For this dinner, my mom had decided to bring out the guest table, ten chairs around a big circle. My three sisters, Deidra, Nikki and Tanya were coming over with their boisterous children. Deidra was the oldest of us all. At age 26, she had already completed law school and appeared on track to become a very successful lawyer. She had two children, a boy named Sam and a girl named Crystal. I've never seen such hell raisers in all my life!
Nikki was a year younger than me. She hadn't yet started a family or even found a man for that matter, and at every family gathering she pointed this out. "I just don't feel like I need all the trappings in my life, it'll do nothing but slow my path to success." she would say. Personally, I couldn't see how her path could be much further slowed, all she was doing at the moment was working at McDonald's, flipping burgers. She really didn't have any ambition, having dropped out of school at 16 and making no plans to return.
And then there's Tanya. Well honestly, I don't even know where to begin with her. She was beautiful, I'm talking the kind of physical attractiveness that lends itself to the groupie life. And boy, did she love to play that card! She actually had a short-lived marriage to an athlete, during which my parents repeatedly advised her to get out of it. It eventually went the way of most celebrity marriages, which is to say that they had an acrimonious divorce that nearly cost our family everything in the ensuing media scrutiny. They did have one child, a girl named Asha who was only a year old.
With everyone gathered at the table, I was called upon to ask the blessing. "Well, you know I never quite know what to say", I told my mom. "Boy, you're talking to the Lord, it can't possibly be that difficult" she replied.
Standing and holding hands, I was surrounded by Deidra on one side and her son Sam on the other, I began to pray. I stuttered a bit, but did manage to thank Him for bringing my family once again and to rattle off a few more things that I was thankful for.
Then the feast magically appeared. I'm talking turkey, three different types of dressing, mashed potatoes, greens, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. "Yeah, nobody does it like mom" Tanya said. "And most certainly not you" Nikki retorted. "Last time we tried to eat your cooking, and I think everybody was laid up for a week!" "Well, I'm too beautiful to cook" Tanya snorted. "Oh me, not this pettiness again" I moaned, under my breath as usual.
Everytime those two got together, it was an argument waiting to happen. "Like forcing two cats to be too close!" my Grandma always said. Nikki was definitely jealous of Tanya's beauty, and I think Tanya was upset about Nikki's not feeling such a need to rely on a man for security. At this point, I usually am thankful not to be saddled with any of these female issues, I don't truly know how they can stand any of it.
"Hey, lets go watch some sports" I told Sam as the last of the food was scraped from our plates. "Leave these women down here to argue among themselves." "Sounds good to me" he replied, grabbing the dish containing his chocolate cake and making for the stairs. "uh-uh!" mom called to his rapidly retreating back. "You'll eat that down here!" "But I wanna watch the game! And besides, you let uncle Dave eat up there." "Your uncle is older and cleaner than you, now either you'll eat that in here or not at all!" Huffing and puffing like it was the worst thing ever, he sat down hard in the chair. "And you better watch that attitude too, boy!"
Freed from the drama that was below, I switched on the tube and quickly found that the usual Thanksgiving Day offering, the Detroit Lions vs. the Green Bay Packers, was already over. Oh, it was still on all right, but Detroit was being rolled as usual. This is one tradition I desperately wish they would change, but old habits die hard I suppose.
"Hey Uncle Dave!" Sam had caught me in the middle of a dream where I was stretched out on some island shore, an extremely soft and delicious smelling woman caressing parts of my body that I hadn't known existed. "What" I snapped. I hated to be awakened, and everyone well knew this, so it had to be a pretty severe emergency for a person to risk life and limb over.
Mom and Aunt Nikki are at it again". "And you woke me up to tell me that? Its always." "No, but now their pulling out the pots and pans! Their really losing it, and I can't stand the drama."
Yawning and feeling some muscles pop, I decided then that I had better head down and see exactly what was up. To my horrow, even mom was cowering in a corner as they rampaged through her kitchen, removing dishes, dismantling the tablecloth and just causing general havoc. "Wait, what on earth is going on here!" I cried, as a fork just missed my eyeball by inches. "They were supposed to be cleaning up" mom said, "but you know how it is with these girls. Will they ever grow up?" "Yeah, once this bitch learns to stay out of people's business" Deidra shouted. "She does the same thing every holiday!" "Now you need to tone it down on that language, you know you have..." "Aw please, they hear it on TV anyway." "Depends on what you let them watch. You need to stop letting this nonsense get to you and be a mother to your children." "I am a good mother!" Deidra said, actually beginning to cry and storming off. "I swear, my children are trying to send me to an early grave, I really can't take this anymore" my mom said somberly. "All I wanted to do was to bring the family together." "Yeah, everybody but me" I ventured, trying to crack a smile and make light of what I knew was a very difficult situation. "I just haven't gotten out of your place yet." "Yeah" she sighed, "you're all right."
So, that's what I've been up to for most of the rest of the day, writing and reading some other stuff as well. I got quite a bit done, until the sun finally decided to tuck itself away and the temperature fell like a rock. And, drumroll please...
Current Word Count: 3113 (6.22% of Goal)