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The Object Of Sounds

I decided during a particularly rough spot of my misery late last night, that I've being going about Thanksgiving all wrong and will be implementing a new plan of attack for next year. I starved myself all day in anticipation of the bounty to come, so essentially I felt miserable until I finally sat down with my over indulgent plate of fanfare.

I enjoyed 8 minutes of blissful palate delights. Then, feeling slightly deprived of the things I couldn't fit on my plate the first go, went back for seconds...another 5 minutes of pleasure. Now add 2 minutes of heavenly pause...... and then the weight of my purge sank like a rock into my guts and I spent the remainder of the day, miserable, stretched out in a feeble attempt to give digestion room to work magic. 15 whole minutes of my day were spent in triumphant gluttony. The rest, I'll call it what it was, misery. Obviously I'm going about the day wrong~~~

At my Thanksgiving there is no such thing as matching silverware polished to a fine sheen. I've never seen coordinating place mats nor a candelabra centerpiece to hypnotize it's patrons. Fine china would never be brought out for such an occasion (far too dangerous) and I'm pretty sure mayhem would break out if someone got cocky and tried to use place cards. Food items are not revealed one at at time in pretty little serving dishes (I'm pretty sure that sort of slow progression would cause mutiny) and I've never witnessed a moment of pause, or silent thanks, or group prayer or anything that would try to hold back the tidal wave of people frothing at the mouth. Thanks, is the responsibility of individuals at large.

When my Mother, who reigns Queen on this day, (it's her house, and her turkey), says, "Time to eat." (and no one would dare touch so much as a deviled egg until she makes her official announcement) The swell of the crowd presses in on itself and it becomes a dog eat dog world. Every soul for themselves sort of deal. Survival of the fittest. Neanderthals with manners.

The thing is, if you don't dive in right away, something could run out (one year mashed potatoes ran out, that horror will go into family folklore) , and then there is a matter of Real Estate. One must find a good chair at various eating stations located all over the house. I've never seen anyone have to sit on the floor, but there is real estate at Mom's house that feel like a beach side resort, and there is what one might consider ,the low rent district. One must stake a claim quickly and then be prepared to protect it (show claws and sharp teeth).

I love it.

I think refined dinning, the picture of Martha Stewart perfection is geared toward little families, you know 20 or less type numbers. Mature affairs hold an air of mystery for someone like me that grew up, with potluck dishes and buffet expectations. I'm not sure of the count on yesterdays fiesta, but I can say, it swelled beyond 40 family members.

The house vibrates with the sounds. Children laughing and running. I watched one little 4th or 5th cousin ( it's humanly impossible to keep track anymore) of mine skating across my Mom's travertine floors with her 'built in skate shoes', back and forth, a big old grin on her face because no one seemed to care. There's the noise of plastic forks on paper plates. And conversations. So many conversations overlapping one another that I imagine an unskilled visitor would get a headache trying to follow everyone and everything going on.

It's easy to imagine what it would be like to be a mind reader in these gatherings. I just closed my eye's, and imagined myself in a library of quiet and listened. I realized yesterday that if I didn't focus on one specific voice, I could delight in a huge array of conversations all at once. Stories, detailed accounts of recent surgeries, or births. A shopping trip gone awry, a car that broke down. God. Atheism. Elections and hope. Sex. TV shows. Books. Gossip. Movies. Wolves. Future. Recipes, And the most important, memories of someone now gone.

I realized that story telling is the principle symbol of all my family gatherings. The people who capture the biggest slice of center stage have booming voices and can spin a tale or recall family history in a way that captures a good portion of the ears around. The story tellers are animated with hands, facial gestures and often stand up to encourage complete attention. There is little family glory in being shy or the quiet one, (there's very few of those anyway) so I'm right up there narrating my own memories and stories with the best of them.

It's all a little crazy, but I fully understand now how grateful I am for such a booming, procreating family. My family style Thanksgivings, paper plates and all, would never make the cover of Martha Stewart and the notion of cultured or refined is a foreign concept to my family posse.

And that's all right by me~~

22 Additional Thoughts:

From what I hear, Martha's hell with prison plates and jump suits on Thanksgiving. Yours sounds wonderfull. Not enough history at mine. Unfortunately, we need to go overseas to get that same atmosphere in my family. I'm jealous.


November 28, 2008 5:40 PM  

Martha Schmartha. I'll take your gathering over a sterile magazine spread any old day.

November 28, 2008 7:01 PM  

It sounds like a wonderful gathering Rebecca! I'm afraid I'd don't have enough cutlery or plates to go beyond 4 of anything! (and I don't even think we have 4 matching glasses!)

November 29, 2008 12:27 AM  

Awwww Martha the way you write that I could almost be there! Brilliantly written! It sounds wonderful. Your Mum sounds just like mine, we daren't sit until she is ready and not each too much before dinner. Great when families get together!
Laine xx

November 29, 2008 2:54 AM  

I long for family gatherings like that. I have forgotten what that is like. Yes you are fortunate to have them. Nothing wrong with 15 minutes of glunttony either. Have a good weekend beautiful.

November 29, 2008 8:16 AM  

I always put cheese and crackers out during the day, it helps stave the hunger and spirits.

Sounds like an awesome gathering dear one, delightful in all the various senses. Thanks for this, makes me not worry so much with the mirade variety of relatives coming the 14th for the family get together.

This left me with a smile of huge porportions. (Hugs)indigo

November 29, 2008 9:42 AM  

Our Thanksgiving is EXACTLY the same way at my moms, and I LOVE it. I love the kids screaming, the dogs barking, the game up loudly, chaos that is my family.

I knew we had more in common that I thought ;)

November 29, 2008 8:35 PM  

Sounds like the kind of Thanksgiving everyone should have.
Loved it!

November 30, 2008 7:15 AM  

Hey there,
I think the more chaos, the more precious the "real estate" and the more frequent the "episodes", the better the memories will feel when we hold onto them.

Traditions don't always have to be somber, right?

Hope the potatoes supply held up!

November 30, 2008 9:03 AM  

Very fortunate to have family in our lives. Getting stuffed like a turkey on Thanksgiving is a given, it is something that just has to be done. Paper plates are common place in our family gatherings as well. Have a happy Sunday. : )

November 30, 2008 12:29 PM  

Rebecca Anne:

It sounds like a great day, and it seems that you really relish these moments. I do the same thing, I starve myself all day, then eat till I'm miserable. I did this, then had to move countless boxes up and down steps to the new place. :(

I enjoyed reading your entry about the family gathering, and think you are truly blessed. In years past mine have been like "Home For The Holidays", but I have always found a way to keep the peace!

When I think about Thanksgiving, it would have to be the time I was 7 years old. My Brother Don got to give the Blessing, "Rub a Dub Dub, Thanks for the Grub" ( He was only 8 when he was asked. I think about the many wonderful people who have now passed, and enjoy my loved ones.

Thanks for the Smile,

November 30, 2008 10:31 PM  

Ah, 40 some people. I cannot even fathom that for a Thanksgiving. It's difficult for me to imagine more than, say, 4-7, albeit I tried really hard for the 20some at the gathering of E's family (and some didn't make it). Like a big party, I suppose. I do, however, like having nibbling available pre "big meal." If not allowed at the host home, I have to eat before going. I'm glad yours was so rich in the things that matter.

December 01, 2008 8:18 AM  

It sounds like you had a good Thanksgiving. We "dig in" just like you described. When everyone gets together and there's no gossiping and bashing going on, we can really have a good time. I settled for a smaller dinner this year at my daddy's and it was just as good (if not better) than any. -Missy

December 01, 2008 10:04 AM  

Gotta love the ritual of Thanksgiving and the food involved. I do anything but starve myself on the day. Paced out as a regular day's eating of 5 or 6 meals but with a bit more love in the quality of the preparations.

My family does not fall into the 20 or less crowd.. but this year there were only about 12 of us at the one house.. it became a pit stop for other family members passing through. I tried my hand at a new stuffing dish to contribute, and it came out well but a new plan of attack for me as well, next year. Can't wait to hear your other holiday stories! See you on the next post :)

December 01, 2008 1:08 PM  

Sounds like my kind of shindig, Rebecca! Our extended family has scattered a bit, so we don't have really large gatherings but for a couple of times a year, but when we do, it's large tables laden with food, and every eater for him or herself! Your description brought back some of those large get-togethers, and I thank you!


December 02, 2008 3:11 PM  

Sounds great except for that 15 minutes of gluttony :o)

December 02, 2008 7:23 PM  

I'm glad you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, even though you had to to digest that 15 minutes of Turkey Day food. Wow I've never been to a Thanksgiving dinner that had more than 40 people let alone 20.

December 06, 2008 8:32 AM  

It sounds like you have a wonderful family. My 'x' always used to say "it's a diggie dog world." English was his second language and I wonder now what he thought that phrase meant.

December 11, 2008 6:21 AM  

A great post!

December 13, 2008 5:35 PM  

The lesson of cherishing family hit home hard for us on Thanksgiving this year.

During the meal, my mother sort of "went blank."

My brothers all made jokes that mom had one too many coctails, but I could tell something was really wrong. I lobbyed and pushed the matter until it was agreed to take her to the Doctor.

It turns out, she was having a small stroke, known as a TIA in the medical world.

She is O.K. now, and on some meds that will hopefully prevent any future problems.

But let me tell ya, my heart is SO clear on how precious it is to have family all healthy and happy at the Holidays, and all year round.

December 15, 2008 9:07 AM  

Nice blog. Thanksgiving shouldn't a tidy affair with people gently passing plates over whispered conversations. It should be a full-metal onslaught of omnivorous mayhem, culminated by a sugar-Siesta from too much pie.

December 15, 2008 10:24 AM  

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March 29, 2013 1:05 PM  

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