Okay, that’s not the title of the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving Special, but it should be. Oh, Thanksgiving, you weird and odd holiday. It’s no secret that I love food, so you’d think that would be it. Lots of food, no work, sit down, nom. Done and done. Not so fast, silly rabbit. When I was very young, I started helping in the kitchen. Usually, on potato duty. I’m not sure if this is foreshadowing to my Army career, but it certainly should be. I took great pride in my potato duty. I’d wash them (usually dropping a few), peel them (usually slicing open my fingers in the process), cut them (we won’t go there) and boil them (my fingers were usually numb by this point, so the burns were rarely felt). Then a gallon of milk, a tub of butter and enough salt to close a mine. My family liked a big spread, because oh, boy, did we love leftovers. My dad would do a huge bird, stuffed with what resembled wet cardboard and tasted like nirvana. Le Seuer peas were a necessity. Don’t ask why, they’re just better than your peas. Don’t argue. It’s true. And then sometime in the middle of the night, I’d wake up, not full anymore, which in my mind, equals hungry. I’d slap a plate with everything just kind of running together into this Thanksgiving goulash brought up from the bowels of cornucopia hell and wolf it down, go back to bed and sleep until Armageddon. This was Thanksgiving to me. Then, at some point, in my early twenties, I turned into a little know-it-all douchebag (some people are able to avoid this, but not many) and I got it into my head that I was above Thanksgiving and I found out it was not about Indians and pilgrims making friends. Holy moly, did that get my little elitist dander up. I would go to my dad’s house and mouth off about how we were celebrating slaughter and pretty much ruin the meal. There’s one in every crowd. It took quite awhile for me to get over myself and stop trying to fight the man. There wasn’t even really a man to fight.
I think now I appreciate it and try to look at it from what it can be. Granted, it’s a big slap in the face to NDNs. I agree. I’ve discussed it briefly with my friend, W2E (Lakota), and was even hesitant to bring it up, but first thing she asked was, “How was your Thanksgiving?” and how her militant NDN friends called her up wishing her a Happy Day of Mourning. It was a bit humbling because she was able to talk to me about it like an adult, but is still very passionate about the US’s treatment of natives. So, do I act like a douche about it and ruin it for everyone who’s just trying to sit down and have a peaceful dinner once a year? Why? What good will that do?
The biggest downer for me personally is it’s a reminder that I can’t eat what I want to anymore. I have to watch the salt, watch the sugar, watch the fat. Getting old is lame! Granted, this year it didn’t stop me from wolfing down large amounts of chicken (we did cornish hens that were bigger than my head…okay, not bigger than that, but big, nonetheless) and potatoes and pie. I let go of my need to do the potatoes awhile back, especially as this year, we had a visitor, El Hybrid, to do them up nicely. And of course, we did our annual photoshoot and played dress up. If you’re reading this, you’ll most likely get an email with the results. If you think you won’t, let me know, I’ll add you to our mailing list. I somehow came back around to realizing the holiday, regardless of its less than pure origins, can really be about family. I spent my childhood with my biological family and now I spend it with my chosen NY family. I think it should be a balance. Enjoy your family, but maybe, you know, let it cross your mind that Americans can be big jerks. Maybe after the pie.