Depends on how you look at it: some people sure view my usual Thanksgiving assomehow tragic, home alone, going to this restaurant close to closing so the crowd will have thinned out. Maybe the fact I can do this is something to be thankful for.
Several years ago a niece who's about my age came to live with me after a divorce. Because her mother, my older sister, was divorced and living with mom and dad, the niece and I grew up more like brother and sister. This turn of events got things back to being that way, her kids actually believed I was their mother's brother.
And immediately I was doing what I have always done with my nieces and nephews when they moved in since before I was 10: I started taking care of the kids, I cooked, took them where they had to go, taught one to read. And the niece remarked that I had been the only one in the only one in the family that grew up ready to be a parent, yet I was the one that didn't become one as a teenager.
But who was there to be the mother? Certainly not the one shortlived girlfriend from my teen years, who abruptly dumped me when an older guy with money came looking for a trophy wife. She came back when I was in college, offering to take up where we left off, pointing out that now she's been married her attitude had changed about. . .certain activities which she now felt enthusiasm for. Yeah, right, she's on husband #5 right now, unless. . .well, unless she's moved on to #6, I don't keep track.
Perhaps that younger girl from the block when we were growing up? Her behavior was beyond the age difference, that one wasn't growing up. Her only friends were two girls 7 years younger than her. I didn't recognize her when she turned up again as an. . ."Adult." I'm sure she had some plastic surgery, that can't be the same face. When the niece came to visit, she didn't recognize this one either. She called her "Striking" (My compliments to the doctor, the face was a work of art) and "Evil." So when a local resident who "Worked in television" donated $1 million to save a classic old theater, she became obsessed with me. Well, I'd said I "Worked in television," but did I LOOK like I could give away a million at a time?
So when I didn't respond to her (Hey, I don't do evil. Not even cute evil, okay?) But she didn't spend all that money on that face to have only SOME men do as she says. She starts her little war of words. Not directly, just to customers at the restaurant, never figuring on some of them being people I know who therefore complain to the manager and get her a warning her job was in danger.
I could go on, say about the one from college who was having me meet her somewhere only so she could stand me up and laugh about it at school the next Monday. She turns up from time to time to try to kill me, for whatever reason. But you get the idea, the ONLY reason I don't have a family of my own is, it just hasn't gone well.
So I goto this little restaurant here that has the great Thanksgiving Dinner. It would be real easy to be bitter about sitting there alone, missing the great thanksgivings of my childhood. Except this is Thanksgiving around my family. Think of the alcohol consumed. Think of the pills swallowed. I have a LOT of older brothers and sisters. And at the last second here's Ma, no slouch at popping those painkillers, sends me off to get whatever, as in don't come back without it under pain of death. How did she always know what the first store was going to be out of ?
I suppose I was angry about it as a kid, but what about now and being thankful for what I missed? Mom's intentions were evil, here at age 10-12 I was the one telling people they'd had enough to drink and to start behaving like ADULTS. (Won't happen.) If they listened it ruined Mom's fun so she didn't want me there. At least Dad suffered in silence.
So my whole family won't be together for this or any thanksgiving, some may never be in the same room again. But that niece will have all her siblings over eventhough a couple have problems of their own. And her mother, my sister, will be there. The niece says she got a new lease on life when she was living with me, finishing high school and giving up the things that are guaranteed to cause problems. They wouldn't have rehab for it if it wasn't destroying you. Her mom is clean now, too.
I have gone for thanksgiving before, but they're in another state now and the trip wouldn't work. It was still nice to think about how I hadn't screwed anything up. All that I came from, I had not turned out the same. I even had the good sense to turn down trouble when it offered a good time. ( The one old girlfriend who was more favorably disposed towards doing things was cute with her REAL face.)
How many guys do I know that got married just TRYING to believe everything will be okay? In the first weeksrealizing they made a big mistake. One particular guy I grew up with, to whom I said "I'm bbegging ya, I'm PLEADING with ya, get that woman out of your life." Instead he married her, she has made his life a living hell, why couldn't he see that would happen?
So this woman I've known for awhile (Not well at all) seems to have a new attiitude toward me. Youknow how some people seem worried you're going to try to engage them in a conversation? That one boyfriend she had for awhile I thought was such a great match for her seems to be gone. Suddenly she's coming talking to me, telling me this going to school just a little while she works is about to end, she's gradating this spring. . . .
. . . .Or maybe I'm just imagining things. But I'm just glad I never screwed my life up and I'm in a position to make something happen if the opportunity arises.
Before I left the restaurant I heard the assistant manager complain that he'd already given up his thanksgiving for a 15 hour day, now they wanted the same for Christmas and he'd miss the time with his kids and he wouldn't do it. I had to tell him he was right, didn't have an answer to the problem but he should make time for his family. Sounds like there's nothing to be avoided there and everything to be missed.
And it may have been no fun being there, but at least I enjoy making a big joke about my miserable life. When I got home I started reading the board. This post not only got me started writing, it reminded me I'd brought home my piece of pumpkin pie, which would otherwise have spent the night in the car.
Let's be thankful for Mr. Kingfish.
Any sufficiently advanced technology is INDISTINGUISHABLE FROM MAGIC!
- Arthur C. Clarke