Friday, November 25, 2011
Diary of A "Real" Family Thanksgiving....Breaking it Down
Josh arrives in Albany Wednesday to spend the night with his Mema and Granddaddy before coming home. Their house is a furnace. It always is...a furnace. We like it cold. They need it to be warm. My Mama sits with blankets covering her body while my hot flashes make me feel close to self combustion. And Daddy's heart surgery has seriously reversed his need for cool. They will soon travel to my home, one following the other.
The cows are laying down, the fish ain't bitin'. Random words by Kornbread Jr when he comes back from a drive. Words spoken by KB Sr hundreds of times, as he passed hundreds of fields.
Everybody arrives. The house smells of every food imaginable. Everybody's eyes are big and stomachs are growling. The secret to eating all you want for dinner, is no breakfast. Hence, the eyes ravaging over my counter tops.
Stomachs are full. Eyes are sleepy. Football is roaring from the screen, the Lions are losing. Aaron Rogers is the bomb. Paterno is shameful. Sandusky has a disease. And a player is ejected for stomping on another player. The announcer "looks like he'll take a drink". Another KB Sr quote rolling out of KB Jr's mouth.
A 6'8" man works in our Wal-Mart. Scary to look at. Too big for his body. Not normal growth development. Yao Ming. For example. It's real.
Thoughts from a child in a house where the thermostat is set on 78 degrees...at 1am..."I can get ice cubes and line my bed ...lay down...and survive." Hot natured, hot flashes, it's all the same. He relates these thoughts to me, his mother...who is laughing so hard she is holding her sides.
Talks of unloading luggage and startling bumper stickers. "Republicans for Voldemort". A reference that has to be explained to me. And to his G-Daddy. Voldemort the Hitler of Harry Potter. Hilarious to his Ma. Not so much to his Republican G-Daddy.
To his grandson's, "When I dated your Mema, it was a battle from the get go. It started with Wednesday Prayer meeting, and turned into Church three times a week. Before that, she wouldn't even talk to me. Wouldn't give me a bag of popcorn even if I paid her back tomorrow." His daughter, "So, how in the heck did you two ever even start dating and end up together?" Stone cold serious Daddy replies, "Your Mama was just damned lucky". The room erupts with obnoxious, nose snorting laughter, and some serious doubt in the legitimacy of his statement. Somebody was very lucky, we're thinking it was him. But from the glow of her eyes across the room, maybe he's right. Real love.
Conversations around the table. Much later into the evening. Hippie son. Member of Fine Arts Master program. Seated next to him. Duplicate son of turnips greens and kornbread. Southern Alabama Mema and G-Daddy. And me, always the middle man. Segregation ~vs~ integration. Backs of school buses. Failing tests grades in most counties state wide. Perry Florida, White Only Section and Black Only Section in 2010. Mixed races, soon to be a one colored nation. Not in their time, but it's coming. Coloreds and Whites only, in 1950 we didn't use those ugly words. My boys don't see color. Just people. Years and generations apart.
Sullen faces, argumentative words. Gangs. All over the place. Ship those fighting, gun and knife toten' SOB's over to those countries that fight black on black. China has a two child limit law. That's what we need. I say, to Hippie son, you can't think like a gay man in order to understand fear of the black man. Hippie son says, I can't think like anyone else BUT a gay man. That's who I am. I'm more afraid of walking the dark streets as a gay man, anywhere, than walking the streets in a black neighborhood. Touche'.
Young KB Jr. injects, Praise the Lord, every five minutes or so. To keep the peace, or stir the pot. It's hard to tell. Sly winks and air head lifts tell me it may be the latter. Oldest liberal son, still not pleased with end result conversation. Grandparents, clearly, from another time, another place. Oldest Hippie son, bathes too much to be a true hippie. A high tech Bohemian at best. So say the staunch Republicans to my very liberal Democrat son.
It runs late, they decide they will stay. A sleepover is happening. I have a king size bed. Plenty of room. Mother and daughter will sleep together. PJ's are donned and it is dark. Talks of dark houses, old fishing stories, cholesterol checks, low iron, high blood pressure and medications, PaPa Josh and Sara MaMa, and how wonderful my kids, her grand kids truly are. I haven't slept with my mother since junior high school and bad dreams. Talking in the dark, voices low and soft. She sounds like a teenager. Laughter erupts from down the hall. KB Jr has cracked up Hippie son. True, loud, raucous laughter that vibrates the walls. We smile in the dark. I can't remember loving my mother more. She is my best friend.
Music is playing again. "My oh my you're so good looking, put together like a pair of bookends, but I've not tasted all your cooking, who are you when I'm not looking?"....Blake Shelton, a pair of lungs pure as gold.
Another year comes and goes. My family is learning. Open is revealing, honest, mind boggling, and tension filled. Open love forgives all, no matter what. Open hearts, accept the differences and embrace the likenesses. One holiday down. Memories stored. Respect honored. Love intact. Success.