all been living under a rock or do I just watch the Food Network too much?