We’re celebrating Thanksgiving early this Saturday. Chris’s brother is visiting from Toronto for the weekend, and my best local friend and her boyfriend are joining us for dinner. We’re going to be traveling in Germany for actual Thanksgiving, and because I can’t get enough of Thanksgiving-type cooking, I insist on having a semi-traditional meal cooked at home every year now before we leave on a trip.
I remember the Thanksgivings when Ed and I were together. Sadly, the last Thanksgiving we actually celebrated together was in November 2003, my senior year of high school before I left for college. Traveling 3,000 miles home for Thanksgiving during college was never an economical idea, and the years after, because my family is religiously broken and no one seems to agree on Thanksgiving and how to celebrate, there remained no reason for me to travel west. So I hosted my orphan Thanksgivings with friends. The two times I did, in 2008 and in 2010, I remember wishing Ed could be there because I knew he was probably having a crummy day with my parents. My cousins and their families had abandoned him. I contemplated flying him out to New York the next time I hosted Thanksgiving, or flying to San Francisco to be with him in the future… that is, before he left me this year. I guess I will never have the opportunity to do any of those things.
I remember how difficult he and my parents used to be during Thanksgiving. Ed never offered to make anything since he wasn’t ever confident in his culinary abilities, but he would always complain about how many dishes there were (he had dish duty; it was only fair). He’d also warn me when I would make food for our cousins’ gatherings because my mom was insistent that we didn’t give my dad the leftovers and tell me that my mom would yell at me if I didn’t set aside food from the platter for my dad first. He had to have the first scoop. Since my mom is a Jehovah’s Witness, she wouldn’t celebrate Thanksgiving, and because my dad felt sorry for her and didn’t want her to be alone, he would eat with her that night while Ed and I went upstairs to celebrate with our cousins. One year, I got yelled at pretty badly just because I brought the stuffing platter upstairs, to then scoop my dad stuffing and bring it down. My mom admonished me severely and said I wasn’t putting my dad first… even though the first thing I did when I got upstairs was to scoop my dad a plate and bring it back down. Apparently, I should have served that before going upstairs. Ed tried to defend me, but of course, he got yelled at, too.
My cousin and his wife would come from Redwood City with macaroni and cheese… because their daughter only ate that. They’d eat the food, say it was good, and then rush back to Vallejo to be with the wife’s side. They’d never offer to help clear the table or wash dishes. That apparently wasn’t their job, even though they’re family.
Ed never has to deal with such petty drama ever again. I’m never going to celebrate Thanksgiving again with people who are ungrateful or nitpick or just think Thanksgiving is stupid.