Normally, Thanksgiving is a holiday of very little excitement for me. In my past it has been filled with angst, sickness, bloating, and football. For those of you who don't know me well, these are things I am not very fond of. The eating, the good food, the companionship, the wine, the Thanksgiving Day Parade, the laziness, the abundance of pumpkin... these are the things I adore about it.
My mother always made a big spread even when only my father and me were left. She would start the night before prepping and sauteeing, and thawing anything she thought she might need the next morning. I always woke up late in the day to the faint aroma of cooking and the sound of clanging pans and screaming. Don't get me wrong, my parents aren't the type to have major screamfests every night, but Thanksgiving would usually take bickering to a whole new level. By the time the food would hit the table, grudges and unkind words were left behind, for the most part. The meal was always the typical fare: Turkey, yams, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce usually out of a can. Every now and then my mom would: "try something new" she'd often say with glee as we all sat down. This was never a fun moment, when you realize all the things you like about the holiday hang in the balance.... what did she fuck with this year? Most years the turkey was left as is... always juicy and tasty, with the awesome gravy my dad makes! (sidenote: My ex and I tried to re-create the recipe and it ended up tasting like "cum" according to our houseguests that fine holiday. It was appropriate, I guess, since it was made by two fags playing house for Thanksgiving.) The thing she still to this day will try to force down my throat are her damn creamed onions! Yuck! This apparently was some sick concoction from her years as a child growing up in Boston. Imagine biting into a semi-cold, frothy, cream covered eyeball and you'll get the idea. She loved attemting real cranberry sauce... always a nasty paste. She did however try apples and some other weird fruit mixture in the stuffing one year and it was pretty good. I'm not gonna just rank on mom here, I should also mention my sister's frozen turkey disaster party of 1994, and my second attempt at Thanksgiving with the next ex, where I just let him cook as I am not good in the kitchen myself. I must say, the crazy ex bf could cook.
Thanksgiving often brought woe, not just burnt/frozen turkey to my family. There was the year my loser brother talked his way back into the house for Thanksgiving, only to ruin it. There was the year my friend (We'll call her Burger) came over with her brother because her dad died that morning and her mom wouldn't come out of the bathroom. (He died a hero though Burger, I'll never forget that day.) We even had one event the next morning that marked our home forever... I can smell it now.
My dad always like to make turkey soup with the leftover cacass from Thanksgiving. He'll drop the whole thing in a pot and simmer it overnight and strain whats left. This year in particular, he put the stove-top on high and went to bed. Around 5 in the morning, the smoke began to billow enough from the burning bones and melting metal pot that the fire alarm went off. I've never smeeled something so thick that it stuck in my nose like that. It was as if I instantly inhaled charcoal dust and it adhered to my insides. After many "dumbass" coments and a fresh coat of paint on every surface, our house appeared the same as it was before. The smell never fully went away, thank god for moving!
This year marks what is probably the first time I'm just generally pleased with the idea of Thanksgiving. I'll be attending a gathering at my sister's Aunt's house. (To understand why she isn't my full aunt, Imagine the brady bunch family's situation.... two families come together... I'm the love child... there you have it) Her Aunt is awesome! She made a great spread last year. I had a great time even while my sister's Grandmother called us fat. I think after how hard this year has been for me, I'm just excited for anything with warmth, companionship, family, and generosity. I couldn't be more pleased with the idea of Thanksgiving.