Wednesday, November 24, 2010

On Giving Thanks When It's Not in Your Nature

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and everyone, it seems, is cluttering up the Internets with reasons to be grateful. Since I don't do holidays (I know, I can hear you now: "He doesn't do vacations, he doesn't do holidays; what the hell does he do?" Well, I provide, dear reader, I provide), I was steering clear of all the folderol.

But, you know me, I got to thinking. Why go on being that mean old man you hated and feared when you were growing up? You remember him, Mr. Clovis, who lived on the corner of W 6th Street and N Ave D. He used to sit on his porch and make you believe he had a shotgun right inside his screen door, and he would blast you to kingdom come if you stepped on his grass or otherwise invaded his consciousness with your foolishness. Then when he died they found a vase of flowers there instead. Remember him?

Yeah, well, I don't want to be like that anymore. And even though I'm mad all the time at almost everybody I know, and even though I'm pissed about the condition of the world we all have to live in for the time being (New Orleans included), I figured I would dig and find some reason to be thankful. So dig I did, and, believe me, it took some doing, but I finally found one thing I decided I could be grateful for.

Family.

Both blood and chosen, natural and un-. But what is "family"? Well, to paraphrase the poet, "Family is those people who, when you have to go to them, they have to take you in." I mean, there might be an inheritance down the road. They don't know.

"Family" are those people who, when you're down and troubled and you need a helping hand, will turn to you and say, "Oh, snap out of it, for cryin' out loud." And you let them.

"Family" are those people who never stop incessantly inviting you over for holiday meals, even though they know you'll never show up. And they're relieved about that, but never mention it.

"Family" are those people who nag you to drive them to a movie you don't want to see, and then keep waking you up every time you fall asleep.

"Family" are those people you don't have to always talk to. You can all just sit there and be quiet.

"Family" are those people who will one day stand around your casket and tell mortifying stories about you for the benefit of anybody in hearing range, stories about the time you did this or the time when that thing happened to you and can you believe he once said ... ? And miss you.

"Family" are all those people you're stuck with and couldn't live without. We all have them. Deal with it.

And for crying out loud, snap out of it.
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