11.26.2009

Jive Turkeys



Among national holidays, Thanksgiving was always my favorite. Great TV, no obligatory gift-giving and no heavy-handed religious themes. Just friends, food and family at Grandma's house, arguably the best place on Earth for any seven-year-old lucky enough to have grown up down the street from the old gal.

As has been the case for several decades, I won't be visiting grandma's house this Thanksgiving. Grandma lives in an assisted care home now, so her scene is less Norman Rockwell and more Norman Bates. Holiday spirits used to flow from me like the brandy in mom's egg nog. Now they squeeze out like canned cranberry sauce: soft and sweet when you get to it, but always surrounded by armor to preserve freshness.

As an adult I've hosted Thanksgivings for fellow loners, been taken in by gracious souls when the mood to cook didn't strike me, and crashed family gatherings as a total stranger. The former celebrations had their appeal, but the latter have been especially memorable.

One such soiree was Thanksgiving in Berkeley with my friend Holden Hume, his father, and Mr. Hume's nephew Colin. The venue was an artist's flat in the Bay Area's gentrified industrial ghetto. The crowd was an eclectic mix of waifs, strays, hippies, homosexuals and renaissance men. One gregarious fellow insisted on regaling gatherers with every booze-soaked story of his sordid life. That loud drunk was me. I've told Holden as much on many occasions, but I'll say it again: that Thanksgiving was the best of my adult life. Thanks, Norman, for making my San Francisco visits so memorable.

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2 comments:

Fashion Serial Killer with Glasses said...

i love thanksgiving as well. it's so different from when i was a kid tho. hope you still had a nice one this year. i ended up at my roommates parents house.

WordLab said...

Bummed I missed that one, Harold, but—because I know you and your legendary drunken rant potential, and know Holden and Norman, and their unique family dynamic—it feels like I was there.