Thanksgiving, 1997: Since my Mom and Grandma traveled to Colorado to celebrate the holiday with my Aunt, I didn’t have any other immediate family in the area. As a result, I was invited to celebrate this particular Thanksgiving with my girlfriend and her family. This gal I was dating (we’ll call her Dawn) was living near downtown St Paul with her 4-year old son. I actually first met her when we were both in eighth grade but hadn’t seen her since High School when we reconnected a few months earlier.
Anyhow, her Mom, Dad and 14-year old adopted sister got there about a half hour late. Dawn’s Dad was this crusty, belligerent guy who didn’t like leaving his recliner. So when it was time to leave their house, he snuck out for a walk down the street, hoping his wife and daughter would leave him behind. Needless to say, they waited for him to get back home before leaving for Dawn’s place. Dawn’s 350 lb. brother then showed up in a t-shirt, ratty sweat pants and obvious disdain showing on his face. He would go on to inform the family that he would not be leaving his apartment on Christmas day. “I just want to keep to myself that day”, he declared. To me, the holidays are all about enjoying family and being able to put aside the daily stresses of life. But just a couple of hours with Dawn’s family and I would have preferred to have my bladder removed with the salad fork then spend another millisecond there.
Dawn & I parted ways within a week after what was easily my worst Thanksgiving holiday ever.
Thanksgiving, 1987: Since we now had the bigger house, my Mom decided to host Grandma J. for Thanksgiving. Usually it was the other way around since we had lived in a two-bedroom apartment all those years and Grandma had an actual home. On this Thanksgiving, the Vikings were to play the Dallas Cowboys at 3:00 pm. Having finished dinner by 2:00, my brother and I decided to kill some time by going out front and hitting a few tennis balls with the baseball bat. Yes, despite it being late November and 35 degrees, we still had baseball fever less than a month removed from the Twins winning the World Series. Once it struck 3:00, we headed in to watch what turned out to be an exciting football game. The Vikes led 38-24 in the 4th quarter only to have Dallas comeback and tie it at 38. The game went to OT with running back Darrin Nelson scoring on a TD run to give the Vikes a 44-38 victory! Food, family and football. How can you not love a day like that?
Thanksgiving, 1977: Despite the fact I have a near impeccable memory, I don’t recall where I was on this Turkey Day when I was age 8 ½. I’m going to assume we did as we always did and went to Grandma J’s place. Turkey, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie. You know, the usual.