American Thanksgiving

Photo by RODNAE Productions on

Lots of people have warm fuzzy memories of Thanksgiving dinners past. My most prominent Thanksgiving Day memory is of arguing with my Grandma over not eating turkey (I was an adult vegetarian).

To Grandma, feeding people was how she expressed her love for them. Me not eating her Thanksgiving turkey (from her perspective) was like spitting in her face and saying, “Your love means nothing to me; I don’t want it!”

From my perspective it was, “This isn’t love; it’s a dead bird and I don’t want to eat it.” I begged her, “I’m eating! Look at all the other food you made that I’m eating – this table is brimming with all kinds of veggies and grains and fruits — I’m eating ALL of them. And of course I love you Grandma; you mean the world to me!”

Then Grandma would get mad & say, “Oh [name only my family calls me]! It’s THANKSGIVING. You’re ruining it for EVERYONE. Why do you have to be that way?!?” and disappear into the kitchen crying.

Some of the family would follow Grandma into the kitchen to comfort her. Some would stay at the table and chow down in silence. Some would chastise me for being so stubborn. (“Why can’t you just eat it this ONCE … for Grandma? It means so much to her!”) Occasionally someone would whisper, “Don’t worry about it; she’ll get over it.”

Over the years I’ve discovered that my family wasn’t the only one that ever fought on American Thanksgiving. Between cuisine, football, doing the dishes, and whose relatives were at which table where … apparently arguing on Thanksgiving is almost a national pastime.

What a bizarre way to thank God for a bountiful harvest.

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