Ah, Thanksgiving. Happy children playing I-Spy on the road trip to Grandma’s house, loving siblings and cousins sharing hugs of reunion and heart-warming memories, the laden table lit with happy faces, basking in the harmony of like spirits come home to roost for the day. . . . Yea. Does anybody know whose memories those are?
You can always count on me to keep it real. It’s what I bring to the party. Even my fiction is real because I’ve either known or been every character I write. If I need to write a crazy person, I remember losing loved ones to mental illness. If I need to write about death, I remember my mother or my Hospice work. If I need to write about smuggling contraband across international borders, I remember the time when my good friend Glen and I, . . . Oh, wait. . . . Not sure the statute of limitations is up for that one. . . . Moving right along . . . .
I’m going to keep it real with you about Thanksgiving, too. When I was a kid, Thanksgiving sucked. It was like a cross between Oprah Book Club literary fiction and an episode of South Park. A surreal enactment of a Norman Rockwell painting performed by dysfunctional people who would rather be sucking broken glass through straws up their noses than sitting in a room together for a meal. The best thing I can say is that we cared enough to try the only way we knew how, and that’s something.
I’m happy to say I’ve reclaimed the holiday since those early days. I did it by keeping it real. Now, Thanksgiving is all about the family I’ve made rather than the family I was born with. It’s about the bonds I share with people who don’t just eat goodies at my Christmas party, they cover my back and help me hide the body. (Figuratively speaking, of course. There is no statute of limitations on that one.) Now, it’s about loving that $5.99 chicken dinner from the grocery store when I forget to thaw out the turkey, and everyone at the table thinks it’s even better for getting the laugh out of it. I mean, turkey’s just a glorified chicken anyway, right?
So here’s wishing all of you a very happy, very real Thanksgiving. If you have an actual, loving reunion in store, I rejoice with you. If you’re grieving for loved ones who’ve passed, my heart is with you. If you’re caring enough to try the only way you know how, I applaud you. My Big It bless you in your efforts.
Like most of us, you may find this to be an intense time of year. Check out these blogs by life coach Quinn McDonald, Dealing with the Big Family Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving: Celebrate (By) Yourself. She has some good pointers in there for surviving the togetherness, or lack of it.
In the spirit of the season, I want you to know I give thanks for you, dear readers. I appreciate your time and attention. I also really appreciate your comments. What’s your Thanksgiving like? Do you meet with family or friends? Do you have a peaceful hiding place to go to, instead? Have you ever forgotten to thaw the turkey? How do you keep it real?
By the way, this picture below? Yea. Not real pilgrim or real Native American.
All the best to all of you for a very real Thanksgiving.
Piper Bayard–The Pale Writer of the Apocalypse
“Don’t stall. Don’t commiserate. Pray boldly. . . . The battle is still in front of you.” — Holmes