Thankful for family, food, and good cigars

Pleasant family memories at Thanksgiving gatherings in America are part of lore – native Americans sitting down with Pilgrims, settlers who first worked the world’s breadbasket, astronauts toasting America with freeze-dried turkey packets from orbit, and servicemen and women protecting freedom in dusty remote lands while enjoying turkey and cranberries. On the other end of the spectrum, some relatives can make some at a family Thanksgiving seek a corner, a couch, car keys. After fifty Thanksgivings, some family gatherings are part of my fondest memories, others I missed for military service and some I would rather forget, but none have been newsworthy nor subject for television.

This time had all the makings of a good time: food, drink and good cigars.Sports: NFL and a few contests of pool.Conflict: apparently the husband of one of my inebriated (and feisty) sister-in-law’s nieces had her in some headlock as an outcome of a drinking contest.Reunion: seeing everybody I’ve missed in the past year. Time spent reminiscing around the fire pit late at night.

Still, I would like to have had the younger members of always expected to have parents and children together at holidays. But I have come to expect this as the exception rather than the rule. I even rented a Ford the household accompany Sheri and me to the in-laws in Arizona this year. It’s Expedition to drive there – since I learned we would have my sister-in-law and kids along too. This was a far cry from the days driving to Arizona in a Jeep with the young boys constantly fighting right behind my ear – to the point I wanted to expel them into the desert. Now there are lessons to be had when driving for a length of time with family. Not even the cockpit luxury of riding in an Expedition can long suppress the expulsion urge I get with family – but I was very lighthearted this time in spite of some who chattered incessantly for 180 miles about her. There is not much lore that is made from the self-indulgent and self-absorbed. Lessons for next time: rent the Expedition again; bring a change of clothes, and perhaps a gag or more snacks to medicate the feisty chattering one – or myself.

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