Although I never knew it at the time Thanksgivings growing up were perfect. Now that is not to say they were not without incident. There was the time my mother a celebrated cook fed us rancid squash casserole. All of us so convinced that the casserole had to be good since Mom had made it ate several bites before we looked at each other and knew something was amiss. This was not a new recipe. That was the year the great can food purge of the 20th century occurred. My mother growing up poor on a farm in the Great Depression could not bear to throw food out but she also hoarded food as if she knew the apocalypse was right around the corner. Cans were discovered that were over ten years past their expiration date. What made that even worse was that meant my brothers and I who had spent a long day of toil to move our parents six years ago had loaded and unloaded these old cans to their new home. It was with great delight we emptied the pantry of these offensive canned goods as we astonished the guests by reading the dates of expiration out loud to the humiliation of our Mother. Of course a few hours later Mother Nature reminded us it was not right to treat your mother that way.
Besides the great purge we also had the great plunge. The plumbing in the house was not working and my parents could not find a plumber to come and the house would soon be filled with hordes of people. Luckily my nephew was a contractor and knew what to do. He took my brother, his father, outside to dig where the pipe was and they would unclog and replace the pipe because it was too small. Before they did this they warned everyone in the house to not use the toilets. They closed the bathroom doors and placed assorted objects on the toilets and went out to fix the pipes. They dug a hole in the front yard big enough for both of them to stand and were sawing the sewer pipe in half. I was out for a walk because my brother had been getting on my nerves and I wanted to cool down. When I returned home I went into the bathroom to clean up. I noticed the stuff on the toilets and thought who made such a mess and cleaned it up. Then because I had as always when I was at home with Mom ate a lot I decided to take a dump. It was a particularly big dump. I did my thing and as any decent person I flushed the toilet and walked outside to where my nephew and brother were in their hole with the pipe freshly cut. It was then something occurred to me was that the sewer line to the house they were working on? About this time they both looked at each other as the pipes began to flush and the hole they were in filled with feces and urine. I heard screams of agony and disgust and laughed as they try to get out of the hole but it was too slippery at first so the first attempts made them fall back into the hole. I snuck back into the house. They both came storming toward the house to execute the offending party. But by now everyone had gone to the door and saw them (except for me I was in the back room reading obviously oblivious to the goings on anywhere else) my mother took one look and one smell and told them politely but firmly they were not coming inside and even with shit covered shoes and pants and a need to seek out vengeance on the offending party they could not override she who must be obeyed. Later that day I confessed to the deed and explained my innocence which they seemed not to believe especially since we had had an earlier altercation. I thought Karma is such a bitch guys you should not have argued with me in the first place. The next day we were pairing up for the annual football game and I noticed they both chose not to be on my team as they glared at me. I thought Karma’s not only a bitch but she will turn on you in a second.
Yes those were the good ole days of Thanksgiving. We no longer have the crowds we had at my Mom and Dad’s house. They were loving people who people sought to be with. But each of the sons have their own tradition a friend or two and immediate family no big gatherings anymore. At my house we eat and hike in the woods or on the beach. There is no purging and plunging anymore. I now only have a thankfulness of a home that once was where everyone felt welcomed and wanted to be. Mom and Dad wherever you may be thanks for the memories.