My Thanksgiving Weekend: An Essay
Thursday morning my parents and I set off of the Eastern Shore. The drive down was nice. They even liked the mix I made (with one exception). This is not unusual but I didn’t expect them to enjoy, it wasn’t really to their general taste. My dad now really likes Aimee Mann and my mom loves Echo and the Bunnymen. This amuses me.
When we arrived from what could be described as a relaxing drive into utter chaos. My mother’s family is large and boisterous might be the kindest word. There 25 people in my grandparents rather small house. That was fine. I don’t dislike my family (in small doses). As the evening progressed the libations flowed quite freely (leaving casualties of Bacchus in it’s wake). One of my aunts didn’t quite make it to the table. It took no less than thirty minutes to round everyone to say grace and eat. By then the Turkey was room temperature and the mash potatoes were almost cold. I was not pleased. The up side was the stuffing might have been the best I’ve ever had. It was an early night and we retired to our hotel at around 10.
Friday was not nearly as pleasant. The number of people actually grew by 10. How this happened I could not say but it did. The food was better but my patience with my family wasn’t. We went over for breakfast after a bit of shopping (a sweater and books for me, my dad got the last season of The West Wing on DVD too) and descended on a madhouse from some Dickensian novel; hungry children, adults so hung-over they couldn’t function and the stern eye of the watchman making everyone a bit nervous (my step-grandmother, who I love but is intimidating as hell). I tried to find a quite place to read but there was none. I tried to go outside for some peace and quite and there too was the never ending throng of humanity. Always with questions, a never ending stream of the same three inquiries; “Who are you texting?” (“None of your business”) “So…how’s school going?” (“It’s fine, I like my classes. They are really interesting…[and as I’m about to say more they lose all interest and walk away]”) “Why do you have that pained look on your face all the time Greg?” (“Because unlike everyone else in this family I can’t justify drinking hard liquor at 10am…straight”). It went down from there. My Grandfather saved me though. He talked to me about history, philosophy, wine (the enjoyment of not the chugging), what books I’m reading and what I’m going with my life (more than just “I’m fine”). We spent most of the night drinking scotch (Johnnie Walker Blue Label) and talking about Beat poetry and German philosophy. The title of the post is a refernce to his link between Duke Ellington and Ginsberg that I was baffled by. I loved it. He and I are about the same. That redeemed all the annoying stuff that really shouldn’t have matter. So here is your Thanksgiving lesson gentle reader; holidays are for family and eating too much and being crazy, but don’t get caught up in the Yule-tide bullshit. It isn’t worth it…
It is a heap of work and school until my last exam on the 19th (I think that is the date; my teacher keeps moving it). Papers and obligation abound but all I can think about is the bed waiting for me in Southern Maryland this weekend. It isn’t Monday yet and Friday can’t come soon enough. Time to work on my paper about a dreamer, a cad, a deeply insecure boy trapped in circumstances and responsibilities beyond him (or anyone), and a man who wanted so badly to do right all he did was wrong. Wilson makes my heart sick. If I can fuck up as beautifully as him I could call my life complete and well lived. The road to hell is truly paved with the good intentions of misguided idealism. What a way to go though.