Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

Loud & Joyeous

22 Nov

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I come from a large family.

…Holidays in our house meant no less than 27 people…with just the one side of Mom’s gene pool, and their immediate families. 

…Kids had their own tables and counter seating arrangements, because there just wasn’t room at the main one for all.  Even with the extender put in, and the extra leg props pushing the main table out, well into the living room…with chairs brought in from the patio and stacks in the garage, we would still sometimes have to squeeze in standing-room-only spaces.

…The kitchen would be stifling before ten A.M. with turkey-cooking and general capacity…with Mom and the aunts stirring things on the stove and fresh baked pies and side dishes arriving more and more by the moment. Two refrigerators full of fixings yet to be cooked and baked…cousins running around, playing games outside, wrapped in layers of coats and scarves, so our red, flushed faces glowed as our breath panted out in clouds of white in the crisp fall air.

In time, all the men, arguing over football plays in the living room, with beers-in-hand, could be heard in bear-like booms of laughter and anxious defeat.  Babies suckling from the newest Moms as they conduct instructions to their sisters, buzzing about in recipe over-drive.  Gram, being everywhere at once, completely in her element…someone losing the stuffing ingredients again, and scouts sent through the house to look in overnight suitcases, and diaper bags to find them. 

…An infusion of noise as the kids break in to thaw out a bit, shoo’d from the kitchen by their mothers.  Infants laid down to nap. New shifts in the kitchen as seating places are being set, and food comes to final bake and boil and plate. Gramps seated at the table’s end, watching all the work, with wry commentaries he gets a kick out of, and to act as official taste-tester on certain sauces and the rutabagas.

…And everywhere, in every room of the house, for all of the day long…loud, loud conversations taking place…only magnified as the day grows longer, by heat and wine and food…excitement, and general people-excess.

…So loud at times, with the men screaming at the TV screen, play-by-play, of the women laughing and telling jokes while cooking, of babies chattering,  the cousins “Haloo-ing” to one another, in hide-and-seek places up and down the hallways…that a moment of solitary in the bathroom during pee breaks, would make your ears ring with it’s silence. 

It felt so removed, those moments. 

…Like a wormhole where you were on one side and everyone else, at the other end…faintly heard in the distance, in gregarious employments, you were only annoyed that mere natural bodily function, was making you miss out on. 

Holidays with our family always made me feel badly for all those three and four-people families. Small, quiet, respectful, classy people…in their formal go-to-chapel best…Holidays like the kind they have in romantic comedy movies.  None of which we are an example of.  We were more of the family Griswold, “National Lampoon” stream, without a doubt…with all the curiosities, eccentricities, dramas and ridiculiousnesses that go with it.  Ask me then, or now: I never in a million years would have changed that, for anything.

As time has passed, spreading our family’s large number, like seeds on the wind, to new corners of the world…some to new corners now, in Heaven…Holidays seem to be more a time of reflection and thankfulness than they ever were before.  Because I can spend a quiet Holiday feast with four people today with the memories and history of those other’s behind it.

…Sometimes, a little sadly, yes.  Because I miss that loud, brazen, bellowing, laughing, arguing, baby-crawling, cousin-playing, surrounding of the truly peculiar breed of humanity that I hail from.  All those frustrating, brilliant, weird bastards, who I love more than anything, and miss like nothing else of bestness, on earth.

On quiet Holidays like today…which I am still so thankful for…I can’t help but remember those we once had in the past.  For all the world, I could swear eight or nine times today…faintly in the distance of my childhood, I could hear it all again.  A wormhole to our family past.  And I wish, more than anything, I could rejoin it, even just one more time…even just for a moment…in all it’s loud, joyous, wonderfulness…with all the people who are of my people, and who I belong to.

…Then, I remember: I can. In memory.  Any time I want to.

…And I’m thankful for that.

I’m thankful for that, and them, and even (reluctantly), the fact that time has passed and things have been forced to change.

The BFF is home again…even for just a little bit, back in her place at my stove, and me at my place at table: chopping and prepping as we gossip and sing and play on. Last night, after hours of loud joking, and shopping, and laughing, and winking insults, and spur-of-the-moment hugs…(just because we can), because we are here together now…was a many-moment deja vu.

…Later plating and feasting, The Fella and Marty adding to the family, by-turn, as the clock struck further into the night…squealing loud peals of delights over newly uncorked wine, and homemade eats…with everyone telling stories at once, and nobody listening, and bad jokes being played on one another, a tattling of the most embarrassing of stories we have to share…with the TV blaring in the background, and spontaneous bursts of laughter….with new infusions of energy and more friend arrivals as the night went on…well into the early hours of this morning.

…This loudness of epic proportions!

…So persistent and present! So joyous, and irreverent! And so…”my family.”

I realized, the coming of full circle, not once but many, many times across the night.

…Which, to me, is sorta like a wink from above, by those who’ve gone on before, and know me best.

A long story to say: I hope you and yours…be they family of your blood and bones, or of your soul and spirit…had a happy Holiday today.

…Cuz I know me and mine did 🙂

~D

Lord Of The Rings, & Why I Hate It

20 Sep

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Okay, I know this is prob’ly a severely unfair judgement call to a certain extent, but I can’t help it, and here is why–

…But first, let me clarify some things:

I TOTALLY agree that the artistic and nerd-fulfillment beauty and marvel of the movies is not to be doubted.  They are aesthetically gorgeous…and I’m told, painstakingly researched down to the infinitesimal detail, from the original novels. I admit that it earned it’s collection of Oscars, and the books have obviously gained a cult following throughout the universe, that is not to be rivaled in it’s multiple of fiction genres, (few people seem to agree just where it belongs, specifically.)

…That said:

I don’t like them.

…The build up these movies were driven to, before I even had the chance to see the first film, was just a ridiculous level that no one could POSSIBLY deliver.  I was told of this EPIC story of fantasy and politics and good versus evil, and Hobbits and Dwarves and Dragons, and I was all, “Okay, I can get behind that prob’ly,” so I went along with it.

…And I totally fell asleep in the movie.  I lost track after time “three.”

…Granted, I was on a shitload of Benadryl at the time, with a hell of a head cold…but I swear to you, it was the first (and only recollected) time, I have EVER fallen asleep in a movie theatre.  IN MY LIFE.  And I’ve seen me some SLLLLOOOOOW English period dramas, my friends. (Which I happen to love, but that is beside the point.)

…As hour three (or whatever) FINALLY came to a close, and the lights came up…I remember sitting there and saying, “Are you kidding me?  Where is the action? Where’s all that fantasy stuff? They’ve been climbing the same fucking hill for THREE HOURS just now…and I know they’re Hobbit-tiny-people and all…but seriously?!”

“It’s spread out in three installments,” I was told.

“So I have to come back and do this all over again, before we get to the real stuff?!”

“You just don’t understand.  You should read the books,” my helpful friend suggested.

…Which I never did.  Because I’d already spent THREE HOURS being bored with the story so far, why elongate it?  And there was no alternate thing I could blame even, as the picture quality itself was stellar, and the actors buried behind all those elf ears and troll hair were ones I’d loved for ages and had great respect for.  CLEARLY the problem wasn’t the film.  It was the story.

…Which didn’t help the following Christmas, when my totally obsessed Mother, wanted the super-special-torture-me-DVD set, with 47 hours of extended specials on it (cuz the fucker wasn’t long enough already)…which I felt obligated to purchase her. (Though I informed her that I highly disapproved, on “principle.”)

…She paid me back by insisting on putting it in the player immediately. 

It played ALL DAY LONG. 

They were STILL climbing that fucking hill as we ate our dinner. And I had slept through MOST of Christmas, because of it.

…And because Peter Jackson is a sadistic, evil human…he managed to practically RUIN every year, since. (Same hill. Same little Hobbit-people. Same constant nodding off.) Because, thanks to the movies’ super stardom…they even play on cable every Thanksgiving…and for a while there, kept spitting out NEW ones, every Christmas, which I was again obligated to purchase for my mother…who insisted then on continuing the ongoing torture.

…And now there’s ANOTHER “trilogy” that is soon to come out…

…And all I wanna know is: “WHY ME?!? WHAT have I done in life to deserve this kind of consistent torture through the rest of my “forevers,” just cuz I’m a good daughter?!”

…And now “M” has entered my life and decided that SHE is gonna be the one to “break” me on this whole new Hobbit movie deal. THERE ARE PEOPLE PLACING BETS ON IT! What the eff, you guys?! I told ’em I might be dragged…kicking and screaming, to ONE of ’em…but only cuz one of my boyfriends, (Richard Armitage), is in it. Then she got all proud of herself and decided she’d get me to read the books, TOO.

…And so, naturally, I told her where to “get off.”

…To which SHE countered with the offer of doing it “readers theatre” style. Which totally wasn’t playing fair, like AT ALL.

…And I said, “You mean, with all the voices?”

…And she said, “Yep.”

…Which I sorta was okay with a little.

…But then she and Ma started fighting on FB about who gets to read who ,and all. And I finally had to call the kibosh on it:

“Look, people…I don’t give a #%$# who plays who! I don’t know what the hell any of these people’s names are. ‘Oh! I wanna play Harkle of the land of Isith, from the valley of the Smurfs!!!‘ IT MEANS NOTHING TO ME. But so help me God, if I end up having to play all the Tree and Rock people, I’m gonna be PISSED! BE NICE! Or I won’t play with you anymore. OR read your stupid books!”

…And I stand by this.

~D

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