So, as I mentioned, Vicky and I headed up north for Thanksgiving this year. We wouldn’t have but for the fact that my brother, Dwight, was getting married in Arlington on Saturday. Since we were driving to save cash (plane tickets were nearly $600 a pop!), the trip took on a weeklong aspect.
But the driving I’ll save for another entry.
We were, originally, going to congregate as a family (descend as a horde) on some unsuspecting restaurant. But Vicky had a better idea – we’d save the restaurant and torture some unsuspecting friend.
As you can probably guess, Jenn was that friend.
I’d never met Jenn before, though we’ve come to know each other a bit through blogging (he said, actually using that word as a verb). I liked her immediately! And I was the guy who, when Vicky first had the idea, decided it would be a bad, bad idea to do Thanksgiving at her house.
I was wrong.
Vicky and I drove over to her place early to see Jenn very relaxed and organized. The dinner – a spread with all the trimmings – was totally under control; Jenn could sit and watch TV with us as we waited for everyone else to show. And watch TV, we did. We kept it on the TV Food network, watching other people make Thanksgiving dinner! But, soon, others began to arrive.
I was concerned that my family might be too much for Jenn. After all, her place is rather small and my family (totaling more than the expect nine) was a platoon! But Jenn’s thinking was that, being in a stranger’s home, they’d all be on their best behavior. And she was right.
Actually, looking back on it, I realize that they were never the problem. That side of my family is the un-neurotic side, the friendly side, the comfortable-in-social-situations side – no problem. I, on the other hand, come from the other side… the neurotic, uncomfortable, awkward, easily-saying-the-wrong-thing side. The person I was most worried about… was me.
Thankfully, I did fine.
My dad and Blanche (who is far more than a step-mom to me), her brother Mitch and his wife Cherryl, my brother Richard, his wife Teri, and their son Hayden, Vicky and I, along with Jenn all fit in quite nicely. Cherryl even guilted another brother, Dwight (the guy getting hitched in two days), to make an appearance. He brought his bride-to-be, Monica, and a friend along. There was a little back-biting but none you’d notice and Jenn made so much good food that we all ate like pigs.
There was a lot of laughter and smiles… nothing like the Thanksgivings I’m used to – but, then, I come from the other side of the family. Even Vicky noticed this. She told me later how separate I seemed from the rest of the bunch. Sometimes, I almost feel adopted by them.
Jenn’s been adopted, too. She’s as good as part of the family now, which makes Vicky her sister-in-law, I guess.
After the family left, Jenn, Vicky, and I sat with our wines – Vicky and I (the winos) had brought with us a trunkload of primo vinos – assessing the dinner. Mitch had helped carve. Blanche and Cherryl had helped with dishes. Vicky and I had helped clean. Richard and Teri and helped by changing Hayden – a very important job! We’d all worked together as a family.
I’ve never been comfortable with family. The concept had been torn in two when I was five. As the years pass, however, and I am fortunate enough to be surrounded with people who unbelievable love me, I think I’m starting to get it… maybe…
We prayed before the meal… well, they prayed while I stood silently… we all stood in a circle, joining hands. I wish someone had asked me what I was thankful for. I would have said that, being out of work, my future so up in the air, I was thankful for that day and that moment.
Thank you, Jenn.
And thank you, Vicky.
And to all the others in my life who put up with me and, mysteriously, think well of me, thank you.
Oh, and Jenn made fresh whipped cream for the pies Blanche brought. Fucking awesome, man.