The best way I can describe my extended family is that they are a piece of work. I can’t say that we’re dysfunctional in a way that people traditionally mean it: nobody *openly* despises anyone else, they’ve never gotten into fistfights or had the cops called on them, and they aren’t even mean to each other. The dysfunction is much more subtle, a disconnect between what our family is like and what they believe or pretend we’re like. I’ll probably explore this more in the future, but for today we’ll leave it at this: It’s a very odd family.
To give a little background to this post, I have to explain that my parents live full-time in another state because of my dad’s job, but they keep a house on a lake near where I live and grew up. Most of the family is still down here, living near the lake, but we don’t see each other much unless my parents are in town. When they are, we all congregate at the lake house.
Before I get into the story of Thanksgiving, let me introduce you to the cast of characters:
- Mom: ’nuff said
- Dad: ’nuff said
- Sister: Older than me, we’ll call her “Queen”
- Brother-in-law: Married to sister, call him “Bama”
- 6-year-old nephew: First son of Queen and Bama, call him “Ninja”
- 3-year-old nephew: Youngest son of Queen and Bama, call him “Han Solo”
- Grandmother: My paternal grandmother. Call her “Grandma Wino”
- Eldest aunt: My dad’s older sister, early 60s. Call her “June Cleaver.”
- Uncle: Married to June Cleaver, early 60s. Call him “Blues.”
- Eldest Cousin: Son to June Cleaver and Blues, late 30s. Call him “Paulinator”
- Cousin-in-law: Paulinator’s wife, late 30s. Call her “Mirror”
- Female Cousin 1: Daughter to June Cleaver and Uncle, mid-30s. Call her “Hester P.”
- Youngest aunt: My dad’s younger sister, mid-50s. Call her “Big Boobs McGee,” or “BBM” for short.
- Female Cousin 2: BBM’s daughter, early 20s. Call her “Blondie.”
- Step Cousin: My dad’s older step brother’s (now passed) son who I have seen maybe 3 times in my life, early 20s. We’ll call him “Kilt Man.” You’ll see why.
- Great uncle: Grandma Wino’s brother. Call him “Klaus.”
- Great aunt: Klaus’s wife. Call her “Mouse.”
- Sister-in-law: My husband’s older sister. Call her “Mama Liga”
So, along with me and my husband, that’s who came to Thanksgiving.
annoying fun thing about my family is that when my parents host family get-togethers, they are literally hosting. As in, providing all the food, drinks, and alcohol. Since I’ve become a working adult I’ve tried to help out as much as I can, and my sister does too, but the brunt of the get-togethers fall to my parents.
Husband, Mama Liga, and I spent the night at my parent’s house Wednesday night and got up early Thanksgiving morning to help in the preparations. In the grand tradition of me, alcohol was well provided for in the form of mimosas. We watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, had several mimosas, and cooked my contributions to Thanksgiving dinner: broccoli casserole, macaroni and cheese, and pumpkin pie.
A good time was had by all.
The rest of the family, minus Klaus and Mouse, arrived at about 1:00pm. BBM had her cleavage on display, Grandma Wino walked in saying “What?,” and Blues was wearing his ever-present Indiana Jones hat (he had actually just had a *minor* brain surgery the day before and he said it was to cover the big lump of gauze on his head, but let’s face it, he wore it all the time before surgery, so I’m not buying the excuse). Everything was par for the course.
My mom, God love her, did try to actually get the other families to contribute this year and asked them to bring some appetizers and side dishes. Between my grandmother, June Cleaver’s family, and BBM’s family (which represents, remember, 8 of the 18 people present), this is what they contrived to bring: olives, pickles, canned green beans, and canned corn.
The family immediately headed to the star of the day: my dad’s wine collection. Within the first 20 minutes of them arriving we went through a bottle of white wine and a bottle of red wine. As I was getting ready to go get my own glass, in walked Kilt Man. Why did I nickname him Kilt Man? He arrived, no lie, WEARING A KILT.
I have proof:
No, we don’t live in Scotland. No, he’s not Scottish. I know enough about his family history to know he’s very, very Italian. I have no idea what the kilt was about.
Notice the jaunty knee-high socks.
Kilt-Man turned out to be a creeper. He liked to hover over me and all the other women at the party, staring at us. My husband said at one point he was trying to look down my shirt and Mama Liga caught him trying to look down her shirt. My parents’ living room has two sofas facing each other. I was sitting on one sofa and Kilt-Man sat on the other sofa and very deliberately crossed his legs in that man way where the legs are spread open and one foot rests on the other knee. It wasn’t long after that Kilt-Man told me I looked beautiful today and about 10 minutes later that he asked for my phone number.
Naturally, and unfortunately, having a man in a skirt caused a large portion of the Thanksgiving dinner conversation to feature what, exactly, he was wearing under it. My dad asked him whether he had “drawers” on under his kilt and Kilt-Man answered. Hester P. didn’t hear the answer, turned to someone, and asked “What did he say?” Kilt-Man heard and said, “Would you like to see for yourself?” It was all very disturbing. I had a lot of wine to deal with it.
Speaking of wine, my family can go through some wine, man. Well, they can when they aren’t paying for it. Grandma Wino, in particular, is serious about it. I don’t mean serious as in she knows anything about it, but serious as in she sure does like to drink it. Right before lunch I was walking up to the counter to pour myself a glass, and Grandma Wino sped past me, pushing me out of the way, to finish off the bottle.
I looked at my empty glass, sighed, and just grabbed another bottle to open.
The sight at the end of the night of all the fallen wine bottle soldiers was very sad. I almost had to build a memorial to commemorate the multitudes of bottles that gave their contents for our
bearable happy holiday.
Lunch was just ending when Klaus and Mouse showed up. Klaus was wearing a Texas tuxedo, always a fashionable choice for formal and informal events alike. Klaus is someone I only saw a couple of times in my life until last year when he decided for some reason that he quite likes my Dad and now. They. Come. Every. Time. My. Parents. Are. Down.
I’m not a big fan of Klaus or Mouse. He’s actually not really that nice of a man and is fairly unbearable because he thinks everyone loves him. Recently he showed me some really personal financial papers that he wanted (free) legal advice on, which made me very uncomfortable given that what he showed me wasn’t anything I had any business knowing, especially since I don’t practice that area of law. I think he was trying to find an excuse to tell me so I would tell my Dad and Dad would offer them money. I outsmarted them on that, though, ha.
Klaus and Mouse have a habit of coming to the house with small quantities of random food offerings. They’ve brought boxes of raisins, Ziploc bags of popcorn, and a bag of beef jerky before. I guess I shouldn’t judge too harshly, though, since most family members come completely empty handed. They didn’t bring anything for Thanksgiving though. In fact, they pretty much just showed up, ate, and then announced they had to go.
They had to go back home so they could put up their chickens.
Anyway, that was my Thanksgiving. There’s always crazy stuff going on with my family get togethers, but I never foresaw I would ever eat Thanksgiving dinner with a man in a skirt. And don’t give me that lecture about how a kilt is not a skirt. If you’re not Scottish, it’s a skirt.
Although I don’t have personal knowledge of what he had under there and really, really don’t want any.
So tell me, what was the weirdest thing that happened at your Thanksgiving?