Don't get me wrong. I love Thanksgiving. The true meaning of the holiday is to gorge on food until you pass out. And, yeah, yeah, yeah, all that stuff about giving thanks and being with family and what have you.
Since downsizing from a house to an apartment, my mom still insists on hosting the holiday at her residence. Makes for some mighty crowded eating. And there's no escape, not in such confined quarters. Back at her house, I could always wander off upstairs and nap the day away. But at the apartment, everyone's trapped.
After dinner, we sat in a circle in the living room, no exit, no relief.
Hard of hearing, Mom cranked up some Christmas music. Rod Stewart, for God's sake. We didn't even think she knew who he was.
"Mom," I shouted, "can you turn that down?"
"What?" I think she believes her hearing is normal, so her standard is the one everyone should go by.
Santa Claus is coming to towwwwwwnnnnn (you better believe it, baby! Yow!)....
"I said, 'can you turn that down?'"
"I'm sorry..." Mom shook her head, a hand up by her ear. Pantomiming. Sitting right in front of the boom box. "...I can't hear you."
You better look out (look out, look out, look out, AYEAHah!)...
Frustrated, I got up, turned it down. One song later, she turned it up again.
Finally, the CD ended. Mercifully, Mom forgot about it. And the family conversations began. For me, the most interesting (not necessarily the best!) part of Thanksgiving.
One of my nieces had her socks and shoes off. "Why're you barefoot?" I asked. "It's, like, Winter outside."
Her mother interjected. "Don't look at her toenails. I haven't had time to cut them. I mean, I don't mind cutting her nails. But I won't do his." With a wrinkled nose, she pointed at her husband (my brother). I felt her pain and immediately wondered just how bad his toenails were, imagining all kinds of greens and purples.
Defending his toenails, my brother said, "I can't even reach my toenails. It's not worth slipping a disc in my back to cut my stupid toenails."
"So you're gonna go Howard Hughes style?" I asked. "Grow 'em out?"
"Yep, Howard Hughes style."
I thought about it. Turned to my wife and said, "Would you cut my toenails?"
Pretty much she just stared at me. But the toenail conversation went on for a while after that.
Finally, the newest member of our group (another niece's husband), offered, "Um...I can't believe we're talking about toenails on Thanksgiving."
While I felt a little empathy for him, I just shook my head. Rookie.
Can't wait to do it all over again in three more weeks.
Speaking of being trapped...Leon Garber's trapped. Trapped between a homicidal maniac, the police and a mysterious evil organization set to take him down. And, really, all Leon wants to do is continue his hobby: ridding the world of abusers.