An Atypical Thanksgiving

Theoretically, Thanksgiving is supposed to be a time for family and putting up with relatives and turkey and mashed potatoes and all that. The best part, of course, being the FOOD.

My dad’s side of the family is…special. The last time I had dinner with them I walked away thinking that I come from a family that makes Ursula the Sea Witch look svelte, Donald Trump look tolerant, and Gordon Ramsay’s rejects look like master chefs.

My dad is fine, my uncle is, too, and the last Thanksgiving with the whole family my sick grandmother was alive and that was great. My aunt lived down the street from my grandmother at that time and she selfishly decided that she was having dinner at her house. We loaded my very sick grandmother in the car (who would pass less than a year later from cancer) and took her into the house of my aunt.

You’ve seen Hoarders, right? This house was like Hoarders Lite, only with 90% more cats. The chemo had deadened my grandmother’s taste buds, so she enjoyed everything, and I suppose that’s what really counts. For the rest of us, though, it was a culinary disaster and an event that would put Miss Manners into a coma.

Among the highlights were my cousin looking as though she had never known the joys of shampoo or comb, another looking as though she had never been introduced to the proper functions on a toothbrush, and the third looking as though someone had fought a three day battle with Jabba the Hut and only just managed to squeeze his fat, hairy slug ass into some sweats.

My aunt is about the size of aforementioned Sea Witch yet has the manners and cooking skills one would attribute to a mentally challenged three-toed sloth with none of the looks to go with. The woman wiped her mouth free of the gravy dribbling down her chins with a nearby, stained, and crusty dishtowel which had seen many similar wipings (hopefully all of her upper orifice).

Yet I could have blocked this all out if the food had been good. But it wasn’t. Not even a little bit. The turkey was slimy, and not just on the outside. The ham was cooked to the point where it resembled over-salted jerky made up of what I can only assume was racoon and couch. The mashed potatoes tasted like paper and paste, and left me wondering if I should eat it or make a wasp nest. The gravy was lumpy and moved of its own volition. The cranberry sauce had a rainbow-chemical sheen rather like oil on water (and I’m not convinced that these were not the main ingredients) and was a terrifying shade of blackish-red. I think it winked at me once and dared me to eat it. I declined the challenge.

When we left, I made sure to stop by Del Taco. At least I can eat their grease-soaked goodness and live to tell the tale.

Aside from her lamentable proclivity toward poisoning, my aunt is generally a terrible person, as is her whole immediate family. They left the state for about a year (Yaye!), but then came back (Boo!). They blew through about $100k in inheritance from my step-uncle’s mother’s house sale, came back, and are now living in my grandmother’s old bedroom in the same house with my uncle and father.

I was invited to Thanksgiving this year. I very much enjoy my father’s company, and my uncle is great and we can kill hours and hours talking about writing, video games, novels, television, and just about anything. But my aunt would be there. And she may cook. And, as I mentioned, she is a terrible, awful leech of a woman.

Instead, I hung out with my ex and friend and made a very good Pad See Ew and pasta salad. I wrote a little and thought of a lovely little scene in my new writing project. It was atypical, and for that I am glad. I hope everyone else had a wonderful day.


~ by Darren Endymion on November 26, 2015.

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