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PROMPTuesday #210: All in the Family

November 27th, 2012

None for me, thanks.

 

It’s holiday ramp-up time! And what better way to usher in the season than to share our most dysfunctional family stories? I originally posted the story below on my “other” blog several years ago, but it still stands as my most shared seasonal delight.

 

Meanwhile, What’s your favorite family holiday story?

 

Include the link to your submission in the comments or feel free to leave your submission here, also in the comments section.

 

Meanwhile…to bone up on PROMPTuesdays, read a bit about it here.

 

Or, catch up on the PROMPTuesdays archive here.

 

It Goes Back, Way Back

 

Have I ever spoke of the Thanksgiving of ’75? For that’s when it was that I remember it starting.
I am talking about, of course, the moment I went nuts. And I mean this kinda literally.

 

I developed an inability to swallow foodstuffs. In fact, I don’t think I could consume liquids at this time either, but that might be fabricated. At any rate, I had an unnatural fear of choking, which arose, as these San Diego Momma things do, quite out of the blue.

 

My dad couldn’t handle it. Normally, he would just shove some food down my throat, but then I might, for real, choke, so he refrained and just yelled a lot.

 

It lasted for days. At that time (and never again, my friends) I was on the skinny side, so a few 24-hour periods of refusing food thinned me out in a scary way.

 

It was right before Thanksgiving and we were on our way to Minneapolis to visit my Aunt Marion and Uncle Jim and their kids. Minnesota was a good eight hours from Chicago, and the whole way I rebuffed the road food I used to look so forward to sliding whole down my gullet.

 

When we arrived at my aunt’s house, my dad was just beside himself. I’d gone nearly four days without eating, and no one — including myself — knew why I’d grown to believe I’d choke and die a writhing death if I ate food.

 

Finally, my father couldn’t take it anymore. It was Thanksgiving, for God’s sake! So, he broke his “no shoving food down the kid’s throat” rule and stuck a shelled peanut in my mouth. No matter that as a grown-up, he may have surmised that a peanut may not be the best “starter” food to stick into your crazy child’s mouth, when she feels she will choke on water.

 

So, I stood there in shock and just let the peanut dissolve slowly in my mouth over a period of hours. Some of it may have dribbled down the sides of my mouth, permanently cementing my loon status in the family, but that may be fabricated.

 

Anyhow, the peanut juice eventually made its way down my throat with the added bonus of not choking me. I was cured!

 

The Thanksgiving of ’75 was saved! My dad was a hero!

 

So that must’ve been when the nutting up all started.

 

Crazy waters run deep.

 

On November 27th, 2012, Christina said:

My sister and I wrung our hands. We were alone on Thanksgiving, left with a list of tasks to complete in the kitchen. We had finally managed to get the bird in the oven, but failed to notice for a couple of hours that the oven was not turned on.

We had not expected our mother to have to go to work too, but one of her patients had been admitted to the labor and delivery ward. The baby had a very rare genetic disorder, one that usually resulted in termination of the pregnancy, but the patient was Catholic. For my mom, it was a rare opportunity to learn more about the disease, and she had gone in to collect specimens for the pathology lab. Which was closed on Thanksgiving.

My sister and I scrambled to get dinner ready. In a salute to our Mexican heritage we prepared salsa, guacamole, rice, beans and mole sauce. We also made the usual trimmings – mashed potatoes, stuffing and sweet potatoes. Gizzards were boiled to make a broth. An apple pie with a lattice crust was assembled.

The hours slowly passed. Dinner was running late, but so were our parents. Finally, my mom rushed in, her “My Little Playmate” cooler in hand. She took off her coat and buzzed around the kitchen, making the final preparations for Thanksgiving dinner. The turkey was declared cooked, then carved and plated.

Just then, my dad got home from work. We sat down and feasted by candlelight.

Later that night, all the leftovers were put in little plastic food storage containers. In the refrigerator, they were nestled around My Little Playmate and stuffed wherever else there was room.

The next day, my mother brought the ill-fated baby’s placenta and the blood and tissue samples into the lab.

On November 28th, 2012, Green Girl in Wisconsin said:

Weird. But the mind is a powerful muscle.

On November 28th, 2012, Nancy said:

I don’t think I can top that one – amazing how stuff gets into our heads & sticks there for way too long.

I guess for me it’s a reminiscing about my childhood Christmas Eve celebrations.

Yes, I typically looked forward to Eve rather than Day; Christmas Day was anti-climactic (for me, anyway).

This Christmas Eve thing was started in the late 1950s, when the babies started pouring out, & someone in the family realized that Day was going to be a pain between the families.

But all I remember of those celebrations is fun, good cheer, and family. Yeah, there were a few I didn’t really want to hang with, but I re-emphasize: only very few (1 or 2, to exact).

Now you have to understand I come from a VERY extended family, what seemed like thousands of cousins (20 or so in reality), all crammed into my Aunt Stella’s teeny, tiny house…the younger cousins I hadn’t seen in a year…other cousins who always arrived super late…and, at a very young age…SANTA!

Santa made his entrance near the end of the eating and drinking by walking down the tiny staircase and into the cramped living room – when you have 20 or so cousins along with a bunch of aunts and uncles, well you tend not to have much room to maneuver – ringing bells, doing all the usual Santa stuff.

As I grew up, most of the other cousins and I would try to guess Santa’s identity…with varying success. And we would laugh about it afterwards, pointing out the good and not-so-good points of Santa’s get up…

I miss those days a lot. My aunts and uncles are all gone now, and my cousins have dispersed (like the diaspora of the 12 tribes of Israel in The Bible), but my mother still keeps in touch with a lot of the cousins – and my Aunt Stella is still alive and kicking at 95! (Or is 96? Something like that.)

That kind of family stuff will never come around again, and more’s the pity. I’m glad I lived through that time and enjoyed it.

On November 28th, 2012, San Diego Momma said:

I loved these stories.
Truly loved these glimpses into your lives.
Thank you for sharing.
XO

On December 3rd, 2012, San Diego Momma said:

And also? Writing supreme! You gals.

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