Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving is Upon Us

A great bit from Armada:

There are all kinds of holidays in the US. Some of them are pretty low key affairs that hardly require much planning. St. Patrick’s Day is all about finding the shamrock pin and getting some green on. The reaction to Mother’s day and Father’s day both require some attention to food but only in the sense that one requires attendance at a restaurant and the other involves grilling in some way. But then there is Thanksgiving and no holiday is so strategic in nature. It starts with the travel that is often required. This is the week that most of us learn just what a mess the airlines are in. I can only suggest my personal mantra at this stage – “if Southwest doesn’t go there – neither do I”. Some will drive and learn that the nation’s infrastructure still needs that stimulus money.

The real strategic comes when dealing with the family. This is the holiday when all those to whom we are related feel compelled to make an appearance – the time when we become painfully aware that we don’t choose our relatives. They will descend upon some hapless member of the clan who has been designated host but few of the guests will even make an attempt at being gracious. There will be all the food demands (I don’t eat this and can’t stand that and must have that). There will be the relatives who bear long standing grudges against one another and will have to be separated at some point. There will be examples of really lax child rearing and terrified pets to contend with. The US demonstrates solidarity with traditional Islam at this holiday as there is no point when there is more segregation by gender – men in thrall to the TV and women in the kitchen. But once the tryptophan kicks in, there is that wonderful moment when everybody is too stuffed to squabble and we all have a chance to acknowledge that our family is no more dysfunctional than the neighbor’s.