In a patriarchal society, my grandmother was the matriarch of the family. The glue that held us together, if you will. Last Saturday, Jyg, Esmer and I had our annual Thanksgiving dinner sans Jerry – who was in San Antonio. It’s not so much a tradition that’s been going on for a while – well, at least not with them – but it’s something I’m hoping to conintue for years to come. Anyway, we got to discussing family rituals of Thanksgiving. Jyg commented on how her family doesn’t have dinners every year and Esmer went on to say that since everyone was grown up, it was hard to get everyone together. I laughed, remembering my grandmother’s hold on her family. Because that’s what we were – her family.
Granted, we might not have subscribed to the same dogma, philosophy or whatever – half the time we probably didn’t even like each other with sibling rivalries or whatever. There wasn’t anything more important than Thanksgiving, nothing that kept you away. And if you questioned it, she’d give you the worse tongue lashing you can imagine. You didn’t go against abuela, didn’t question her. You did what you were expected to do and showed up on time. Otherwise there’d be hell to pay. Things weren’t the same when she passed away. We all drifted in our directions, allowed our rivalries or whatever to get in the way. We became too busy to do things. We were strangers at the table, not a family.
My mother isn’t as headstrong as home was – despite the stubbornness that she inherited – which I inherited, as well. Whether my apathy about the world or my misanthropic view point on the world – my family – rubbed off on her, she doesn’t like to meddle in the affairs of others. Chismes, my grandmother would call it; the family had no place for gossip.
When I decided to revive the Thanksgiving tradition, I didn’t know what to expect. For a while, we had all three brothers gathering at Mom’s house but we dwindled. Jay started working on Thanksgiving, Melissa would shuttle the kids to her mothers. Martin and his family would still come around, until it was decided that we would split the holidays – Martin had Thanksgiving, I had X-mas and Jay had New Year’s. Eventually, Jay got the latter two holidays and I would only be responsible for the main course for X-mas. Due to some misinformation this year, I was back behind the stove preparing Thanksgiving dinner. Once again, chismes befell the family.
It’s not my place to butt in my thoughts on the affairs of others. My grandmother most certainly would, however. She’s give her grandmotherly advice, remind you of the vows you took before (G)od, etc. If it didn’t work out, then it didn’t work out. It was just the way it was, the way it was written. I never had the impression that she liked Javier much so whether she talked to my mother about divorce back in the day is beyond me. If anything, she was the gravity of my mother’s decision. Again, there is no evidence to conclude this.
So despite the turn of events this year, I can only think of one thing. Yesterday was a good day. Jyg, Izzy and I took my nephew Jaycob to the park. In his hand, Jaycob dragged a cat toy tied to a shoelace behind him. It belonged to Dexter, whom Jaycob loved – though, the feeling wasn’t mutual.
“In memory of Dexter,” Jyg said. Izzy made a comment to which Jyg replied, “I think it’s sweet to do something in memory of someone.”
Yeah, so do I.
- Literary Thanksgiving Dinner (huffingtonpost.com)
- Thanksgiving and Memories (jeannenelson.blogspot.com)
- Dater X: Ghosts Of Thanksgiving Beaus Past (thefrisky.com)
- Tell Us Your Thanksgiving Horror Stories [Thanksgiving Of Horrors] (gawker.com)