Thursday, November 25, 2010

Turkey Day

Well, another Thanksgiving has come and gone. This one marked ten years to the day that my grandfather passed away after lengthy deterioration. The way he went informed my understanding of death. He checked into the hospital like he had a couple months prior, he had his last good day, which like certain other things, you can never recognize until it has already passed, then he got worse and worse until he died. While any gathering with my family has its ups and downs, this one was especially bittersweet.

Lily was playing more or less nicely with her cousin Joey, though Lily took the play in some strange directions.

Lily: Let's pretend the dolly is dead.
Joey: (plaintively) Mine's still alive.

Those two kept each other occupied, but Joey's sister Sam is about two years younger and couldn't play the games the older girls wanted to play, so I played with her.

She held up a little plastic bee and I asked what her name was and got the reply "Samantha Bee", and I was like, "Hey, I loved you on the Daily Show!"

Contrary to what her bloodlust with the dolls might lead you to expect, Lily actually had a vegetarian Thanksgiving. She had remarked previously to her mother that she didn't want to eat any of the turkey because "Thanksgiving isn't very thankful for the turkey" and she stuck to it. She joined my father in giving the prayer. Jen attends a UU congregation and I'm a firm atheist, but Lily has been exposed to people other than us and we want her to make her own decisions when she gets old enough. She does like talking about what she is thankful for before each meal and she'll add religious elements depending on who she's been hanging out with lately. My father's prayer was more Christian than hers would be, but she followed along, repeating after him and talking about what she was thankful for. She is a sweet kid. She did the olives on her fingers trick that all kids eventually spontaneously discover. The spread was really good this year too.

It had snowed earlier in the day, enough to accumulate. I suggested making a snow turkey, but Lily said, "No, let's make a snow...what are those guys called who have buckles on their hats and buckles on their shoes?" "Pilgrims?" "Yeah, we should make a snow pilgrim!!" Little did I know that it would be one of many references to Pilgrims during the day.

My father had secured his router since I had last visited. It's not like it's hard, but I didn't think he knew enough about computers to think to do it. Since he lives out in the boonies where my smartphone gets no reception, I tended to piggyback on his network and thereby browse the internet.  I was forced to interact with my family more than I usually do. (Though I did notice my brother's girlfriend updated her status while she was there, so there must be some spot in the house with good reception. I anticipate heated competition to sit in that spot when I figure out where it is.)

Something good came out of the interaction, because my younger brother commented that he had seen Scott Pilgrim and declared it was the best movie ever. (Jen remarked that is the first time in fifteen years of knowing us that she's actually convinced we're brothers.) I remarked that like any cool person, I just happened to have a copy of Scott Pilgrim on a flash drive on my keychain. And we grabbed my father's laptop and started watching it.

People passed in and out of the room and commented how much they had liked him in The Social Network and Zombieland. Each time I explained that it was actually a different actor, Jesse Eisenberg. "But that's okay. A lot of people confuse them. It's just the Eisenberg uncertainty principle at work!" Silence, followed by me sighing and mumbling, "I suppose that's only funny if you know what the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle is."

As with any gathering that has my Grammy present, conversation turned to Dancing With the Stars. Sarah Palin's daughter Bristol had stayed on the show week after week because her poor rankings from the judges were offset by a large number of call in votes. There has been some discussion that this was due to her mother's influence, which seems reasonable because, though I haven't seen the show, my Grammy will tell anyone she can corner that Bristol Palin "moves like she has a stick up her butt."

My father's wife seemed to agree that the elder Palin's influence had something to do with it when she remarked "Thank goodness for the Tea Party." Grammy responded that Bristol only made it to the finals because her mother was in the front row every time and told her people to vote for Bristol. My stepmother responded with what I thought was a reasonably reply, that if she were on the show, she would hope that her mother would be in the front row too. So, I don't think the fault lies with as much Palin herself so much as the structure of the show. But really, I can't be bothered to give too much of a shit about Dancing with the Stars. Actually, I suppose the season is over with Jennifer Grey's victory, and that, my friends is something for which I'm really thankful.

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