Thursday, November 24, 2005

Tradition Is Tradition.

Thanksgiving Day was always at my parent’s house. For every year I’d been alive my mom started Wednesday night preparing a 24 pound-bird and a feast for 30 people.

The year I was 25, my brothers were there with their wives and five kids between them. My older, older brother stayed with us. The other, my younger, older brother stayed with his in-laws across town and brought his troops to visit on a daily basis. This might have been the same year that I left the frozen turkey in the trunk. I don’t really remember. In this context that’s really a detail.

The wonderful thing about having six cousins is that you can hold on to traditions, even the ones your parents have grown tired of. So that Thanksgiving Day and those before we’d become a family of three tables not two—the Grown-ups’ table as before and TWO kids tables—one for the little kids, the one that everyone has—and another one for us, because my cousins and I had refused to be promoted to the dining room where the Grown-ups were when we had come of age.

We thought our table was more fun than theirs. Well, one older cousin went and my older, older brother too, but they were first-borns so that was just expected. They had grown tired of our childish misbehaving. For some reason they didn’t like to laugh as much as we did. The rest of us guarded childhood fiercely, with swords and cap guns from our memories.

When Aunt Kay put the black olives on the table, as was the custom to keep the children out of the kitchen. Six twenty-somethings immediately went to them, each taking ten, we fit one on each fingertip and showed them off like jewelry before we ate them. We made sure to show our parents first, who simply shook their heads, sighed and chased us from the kitchen--that was the reaction we were going for. After all it was Thanksgiving tradition. If we didn’t get that shaking head, sigh, dismissal from the kitchen, we would have had to start the day all over. Tradition is tradition.

When dinner was ready, I, with the rest, took my plate from the table to the buffet to got my food, only to return to find my chair gone. I looked around a table of innocent cousin faces with one younger, older brother as their ringleader, looking most innocent of all.

“Where’s my chair, I wonder?”

“I wouldn’t know.”

I went to retrieve my chair. A short walk to the foyer and back was all it took and in that time my cousins took a bit of my bread, drank half of my milk, took part of my potatoes, and completely eaten all of my turkey. Which meant that I would have to return to the buffet and start again . . . and you can guess what happened.

I never worried about gaining weight on Thanksgiving Day when my younger, older brother and my cousins were around.

Tradition is tradition and one of their traditions was picking on me.

Not that I minded one bit. Funny is funny.
—me strauss Letting me be


Anonymous said...

I am the youngest so I used to always get stuck at the kid table.

Now that I am in charge I get my big chair. muahahaha

thanks for visiting me by the way and commenting , I promise I will let you know when the new site is up :)

"ME" Liz Strauss said...

Hi Janus,
I'm the youngest too. Now, though it's Thanksgiving with my mother-in-law. Totally different.

Can't wait to see your new digs

Anonymous said...

what a wonderful memory :0)

Happy Thanksgiving Liz, I hope you have a wonderful day, you are such an amazing person and I am blessed to know you (hugs)

"ME" Liz Strauss said...

Oh mergrl,
I so want to meet you in person. I feel like I have already. You have made my life fuller just to read your words. What a special mergrl you are.
Liz ((((((hugs))))) to last all day

Trée said...

Happy Thanksgiving Liz. If your other self shows up to join us for dinner, I'll give you a call and report in on how she's doing. :-)

Let me know if you're smiling. I'm trying to keep count on how many smiles I can generate today. I'm going for a new personal record today. :-)

"ME" Liz Strauss said...

Hello, sunshine Man,
I'm smiling and so am I,

So I guess that counts as two,

Happy Thanksgiving!!!
I'm thankful that my life has a you in it.

Anonymous said...

Happy Thanksgiving Liz! we just talked to our daughter in Chicago, she called to tell us we should have came up for diner and enjoyed the snow! LOL! Have a great day!

"ME" Liz Strauss said...

Hi Joe,
Happy Thanksgiving!

How joyful you sound after talking with your daughter. She must be a very special person. You should come up to Chicago--snow or not.

Anonymous said...

"The rest of us guarded childhood fiercely, with swords and cap guns from our memories."

That was an amazing sentence, right there. I always love reading your stories.

"ME" Liz Strauss said...

Hi Sheila,
Happy Thanksgiving!

I always love reading your stories.

Wow. That is the coolest thing for you to say. Thank you.

smiles, big smiles,

Anonymous said...

Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, Liz. :)

"ME" Liz Strauss said...

Hi Liz,
Thank you.
I hope your day is wonderful too!