The idea of “home” morphs over time. As the years separate us from our hometowns, going back brings on more and more complexities. For me, I have watched Livingston morph from “home” into a sort of makeshift meeting ground for all of the dispersed family members. As I prepare to head to Livingston for the Day of Required Gluttony, my first family Thanksgiving in years, I envision home to resemble that bizarre cranberry gelatin stuff: a bit scary, difficult to explain but ultimately satisfying.
Since I last had a family Thanksgiving, my grandfather and uncle have passed away, my parents have separated, my other grandfather has fallen deep into Alzheimer’s and others have moved. So bringing the family together has taken on additional difficulties. My dad, his dad, my mom’s sister and her kids all still live in Livingston, so my mom decided to travel to them this year, as will I. My mom arrives in Whitefish on the Amtrak tonight and we take off as soon as Mr. Kellyn Brown frees me tomorrow.
I’m not much for holidays, other than seeing family. Getting time off from work isn’t bad either. But as far as the treasured American values of gluttony and materialistic hoarding, Thanksgiving and Christmas don’t do it for me. Gifts make me feel guilty because, in the big picture, I don’t really need anything more. Also, I can always eat until I’m sick when I’m by myself, though perhaps it’s more of a tender moment to share a violent stomachache with others. A holiday without family therefore holds little significance for me.
So needless to say I’m looking forward to this Thanksgiving more than any other before. When you’re spoiled with a long streak of family holidays, only to watch the bubble burst, you realize what you’ve taken for granted. This Thanksgiving, I’m ready to once again celebrate gluttony, with all its discomfort and artery issues, as a family.
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