November 25, 2016

I saw fewer articles than usual on the subject of how to get along with your politically annoying relatives on Thanksgiving.

Did the media actually back off on this perennial topic or did I manage to avert my eyes? There was more reason to draw attention to it, because of the election, but maybe that's why it was avoided: It's no longer viewed as lighthearted subject but a matter of somber suffering. Or maybe it's that these ultra-predictable holiday stories are written in advance, and the shocking election results made all the pre-written stuff useless. It would have been about how to gently soothe-taunt your loud-mouth, Trump-loving uncle. That sort of thing. And task of finding fun and pop-psychology advice in the scenario in which said uncle got what he wanted was just too surreal and daunting.

Anyway, how did your Thanksgiving proceed? Did you have a big family gathering, and if so, was it Norman-Rockwellish (with smiles and love) or Slate-Magazinish (with political strife)? Or did you ignore Thanksgiving or observe it completely alone? Or did you, like me, spend it with one other person? If alone or with only one other person, did you try to make the experience resemble a big-family Thanksgiving or did you do something nontraditional? We ate steak and — I am not kidding — binge-watched "BoJack Horseman."

113 comments:

sean said...

As befits "Union Club Republicans," we went to a club (actually not the Union Club) with friends. If we had stayed at home, it would have been just two of us, as our daughter went to have Thanksgiving with her boyfriend's family. Since everyone was a Union Club Republican, there wasn't any political strife; we all agreed that Peter Salovey is an idiot. Mostly we talked about other things.

MikeR said...

My family on the West Coast are all flaming liberals; wouldn't think of inviting them for Thanksgiving.
No, but seriously, we get along fine; we're just too far apart to get together that often. Besides, my brother there was a Bernie Sanders supporter who eventually voted for Donald Trump out of sheer disgust. I have no idea whether he and my mother ever talk about it. I don't ask her; she must be bitterly disappointed in the results.
Everybody gets way too fussed about this stuff. The future of the world is indeed at stake, but none of us really understands what's the best thing to do about it. We are all sure we do, but we don't.
Maybe this election will teach some people that being sure isn't the same thing as being right. I was certainly surprised.

Tank said...

Mrs. Tank and I spent our first Thanksgiving in NC without family, just the two of us. It was ... weird, not the best thing about moving south. Definitely missed my girls, my grand dog, and my brother and his wife (the usual before we moved). Except for the enormous meal Mrs. Tank prepared, a pretty normal retired day. Nice. Mrs. Tank and I did not talk about politics, although this year might be the most we ever did talk about politics; Mrs. Tank doesn't usually bother to vote (i.e. they're all crooks), but this year she registered in NC and went to vote against the Big V (OK, she doesn't call her that). Proud that we helped push Trump over the line in NC.

Curious George said...

Usually I spend Thanksgiving with one of my kids and maybe a sibling. This year we went back east and had a sort of "reunion" holiday, which also included children of cousins that I hadn't met. The causal reason was the 80th b-day of my aunt, the last surviving sibling on my late mother's side. Usual weirdness but no political talk by unspoken common consent it seems.

Deb said...

We managed to keep politics to a minimum, until the daughter and her fiance left to go to his family's dinner. It was a lovely, happy day.

walter said...

" written in advance, and the shocking election results made all the pre-written stuff useless."

Well..they could be easily re-worked with a few search and replace edits in Word.
However, maybe some are still holding out hope for an election reversal.

In a mixed family setting yesterday, not a peep about the election...even from my know it all niece who is a UW prof.
I did overhear a whispered remark from my nephew to his Dad about insurance issues and hoping the scenario changes soon.

Laslo Spatula said...

Excerpt from "Black Blood, Black Seed":

"Hello, Benjamin."

"Miss Christina! It's Thanksgiving! Shouldn't you be with your family, rather than talking to a black man here in the Town Square?"

"What does it matter? My shame is too large to fit within my family's festive dining room. Ever since our moment together my life has been lived under a dark, dark shadow. I know what the Good People are saying about me now, in whispered tones and smug smiles..."

"Yeah, it's a bitch, ain't it? I get a lot of the white girls comin' back to me and sayin' the same damn thing."

"You mean I was not the only one for you, Benjamin? I was not your only white woman? I did not think it possible to be sadder than being alone on Thanksgiving, but I now find that I was so very wrong."

"Sorry, Miss Christina. It's just that a lot of you fancy Southern white girls like to suck on the black man's man-root."

"It's a broken world, Benjamin."

"If it makes you feel any better Miss Christina, you were the only white girl who ever swallowed."

"I am not sure how that makes me feel."

"Miss Christina, it was powers beyond your control. The Lord done gave us black men a cold hard road, but for whatever reason he made our man-roots irresistible to white women. Us black men call this power the boogedy-boogedy."

"The boogedy-boogedy, Benjamin?"

"Oh, yeah. We black men just have to get a bit of that sweaty sheen on our skin and the white women come a-runnin."

"I am just another fallen white woman of good lineage: I see that now."

"Yeah, it's a funny world, all right. Being that you're now fallen and all, would you like some more boogedy-boogedy, Miss Christina?"

"Benjamin, I am afraid that I am too emotionally tired to open my mouth that wide."

"I understand, Miss Christina. You have a good day now, you hear?"

"Thank you, Benjamin. I hope today brings you more boogedy-boogedy, if that is what you desire."

"Aw, Miss Christina: I'm going home and eating a big plate of turkey with the cranberries and the watermelon. You want to come along?"

"That is a kind and generous offer, Benjamin, but I prefer to stay here alone and wallow in my despair. It is all I have now."

"You know -- no disrespect -- I just don't understand you white people sometimes."

"No disrespect taken, Benjamin. God has given us fallen Southern white women an especially heavy cross to bear."

"I guess so, him surrounding you with all these strong virile black men and all."

"Something like that, Benjamin: something like that..."

I am Laslo.

gspencer said...

Here's how it went,

"Alright, you had your meal. We spent time together. We caught up. Now get out."

JSD said...

Did anyone see the Apple - Frankenstein commercial that played during the football games? It features the village welcoming the not-so-scary “monster” in Christmas caroling. We all laughed when my sister said it was Apple’s way of welcoming Trump to “their” village.

Bruce Hayden said...

Just the two of us here too. Hope this doesn't become the rule.

A lot of the lecturing seems to have been coming from the left over the years. They had history on their side, and just had to tolerate their troglodyte relatives a couple times a year. But this time, if politics came up with their conservative family members, the likely response would have been "you lost". Ha, ha, ha. No more smug distains looking down on your backwards conservative relatives if they are going to laugh at you for supporting That Wretched Woman. And, if they are Berniebots, then getting snookered by her. Not a government d Thanksgiving to be a leftist, esp a supporter of Crooked Hillary. The left doesn't like being ridiculed, and that is the likely result of them opening their mouths this year.

Bruce Hayden said...

Sorry, should have been "Not a good Thanksgiving to be a leftist, esp a supporter of Crooked Hillary" Apple Spellcheck strikes again.

victoria rodriguez said...

Husband, lawyer son, and myself. We are Libertarians (previously Republicans). Lobster, clams, oysters, veggies, apple pie, and libations. My husband argued that the natives were probably eating seafood, not a bird. I think turkey is now officially out for future Thanksgivings!

Conserve Liberty said...

Post-election, my wife and I were dis-invited 'for our own comfort' from the long-planned, large family gathering hosted this year by our son's in-laws. Consequently our son and daughter-in-law and incipient twins hosted us at their house. Of course the younger cousins were disappointed, having planned to spend quality time tittering over 'twin baby belly' and the like.

The hostess Aunt tried to turn it back on us, claiming we refused to come and listen to everyone else moan about Trump. Of course our son and daughter-in-law refuted that narrative email, Reply-All, demanding Hostess-Aunt own her rudeness - and her election loss.

Ever the Christian Peacemaker, my wife called Hostess Aunt and graciously told her, "We don't want to hurt you. You've suffered enough. Just tell them you wanted to have a family-only Thanksgiving this year."

We watched 'Planes, Trains and Autombiles.'

iowan2 said...

A very good Thanksgiving to this point. The children showed up Wed. evening. 6 grandkids under 6 years old, in tow. Lots of togetherness, and fun. Thanksgiving day, they all left for other family events and returned in the evening. Today, repeat. I'm liking the routine. Family, with quiet time alone with the better half to just be together and relax. Tomorrow they land for the entired day of fun, and Rock salt encrusted Prime Rib.

Bruce Hayden said...

The only thing I saw close was an article over at The Truth About Guns about relatives who don't want guns in their house. Apparently, a relative of a police officer all of a sudden fearful about the concealed handgun that he was supposed to carry 24/7 outside his house. Never met NDA that he had been in her house, with that same gun, numerous times over the years. But apparently the mere presence of firearms was supposedly going to set off a bloody altercation around the Thanksgiving table. My thought was that the distraught hostess was probably worried that this likely Crooked Hillary voter was worried about being shot when she broke down and attacked a family member for ridiculing her for voting for That Wretched Woman. Otherwise, her sudden fear of her police officer family member's gun made little sense. A gun she likely has never seen, despite all the times that she has been around it.

The Vault Dweller said...

Perhaps this is another reason I should be thankful, but I've never experienced these tense political situations at my families' thanksgivings. And no, it is not because everyone in the family shares uniform politics. It is just that everyone in the family has what I thought was common sense, but it is apparently good sense, to not to loudly talk about politics around other members of the family who hold strongly opposing viewpoints. These are the fruits of being in a somewhat passive, largely non-confrontational family.

The negatives include discovering the nonchalant comment made prior to thanksgiving, "Oh, you don't need to bring anything we have plenty. If you want to bring a plate of vegetables you could, but we already have more than we want." Really means, "I want you to bring a nice plate of vegetables with dip. I'm counting on you to bring this plate. If you don't bring it I will be upset."

EDH said...
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DrSquid said...

Must disagree with our hostess on the first issue, I saw more of those usual articles than ever this post-election Thanksgiving, from both sides of the issues. Maybe it's because I spent more time enjoying political reading on the web this time.
For the big day itself just Mrs Squid and I here and it was a very nice Rockwellian for two kind of day: big delicious dinner, bottle of Pinot Noir and discussed politics all we wanted, with no rancor since we are pretty much in agreement on those topics. Had decided months ago not to attend my family's gathering back home. They are a collection of Dems of every stripe: a brother in-law who is actually quite conservative, but is a mother's milk democrat who still always pulls the lever for them because they're his team; a niece who is a To-furkey eating progressive (but hatred-free) who was 100% in on the I'm With Her team. A brother who doesn't trust any of them and probably didn't vote, another life long Dem brother who would view a Trump win as further evidence of his superiority over the rest of the population; and various nieces and nephews raised on pot and progressive politics. I did not want to hear their gloating over what was sure to be the first female president. Our kids went to the gathering and I advised them not to be the first to bring up the election, but if the topic comes up then have at it if you want. Kinda wish I i had gone now however, just to add some balance to the discussion

surfed said...

Norman style. Speaking of which, I made a pilgrimage to his studio in Stockbridge, Mass this fall on a two lane road trip up the Appalachians. Lovely area of the United States...

EDH said...

I had dinner with my sister in the kitchen. My mother died at home last week in a hospital bed set-up in the dining room. It was a little too soon, even though its the room where we had Thanksgiving for the previous 50 or so years. I had even joked with my mother about us needing to serve Thanksgiving dinner on top of her bed, before she died, of course.

As for politics, my mother lost complete interest in the election when her health went south. A lesson in perspective.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Just us two, and the cats, this Thanksgiving, and we stayed off politics (er, most of the time; Betsy DeVos is a mite contentious between us -- I like her private/charter school vouchers, and he [public school teacher] does not.)

I made Cook's Illustrated's "twice-cooked duck," which is a bit of a production, but fabulous. And rice pilaf, and broccoli. Didn't watch anything beyond the news, but did listen to Don Giovanni. At least, I got to hear Act 1; Act 2 was hubby, noise-canceling headphones, and the Air-Dyne.

I cannot imagine the atmosphere were we to have gone home to my folks'. It was bad enough years ago. What it would be like now Trump has one is simply impossible to describe.

Bruce Hayden said...

I had dinner with my sister in the kitchen. My mother died at home last week in a hospital bed set-up in the dining room. It was a little too soon, even though its the room where we had Thanksgiving for the previous 50 or so years.

Sorry to hear that. We had something very similar last month, but their bed was in the family room between the kitchen and the dining room. So, the family plans kinda fell apart yesterday, after my partner backed out, not being able to eat at the early seating that my brother had set up at the country club. Going up there today, hopefully, with a birthday cake for him, if we get to baking.

MadisonMan said...

EDH, I'm sorry about your Mom.

We had a smaller crowd than normal in part because MIL is in rehab, recovering from surgery. Yet we still made the same amount of food that 8 or 9 would have eaten even though only 5 were there. Leftovers.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Er, in the last sentence, that should be "won," not "one." I seem to make that sort of mistake all the time now.

Freeman Hunt said...

What happened to the courageous example of the guy in jammies explaining progressive truths to his backwards family?

walter said...

Blogger gspencer said...Here's how it went,"Alright, you had your meal. We spent time together. We caught up. Now get out."
--
Heh..at least they didn't meet you in the driveway with a to go bag;)

rhhardin said...

I can't remember the last official thanksgiving dinner. Probably in the 50s.

Bruce Hayden said...

What does someone who voted for That Wretched Woman say to her family members, who voted for Trump? That he was temperamentally unsuited? He has been a lot more conciliatory than she would have been. That he is unprepared? Cabinet selection is going a lot more smoothly and professionally than it would have gone with her. That he is a horrible person? Why? That he is a sexual abuser? What then about the much worse sexual abuser that That Wretched Woman has defended in public, and would have brought back into the White House? Crooked Hillary voters were being put between a rock and a hard place, and the best thing that they could do, would be to not even mention politics. Nothing to gloat about, be superior about, etc. No rational reason to vote for her, just: Vagina. Hard to defend in polite company.

retail lawyer said...

I got a sympathy “orphan invite” from a neighbor. A few weeks ago my German Shepherd was able to find her runaway Jack Russell Terrier because he likes the dog and can track. So we both got an invite because we are considered heroes.
Her extended family was over, and appeared to consist of mostly lesbians. Her adult children were briefly there before going off to the dad’s house. They are in college, and I really wanted to ask them about the safe spaces, etc., but knew better.
There was much talk about California and its past, as the host and I and much of her family are 5th generation native Californians. There was much talk about the Theranos situation, as some amongst us had peripheral connections to some of the players (but not me). People were surprisingly sympathetic to its founder.
A young lady who produced and edited a story for the NPR story corps series was there talking about the controversy it spawned. It was a truly excellent story that I happened to hear broadcast a few months ago. I was the only person to have heard it!
There was no talk of politics whatsoever. I assume they are Clinton voters all, but I don’t really know. I am so accustomed to snide asides, but there were none. Very nice!

tcrosse said...

I had the pleasure of explaining why collecting a lot of signatures is not going to get rid of the Electoral College. The payoff is that the guy I was explaining it to is an attorney.

Michael said...

15 people across the political and age spectrum. Not. One. Word. Of. Politics.

Francisco D said...

My girlfriend and I went to a friend's house for Thanksgiving. She invited us because she cannot stand much of her extended family and we served as buffers.

It was a surprising day. Several were cigarette smokers, but none were drinkers. Only my girlfriend and I had wine. What's a family holiday without booze?

I talked extensively with our friend's mother, but politics were never brought up. It's definitely a divided crowd when it comes to Trump-Clinton, but no one was so upset as to bring it up. In other words, they acted like adults.

The brothers and sisters and their spouses and kids were draped around the TV set watching movies. There was NO FOOTBALL! We excused ourselves and went home to watch a few games.

robinintn said...

@brucehayden - I learned last night that they aren't limited by reason or truth, as the pack of wealthy leftists who are most of my extended family smirked and giggled about what a stupid, racist, misogynist fucking asshole I am, (as a Trump voter), then planned to fly to the inauguration to "protest for women", then a 17 yo cousin congratulated herself at length on how much the redneck hillbillies at a high school party had appreciated her correcting their misconceptions about "late term" abortion. Apparently, it never happens, and is just made up by the patriarchy to further oppress her. The adults ate that up, although I must question how much the hillbillies really appreciated her clarification. Then we ate tamales, which had been previously prepared by the "help", and we all congratulated ourselves on our diversity. In that spirit, I drank a shitload of tequila, and hoped they will keep it up, as it will guarantee Trump's re-election.

Robert Cook said...

My view is that there is no reason to sully holiday family gatherings with political arguments. No one's mind will be changed and only rancor will result, spoiling the gathering.

khesanh0802 said...
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khesanh0802 said...
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khesanh0802 said...
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JAORE said...

Absent our son's girl friend (working); my daughter, her partner and her two kids, we had the whole family over. Alas daughter lives over 800 miles away.
The ten of us, and 5 dogs (two ours) feasted way too much. Turkey, Judy's corn bread dressing (oh Lawdy-loo!), gravy, cranberries, broccoli casserole, sweet potato casserole, pineapple casserole, green bean casserole, mac and cheese, stuffed mushrooms, pecan pie, sweet potato pie, chocolate cake, cheese ball, cheese straws, and more.....

No one tell Doc Killjoy, please.

No political disharmony. Dogs all get along. Tons left over, tons carried away in various directions. All in all a terrific day.

May you all have such in the years to come.

LarsPorsena said...

Blogger Robert Cook said...
My view is that there is no reason to sully holiday family gatherings with political arguments. No one's mind will be changed and only rancor will result, spoiling the gathering.
------------------------------------------------

True, true, and very true.

Robert Cook said...

Referencing Francisco D's post @ 9:24 AM, the only thing worse at a family gathering than political arguments is FOOTBALL. That omnipresent ordeal of tedium should be banned from television.

khesanh0802 said...

My wife and I had a pleasant day. We grazed through the day with Alabama breakfast casserole for brunch, woodcock pate' for cocktail hour ( with a delightful, dry sparking cider from Eve's Cidery in NY) and a wonderful crustless squash pie with whipped cream and coffee for dessert. We walked the dogs a couple of times around our property, read and watched a little football. Very strenuous!

One of the young men who hunts our place got a 10 point buck in the early morning. Nice to see we have such quality deer ( as well as big numbers) sharing pasture with the horses!

Eve's Cidery

Henry said...

Good sized traditional Thanksgiving at my in-laws. Surprisingly little political conversation at all. Someone brought up Jill Stein's recount fundraising, but even among a crowd of liberals and super liberals, no one really cared enough to care.

robother said...

An odd conglomeration of friends and friends off friends rather than family (most of my brothers and sisters are of the Progressive persuasion.)

We talked religion, not politics (Catholic vs. Buddhist). An uproarious time was had by all, but no personal traumas were inflicted. The age of religious wars has truly passed. My daughter initiated a new Thanksgiving tradition of Patron tequila shots as dessert.

mockturtle said...

Nice, quiet Thanksgiving Day with my dog in my small RV. Cooked the usual Thanksgiving fare and watched football most of the day. While I miss sharing the dinner and the day with kids and grandkids in WA, I wouldn't trade the warmth and sunshine of AZ for it.

Virgil Hilts said...

I order to avoid politics (and so as not to potentially offend anyone, including the older & inevitably grossly overweight relatives from Ohio), our thanksgiving ritual is now composed of each person reading aloud their favorite Laslo posts from the prior 12 months.

Sebastian said...

Big crowd. Much food. Little argument. All good.

madAsHell said...

I'm reading the comments, and I'm glad my Mexican-American in-laws are more conservative than myself.
Today, is football, tryptophan, and alcohol.
Tomorrow, we will have folks over to make tamales.

mockturtle said...

Cookie opined: My view is that there is no reason to sully holiday family gatherings with political arguments. No one's mind will be changed and only rancor will result, spoiling the gathering.

I agree but it seems there is usually at least one who can't help her/himself.

traditionalguy said...

We are spending 5 days with daughter's family and grandkids ages 7,12 & 14. In Lithia, Florida. That is 5 distinct personalities and all very intelligent. They are nice people. Son in law. Is a tall
Irish, raised Catholic in Connecticut, a Duke graduate who basketball and Bruce Springsteen. Other than
That he is normal.

The Trump vote was unanimous. The 7 year old girl thanked God he beat Crooked Hillary. The beautiful daughter is a descendant of Mayflower passengers, so that figures. Presbyterians stick together.


dbp said...

We normally have a lot of in-laws over, but this year not so many. Politics-wise, it didn't really matter: Most of them are Democrats but not real arguementative and politics hardly comes up.

Later in the day is when problems crop-up. We have dinner with family around 2:00 and then neighbors come over about 6:30 for desserts, appetizers and libations. They are usually very politically combative and while we like them, it is kind of a drag when they feel like "There is something that must be said" etc. This year, the subject did not come up. This year it was all about what the kids (who were here) are doing in college and high school.

It was nice. Had a lot of football on the TV as well.

Sydney said...

Spent it with my elderly parents, an aunt, a cousin (all rabid anti-Trumpers on Facebook), my husband and two college-age kids (no idea how they voted or who they supported) and myself. It was very nice. I warned my kids that grandma had become a rabid Trump hater beforehand, but there wasn't a peep about current politics. We discussed Abraham Lincoln, John Adams, the American Revolution, Mary Todd Lincoln, the French Revolution, the current state of American healthcare, why British television shows and movies seem to be so much better than ours, but never veered over to Trump or Clinton. It was a beautiful day. My son, also a rabid anti-Trumpster on Facebook, face-timed from Hawaii where he was vacationing and shared the view from the summit of a mountain he had just hiked. It was a lovely holiday.
On the other hand, I met a colleague at the hospital this morning who said his family cancelled Thanksgiving because they were so divided over the election. Sad.

Francisco D said...

LOL Cookie!

Football is how we keep the cis gendered patriarchy going.

mockturtle said...

Virgil says: I order to avoid politics (and so as not to potentially offend anyone, including the older & inevitably grossly overweight relatives from Ohio), our thanksgiving ritual is now composed of each person reading aloud their favorite Laslo posts from the prior 12 months.

Good idea. No one would be offended by Laslo. Actually, reading Laslo before dinner might be a good diet aid for your Ohio kin. In fact, dinner might be rendered unnecessary. ;-)

Laslo Spatula said...

Sketchy Guy Who Works at the Adult Bookstore says:

Don't know the reason, but we sold more transsexual porn than normal on Thanksgiving: the "Chicks With Dicks" aisle was certainly bustling as we played Christmas music for the start of the Holiday Season...

A lot of the men were fairly well attired and groomed: divorced fathers without their children for the day, I'm thinking. No family to be with, maybe a frozen turkey dinner or chicken pot pie with a beer, and an evening of masturbating to transsexuals with giant boobs and giant cocks. Or even small cocks: there is a whole Tranny sub-genre where the smaller the cock is the better, like a gateway drug to the harder stuff...

Maybe the Holidays makes some people more transgressive in their tastes as a push-back against society-enforced cheer: I don't know, it was just something I thought about while ringing up sales of films from the "Tranny Hoes in Panty Hose" and "Transsexual Babysitters" series...

At least the store didn't make the mistake it made last year, when it ordered large quantities of Thanksgiving-themed porn. No one buys that shit: it was in the bargain bin before the weekend ended. A guy dressed like a grade-school play Pilgrim fucking a girl with a feather in her hair to symbolize her being an Indian, in front of a folding table with a paper tablecloth and a cheap plastic cornucopia on it: like anyone is going to watch THAT again two days later, unless the anal is REALLY good..

One guy DID ask me if the little market down the street sold Cool Whip, so maybe he DID have someplace festive to be, or maybe he just liked to masturbate with Cool Whip: questions like that I don't bother to ask...

I am Laslo.

Birches said...

Sorry EDH.

I agree with another poster. I thought there were more articles than last year, even the NYT had something.

We had friends come over. They are moving out of state at the end of the year. They were in charge of the turkey and the oven element went out at their house. So dinner was delayed by an hour and a half. No one minded. Dinner was fantastic.

Politics did come up at the end of the evening, as our guest brought up the Drudge troll Black Friday headline. He said, "have you ever heard of Drudge?" My spouse, figured it was ok to let the cat out of the bag about my politics habit. We discussed the election for awhile. None of us voted for Trump, but didn't think it was going to be the end of the world. In fact, we liked what we saw so far.

Michael K said...

Everybody gets way too fussed about this stuff. The future of the world is indeed at stake, but none of us really understands what's the best thing to do about it. We are all sure we do, but we don't.

My children are about equally divided between left and right. No family gathering this year. Just the two of us and we had a quiet dinner with football after.

Somehow I knew Cookie hated football.

My younger son had to work this year. He is a fireman and I hope he gets Christmas off.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Thanksgiving with just the two of us. It was peaceful, relaxing, cozy. Brined roasted Cornish game hens, stuffing casserole, garlic asparagus, salad and of course pumpkin pie with whipped cream. We had a big bonfire near the orchard, before dinner, burning all the tree prunings and garden trimmings from the spring and summer.

My family is as liberal as you can be in California and we do NOT discuss politics, plus they are a 7 hour drive away. His family is having a melt down and the drama is too much. We have cut ties until they become sane again.

We binge watched Gotham. Nothing says Thanksgiving more than a show about crime, murder, psychopathic criminals and comic book heroes!

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

I got all grumpy waiting around for dinner which was an hour late.

I guess a normal person would have found something to do other than sit around all grumpy.

But I am not a normal person.

cubanbob said...

"Robert Cook said...
My view is that there is no reason to sully holiday family gatherings with political arguments. No one's mind will be changed and only rancor will result, spoiling the gathering."

That is the only way to have a family get together. You sir are absolutely correct on this. Francisco is also on the money about no football.

"EDH said...
I had dinner with my sister in the kitchen. My mother died at home last week in a hospital bed set-up in the dining room. It was a little too soon, even though its the room where we had Thanksgiving for the previous 50 or so years. I had even joked with my mother about us needing to serve Thanksgiving dinner on top of her bed, before she died, of course.

As for politics, my mother lost complete interest in the election when her health went south. A lesson in perspective."

My condolences. I had my dad pass less than two weeks ago, mom just two years ago. We had the get together at my parents home, they always loved that and what better way to honor them? I mentioned to all no politics. Eat until you burst and drink until you're blind if you wish but no politics. A good time (albeit tinged with sadness) was had by all. As you said, a lesson in perspectives. One thing about my dad, I can't ever remember when he didn't get the presidential winner right even when he didn't vote for the winner and this year on the Saturday before the election he said Trump was going to win. How he figured it out I don't know but he always did.

JML said...

robinintn, we ate tamales that we made ourselves, though some were green chili and chicken -- blaspheme in my eyes. I smoked a turkey in my pit barrel, and my wife made the traditional broccoli corn casserole. The oldest was in from Madison with his girlfriend and she has taken a shine to New Mexican food -- lovely girl. The youngest son read his phone through diner. I didn't have the energy to fight it as I have had a kidney stone rattling around for the past three months and it was given me hell. Around 9:00 PM my wife and oldest got bored and ended up going to Target and Walmart for GREY Thursday specials. I stayed home, and tired of football, watched the first episode on NCIS LA to see if I wanted to start watching that series. I think I'll stick to the original. Today is the Rio Grande Arts and Crafts show, food from any New Mexican Restaurant that the son wants to go to and then John Cleese and Eric Idol. The sun is bright, the sky is clear and it will be a god day for pie. Thanks Ann, for the great blog, the interesting commenters and the gift of Laslo.

Ann Althouse said...

"I had dinner with my sister in the kitchen. My mother died at home last week in a hospital bed set-up in the dining room. It was a little too soon, even though its the room where we had Thanksgiving for the previous 50 or so years. I had even joked with my mother about us needing to serve Thanksgiving dinner on top of her bed, before she died, of course."

I'm sorry you lost your mother, EDH, and glad you did not lose your sense of humor. That last sentence is hilarious.

Big Mike said...

Both sons drove in Wednesday and spent the night and stayed last night. The older one may return to his apartment tomorrow but the younger one won't leave until Sunday. Wife bought the usual 14 pound turkey but it looked small and cooked up in only 2 1/2 hours. Something's wrong; we will get our turkey somewhere else next year.

(One of the men who built our house offered to shoot us a wild turkey but we declined.)

All of us voted for Trump. No political discussions.

PS: BoJack Horseman? Really?!?

walter said...

Any silent protest safety pin sightings?

michaele said...

This has been one of my favorite commenter threads ever. What a treat to have peeks into the authentic lives of others. Sincerest thanks to our hostess for providing such a (in the best possible way ) safe space.

Tacitus2 said...

Politics only came close to the surface twice, and in neither case was it contentious. The Next Generation is now old enough for the reading of many cute books, and my son did point out that those Baby Polar Bears had better learn how to swim. But he actually is in a field where his opinions on this sort of thing are not just regurgitated news clips. Heis a smart lad. He may well be correct.

Later, and when it was just myself and one of my other sons (this one pretty far out onto the Libertarian fringe) we did quietly discuss the election a bit. Neither of us Trump fans but both impressed with the achievement of his campaign. Regards the Hillary campaign I was able to tell him the parable of "The Dogs Don't Like it" and was very pleased that he had not heard it before. He is also a smart lad and it is hard to show them anything these days that is not well known to them.

My wife and I are settling into the Matriarch/Patriarch roles as the last year has sundered us from the Older Generation. This has its mixed joys and sorrows as does all change.

Tacitus

Ann Althouse said...

I think a lot of people experience Thanksgiving in terms of loss. It's almost too cruel. One reason I loathe the annual articles about how difficult it is to deal with your family is that they are addressed to the people who have family to get together with. These surly complainers should think about how they look to those of us whose parents have died. I wish I had thought more about that perspective when my parents were still around instead of wasting my time thinking about how they annoyed me or whatever. I missed conversations that now I am forced only to imagine.

Anglelyne said...

Lars Porsena: Blogger Robert Cook said...
"My view is that there is no reason to sully holiday family gatherings with political arguments. No one's mind will be changed and only rancor will result, spoiling the gathering."
------------------------------------------------

True, true, and very true.



Having a Norman Rockwell weekend with children, full of political discussion. I am very fortunate to be sitting down with people who know that "passionately disinterested" isn't an oxymoron but a description of the best conversation. Nothing more enjoyable than going at it hammer and tongs with even the (relentlessly logical, "never saw a safe space she didn't want to burn down") Bernie supporting offspring, in a 100% rancor-free, zero butthurt atmosphere.

I know that's rare. And it's not that I don't have a few relatives who would spoil the fun if they were around. But "let's not argue about it" is not the family motto. And for that I am grateful.

rehajm said...

Yesterday I read the Drudge story on how to talk to the dispirited lefties at Thanksgiving: 'The vegan option is not eating'.

It was an Idaho year so after the o-dark-hundred-don't-hit-a-deer drive to the airport to fetch the nephew the day was full of eating, drinking, football and poker games. Then we all fell asleep watching The Crown on Netflix.

walter said...

"I missed conversations that now I am forced only to imagine."
Indeed...awoke today dreaming one of those..

jaydub said...

We had 16 friends over, including four Spaniards, two Brits and a Scotsman. I'm always amazed at how excited our non-American friends get over Thanksgiving, primarily for the uniquely American Thanksgiving food dishes which one would never see anywhere else in Spain. Everyone brings some type of dish, and we always end up with one or two from the non-Americans that become new additions for later Thanksgivings - Tocino del cielo, literally "bacon from heaven" which is a custard type dessert was this year's new addition. We also have a tradition of joining hands in a large circle and each one talking about what he or she is most thankful for this year. No politics except a few innocent questions from the non-Americans about Trump and what his election means. Mostly, just good fellowship.

Freeman Hunt said...

Rh, you should come to Arkansas next year. You can come to our Thanksgiving.

Robert Cook said...

RE: Angelyne @ 10:18 AM:

Personally, I'm happy to have political discussions with those who disagree with me, assuming all can remain dispassionate and no anger or hard feelings result. Unfortunately, in my experience with certain members of my family, that is not typical.

wildswan said...

Blogger Robert Cook said...
My view is that there is no reason to sully holiday family gatherings with political arguments. No one's mind will be changed and only rancor will result, spoiling the gathering.

We had a traditional meal with fifteen relatives. It was 14 to 1 against Trump but there was no political discussion of any kind whatsoever and all other topics were also banned since they might lead by some unseen trapdoor to the election. Luckily there was a great food and there were lots of little kids and babies to fill up the long pauses while possible sentences were inspected for Trump as he were Waldo. The problem was that there were fissures on the other side since some were anti-abortion, some were anti-corruption, some were education reformers, one was a Iraq vet, one was a pollster. I thought they were suffering since they believe the mainstream media, were not prepared for the result and accept the latest lies about the KKK or whatever. But over the next year a lot of this will disappear. That said, I had a better time at my mother's funeral.

Freeman Hunt said...

One Hillary-supporting relative, who was not at our Thanksgiving this year, has a seven year old who loves Trump. When he arrived at their all Clinton voters Thanksgiving meal yesterday, he was presented with a Make America Great Again hat, which he loved. Good natured people.

Unknown said...

Haven't most of the holiday advice of this sort been about how liberals can hector their awful conservative relatives about the progressive agenda? Hard to do when they're not gloating.

buwaya puti said...

Just us with the boys, as usual my wife did the turkey and pumpkin pie and all. Daughter stayed at college to make vegan turkey Thanksgiving dinner for her foreign roomies (a lot of Indian and Chinese girls, forlorn in a strange land for the most American holiday).

rcocean said...

Just another nuclear family Thanksgiving. We usually have the big Family get together at Christmas time. In olden days, the extended family get together's would always some how end up talking about Vietnam, a sore topic that divided my parents, Aunts and Uncles for 15 years. It had a big impact on them. Some never got over the sense of betrayal - others were ludicrously still supporting Nixon/LBJ as late as the early 90s.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Ann,

One reason I loathe the annual articles about how difficult it is to deal with your family is that they are addressed to the people who have family to get together with. These surly complainers should think about how they look to those of us whose parents have died.

I know it. My parents are alive. My husband's parents are dead.

And we're now well down the demographic tree, aren't we?

tim in vermont said...

BoJack Horseman was great the first two seasons, but I stopped watching it when it got political in the third season. I really don't need to hear Kow-Kollege Keith's views on politics dressed up as entertainment. Maybe they should have quit when they ran out of story lines that didn't involve preaching about politics. The abortion episode, and as I have said many times, I support the right to abortion, just so completely highlighted how absolutely shallow and self-centered the characters are, and I know, that is the source of a lot of the humor of the show, but when those two rich, selfish, entitled brat characters abort their child, it was just too much. I lost all respect for them.

robinintn said...

JML, my dad and stepmom live in ALB; I love NM food. And really NM in general. My stepmom is Mexican, with dual citizenship, and when my daughter was younger, we would go out there every year and spend 2 days making tamales. Those were great, even the green ones! They always send me a huge box of green chiles in the fall. I roast-peel-freeze for days, and the house smells great. Sadly, they never last till the next box. That branch of the family are also leftists, but they would never, ever be so rude and self-absorbed as the ones I described above.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

I am estranged from my birth family, which is a bummer, but for the best. I haven't had a holiday meal or celebration with them for many years. However, I am trying to build nice, memorable traditions full of smiles and laughter with my own five children, to give them good memories and a template for their own future holidays. I also love to cook and am good at it, as well as at logistics, so Thanksgiving is my time to shine. Older kids and I worked together all week and enjoyed a bountiful but relaxed feast yesterday. Turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, sweet potatoes, green beans, corn, gravy, homemade rolls and cranberry sauce, then later in the evening, five pies. I had my once-a-year two glasses of wine, as did my husband, and our two teenagers lingered with us over dinner (the baby went down for a nap and the middle kids took off for more entertaining pastures shortly after finishing their plates) and we told stories and giggled and had a nice time. In the evening husband and I relaxed on the couch together and read while the kids hung out upstairs. Today we will put up our tree and decorate for Christmas, and my social butterfly middle child will have a couple friends over to spend the night, which means I'll have a houseful for breakfast tomorrow, which is just how I like it.

I am beyond grateful for all my blessings--healthy and happy family, wholesome food, lots of interesting things to read, and a more or less peaceful community. I'm also very glad for my daily check-in here at Althouse and thank all of you, hostess most of all, for all the interesting conversation over the years.

AJ Lynch said...

No political topics were brought up at my gathering of seven adults though my 64 year old widowed sister's health insurance premium came up. Her Blue Cross monthly premium went from $600 to $1200 in the last few years and her monthly premium starting January 1st 2017 spiked up to $1800! That is a disgraceful situation and was caused by Obamacare I bet.

Kathryn51 said...

This is the 2nd year that we were invited to a large (30+) family gathering by virtue of my Millennial son's girlfriend. Three generations and 75% are teachers or school administrators.

Lovely group and we are still learning everyone's name. We were warned last year that politics was very spirited at the annual dinner and Grandpa "Dave" was the only other conservative. However, since we were still in the middle of the GOP primary, folks were sympathetic to our plight (we didn't like Trump) and many of them were Bernie bots. Civil political discussions took place and new Facebook invites were received.

This year, we were invited once again before the election. We expected much gloating and merriment and weren't sure if we were up to it. On Nov. 9th, much despair on FB but we weren't disinvited. However, when we arrived, there was a definite "coolness" from many of the folks that had been quite chatty the prior year. Still very civil but NO politics the entire day (at least whenever we were in the room). I think most were still in despair.

tim in vermont said...

Much muttering about Trump being an anti-Semite was heard. I ignored it. What is the point of mentioning that Trump was the one who opened the country club he bought nearby in Palm Beach to Jews and Blacks? They are not interested in facts. It's OK. They shut up about it before sitting at the table.

Fabi said...

Our Grand Cyclops hosted a free thanksgiving celebration for the whole Den in honor of Trump's victory. I thought it was mighty white of him.

The only downside to a Klan turkey day? No dark meat.

Lauderdale Vet said...

My wife and I had the flu, so we didn't join our extended family for Thanksgiving. I deboned a turkey breast the night before and brined it in a sage-molasses solution. I formed it into a roulade and cooked it sous vide for dinner. I roasted the bones, deglazed the pan with a good vermouth, added it to the pressure cooker with some stock and dried mushrooms and fortified it there; seasoned, reduced and roux'd for gravy.

It was nice, despite the flu. My wife is always the most excellent of company.

Politics never came up.

I'm glad yours was nice, too. Happy Thanksgiving!

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

EDH--I'm sorry you lost your mother.

And agree with Althouse about loss. I get annoyed with people who bitch endlessly about their family and holidays. It's been a decade and a half since I was able, for a variety of reasons, to spend the holiday with anyone but immediate family, and I miss that, and lots of us are in that boat. We were listening to the police scanner (guilty pleasure) in Chicago on Wednesday and there was a 15 year old suicide. Imagine how his family will feel every Thanksgiving for the rest of their lives. My husband was in a car accident with his girlfriend over Thanksgiving weekend when they were teenagers and she died in his arms at the scene, when they were all alone. Death and conflict and estrangement are a part of life, and for many people a part of the holidays, but it would be gracious for the 'how will I ever survive the horrible torture of spending four hours once a year with someone I don't agree with 100%' whiners to remember that others may be hurting.

mockturtle said...

Eric the Fruit Bat explains: But I am not a normal person.

Of course not. You are a fruit bat!

Lauderdale Vet said...

"I missed conversations that now I am forced only to imagine."

My dad passed away this year. It was my first Thanksgiving without him being here.

I miss him terribly.

JML said...

Ann said, "I think a lot of people experience Thanksgiving in terms of loss. " My Dad died on my 17th birthday and was buried the day after Thanksgiving. That hung around my neck for many, many years. I finally figured out that we are only here for a short time and all that most of us leave behind are memories and a few trinkets that may or may not be appreciated by our kids. I asked this year about things we have that they may really want -- no guilt if they don't want my prized M1 Garand. I'll just sell it sooner or later if they don't want it and spend the money on life. We have decided that we will take a vacation bike ride in 2018 -- Spain is the choice now, but perhaps Ireland or England. Something to look forward to and to get in shape for. My wife had breast cancer surgery early this month -- so far all is well. This has also done a lot to put things in perspective. Before, I worried about how will we retire and maintain our standard of living. Now I'm looking at it as how soon can we retire and be happy and comfortable. Work is killing me, and I have decide to find a less stressful job. Just making that decision is a relief, knowing that it may take four years and I'll be retired then anyway. But it is relief knowing I won't be trying so hard to right things that can't really be righted. So for those of you who have suffered recent losses, I recommend you look back with fondness and happy memories, and look forward to how you can create good memories for those around you. Easy to say. I know it only took me 58 years to figure this out, and I still struggle at times. Thanks for reading this if you got this far. Next up: Christmas!

YoungHegelian said...

We are doing Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday with 3 friends & a niece. I have been put under oath by Mrs Hegelian to not bring up politics at the table this Thanksgiving, as we all know that the rest of the crew are now crest-fallen Democrats. There is to be no salt rubbed into their wounds. "Maybe kosher salt?" "No." "High-end 'sel gris' French sea salt?" "No!".

In spite of my joking I agree with her. One of our friends is a university professor, & she's real sensitive. She will have worked hard on many of the dishes, & we don't want to spoil it for her.

But then again, one of my dear friends from college will be there & he loves to argue with me, which we've done since college. I intend to honor my promise to the Mrs. He, however, is bound by no such agreement. I guess if he starts going at it I'll work at not having my eyes roll back too far into my head as he's talking.

JML said...

robinintn, my son spent three years at the Univ of Alabama. He was -- is -- a bit of a nerd and we are forever grateful that Alabama taught him how to appreciate football. Roll Tide!

Steven Wilson said...

After having spent every Thanksgiving Day of my life with my parents, plus assorted relatives, friends, lovers, asquaintances, and the occasional lonely soul found within their congregation, after 64 years both Dad and Mom and the love of my life were gone in 2011.
Since then I've spent Thanksgiving by myself. It was always my favorite holiday due to the absence of expectations. We simply gathered, ate, enjoyed fellowship and football. It's not a bad deal. Free to remember and do as I please. I'm still thankful for all those Thanksgivings past.

Big Mike said...

@Freeman, I couldn't help but notice that your state -- which presumably knew the Clintons best -- was one of the reddest in the last election.

DrSquid said...

JML, if you should decide to part with it, how much might you be asking for that M-1 Garand?

donald said...

My wife and mine both died right before Thanksgiving. My sister's husband had a debilitating stroke that has basically destroyed their lives. This year, my cat. Five years down the road, nobody from
My wife's family has bothered to speak to me for two years at least.

Fuck November and Thanksgiving is where I'm Basically going with this.

donald said...

Mine should be my mother.

Earnest Prole said...

On Thanksgiving Eve the San Francisco Chronicle ran the print-edition headline “Crow replaces turkey at some family feasts,” Sadly, the online headline was changed to “Knives may come out at post-election Thanksgivings.” If you read to the end you’ll learn this is the year “a moratorium on election talk — and perhaps an embargo on alcohol — might be a good strategy for the Thanksgiving table.”

Guildofcannonballs said...

Only the serious drinkers go there on Thanksgiving, so that's where Jimmy Rockford woulda found us, corralled us as it were, believe you me.

There was a doggie, but he weren't my beloved Barnie. Nice little guy though still. Short hair, black.

Did you know Steve Sailor had a dog named Barnie too? Back in the '70's.

Is this part of greatness' path, naming a dog Barnett aka "Barnie" and then profit?

In my heart I know it's true.

Birches said...

My dad died 6 years ago on the 16th. We never travel home for Thanksgiving, but because of the funeral stuck around that year. It was one of the most special Thanksgivings in my memory. Since he died, my uncle, his brother calls every year. He is always embarrassed by his English, but I appreciate the call so much.

Guildofcannonballs said...

http://www.unz.com/isteve/me-and-my-dog/?highlight=Dog+Barney

The Cracker Emcee said...

Our large, close, and politically divided family avoids political discussion and concentrates on enjoying one another's company. We're adults and anyone who'd put politics before his brother or sister is a fucking tool. Like Cookie, I can argue politics all day without the slightest heat (and my best friends are people who can do the same) but not everyone can manage emotional detachment.

Guildofcannonballs said...

Solidarity singers and a teacher with a safety pin in Madison are happening tomorrow but I can't afford to leave where I am at.

This is no joke. We are coping, well. Probably headed to the West coast for Christmas for the first time too. Exciting times.

BJM said...

Just the two of us, so we went non-traditional with chicken tandoori, homemade naan, Sagu (made with homegrown butternut),fresh sliced mangoes, yogurt & mint and cold beer.

The Spousal Unit binged on season 8 of Street Outlaws whilst I read Harvey Kubernik's "Canyon of Dreams" with many hoots of recognition, exclamations and sharing. Gees, were we really so young and foolish once?

readering said...

Thanksgiving with fellow never Trumper brother's family. But I suppose we silently honored The Donald by staring at the street names of Atlantic City on the Monopoly board we sat around after dinner was cleared. Too bad the impending drive home had to limit my wine intake. And tough when good manners require one to make bad deals with one's niece and nephew. He would say I'm just A Loser.

robinintn said...

JML, I'd reply with a Go 'dores, but that would be ridiculous! I think NM would be a lovely place to be retired. My dad practiced law there for years (criminal defense) and never saved a penny, but when he retired, they found the cutest little2BR (probably faux) adobe house down off Rio Grande a few blocks from the bosque and the river.Lots of goats and chickens in the neighborhood; people are in and out of that house all the time because the food and tequila and company are wonderful. So retire already and forget your standard of living! It will be great.

HT said...

I saw more than ever and felt like it was the first time I was seeing them, and they were 100% annoying!

Fred Drinkwater said...

Had two dinners this week.
Wednesday evening at my wife's sister's family. Started out OK but then, the sister's husband (the host) decided it was appropriate to read a prepared statement after we sat down for family dinner. To the effect that, X years after the local indians helped the pilgrims survive, "the white man is still plundering the land, water, and air" etc. etc.
As it happened, I was the only actual white person at a table of 10.
Before he finished reading, I left the table quietly and drove home. (There's some history there - I have for years avoided like the devil having any conversation with that BIL that could be even remotely argumentative. Politics, economics, business, heck even Elon Musk and Tesla are too tricky to talk about.)
Thursday we hosted my own sister's family at our place. Politics didn't enter into it.

Mac McConnell said...

Had a wonderful Thanksgiving, 50+ family members attending Dinner at my sister's. Being a large Irish Catholic family we never don't discuss politics when together, we celebrated Hillary's demise and prayed for the hope that Trump succeeds. Only three didn't make it to the festivities, two had to work and our only SJW in Russia studying language. She was missed, but not forgotten.

Denko said...

I listened respectfully while my niece worried about the rise of (all 300!) neo-Nazi Trump supporters and hoped that she could remain in Europe until he is gone. Then the conversation returned to non-political topics, like whether I could help her find a job.

tim in vermont said...

He would say I'm just A Loser. - readering

You, of course mean your imagined version of DJT. My imagined version, the one I suspect is closer to the truth, would never say anything like that. Because, you know, Donald Trump is human just like the rest of us, well, except maybe for Hillary. She would call you a loser if you didn't find a way to get a cut of every deal that went on in the whole game!

Rusty said...

Ann Althouse said...
I think a lot of people experience Thanksgiving in terms of loss. It's almost too cruel. One reason I loathe the annual articles about how difficult it is to deal with your family is that they are addressed to the people who have family to get together with. These surly complainers should think about how they look to those of us whose parents have died. I wish I had thought more about that perspective when my parents were still around instead of wasting my time thinking about how they annoyed me or whatever. I missed conversations that now I am forced only to imagine.

Be grateful for the time you had with them. Embrace each of your following generations. Despite their flaws and imperfections. They're family and as such all you really have in this life. Grieving for the past is pointless. Do better tomorrow.
When and if I make it to 80 I'm gonna buy a motorcycle.

Freeman Hunt said...

"Freeman, I couldn't help but notice that your state -- which presumably knew the Clintons best -- was one of the reddest in the last election."

Yes. Not likely a coincidence.