There is a lot to be said for Thanksgiving. It has consistently been one of my favorite holidays, carrying over from childhood to adulthood. As a lad my family would rent a cabin up on Mt. Baker where my immediate family would gather with grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles. It was always a lot of fun. Back then, even the hour or so drive to the cabin, known as The Logs, from Bellingham was an exotic getaway, so different from life as I normally knew it. Maybe it was the snow that would inevitably fall each year or maybe it was just that abstract notion of being basically locked in a cabin in the wilderness with 10 or more other people. Even as my brother and sister and I made our transitions from children to teenagers, we still loved going to The Logs. Of course, all things eventually end and as we became more scattered and people starting popping out kids of their own, the tradition died. The last time the family went to The Logs was when I was living in Chicago, so I missed out on that, though I don’t really consider it missing out. I’m sure it was fun, but I always sort of thought of it as a futile attempt to capture some of that magic from the past. I don’t know. Maybe they succeeded. I’ve never asked.
The first time I spent Thanksgiving away from the family was in 1994, the year I moved to Charleston, IL with The Instigator. We got off to a rough start. I’m sure I’ll get into the whole Charleston saga at some point in this blog, so I’ll just cut to the chase. Corbin and Teabag flew out to spend Thanksgiving with us. I remember being really nervous about their visit. I mean, we had nothing. We’d moved out with whatever fit in my Subaru Justy, which was pretty much a shot glass and a deck of miniature playing cards. So we knew they were going to be disappointed when they got there. And we didn’t want them going to back to Bellingham with tales of how horrible Charleston was. I mean, we’d moved there completely blind (this was before the internet, or right on the cusp, anyway). We had no idea it would be so, uh, quaint. So at that particular moment in time, we pretty much knew it would be somewhat awkward, but counted on alcohol to smooth over the rough edges.
The long of the short of it or whatever is that sensing that we were on the road to a fairly simple Thanksgiving around the card table, Corbin came up with the plan for the four of us to go to her parents’ house in the suburbs of Cincinatti. We were up for it, especially with the promise of all we could drink.
It was a really fun Thanksgiving. We ended up making tacos. And I got bitched out for fixing the stereo and for Teabag making horrible tasting drinks. (I don’t know if I’ve ever escaped the stigma of being the “crazy guy”. But come on. I just fixed the stereo. It wasn’t like I invited a donkey show into the living room. Come on. We kept that shit in the garage.) But it was fun.
I think there are two reasons we eat the exact same meal every Thanksgiving. First, and most important, the shit is good. Come on! Who doesn’t love Thanksgiving food? Pity the poor veg head. And second, I think by eating the same food year after year we’re forced to focus our memories on the people that are there. You can’t say, “Remember that Thanksgiving that we had turkey?”, but you can say, “Remember that Thanksgiving where Teabag ate so much he shat himself?”
So I guess what I’m trying to say, which is the perfect thing to say when you’re at the Thanksgiving table and everyone is going around saying what they’re thankful for, is that I’m thankful for Thanksgiving.