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Tuesday, November 24, 2009
7:01 PM | Posted by Sin | | Edit Post
I love, love, love Thanksgiving!
When I was a little girl, there is a specific Thanksgiving that I can remember very vividly. Not that all of my Thanksgivings are the greatest- after all Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday only to be rivaled with the ever awesome Independence day- but this one was odd, weird, strange, and funny enough, great.
Just like in any family, you have your traditions. Where you go. Who cooks what food. Who gets the rifle out first and suggests target shooting. *shrugs* How loud the TV gets turned up when the football game is on. Who gets the last beer. I mean, those things are just rooted deep in tradition. In my family, when I was a child, we went to my grandpa's house and he made all the food except for the stuff my Aunt made grandpa nicknamed the green shit, which pistachio pudding is mixed with whipped cream and crushed pineapple.
My mother's parent's house was in the middle of our small town, down a road aptly named Short street which was paved later on and made for an excellent scooter and skateboard hill. At the top of the hill, the Rowlands lived in their little white house and down around the corner at the bottom of the hill was my grandparent's little original house built sometime in the early turn of the century. It was surrounded by trees and out buildings and lots of grassland. We spent all afternoons there after school. We spent countless hours there in the summer. Going to my grandparents wasn't the exciting thing it should've been, but when you're young you take stuff for granted.
I'm dressed for cold weather and outside playing. My two cousins were older, and just about as mean as me. There was always trouble brewing when the three of us put our heads together. But what was this... There was a BOY sitting on my grandpa's porch.
Things of that nature had to be investigated. First with the cousins.
I rolled my pre-teen eyes. "Who got to bring their BOYFRIEND to Thanksgiving?"
"No one," My cousin Jennifer, the eldest, told me. "Uncle said he is our cousin and we're SUPPOSED to be NICE."
I looked to Shelly and crinkled my nose. "No way. Boys aren't allowed into the family."
Shelly shrugged her shoulders, "I'm going to talk him into doing something bad so he will know not to mess with me."
"Like what? You can't talk him into jumping into the pond. Uncle is not going to let him out of his sight for that long."
Shelly grinned and I knew then it was going to be ugly. "Watch me."
She took off running and Jennifer took off after her. I lagged behind. How did we end up with another cousin? He was older than me and looked bored and way out of place.
"Hi." He said when I walked up and Shelly was wearing her this-means-war look.
"Hey." How does one properly address a newcomer into our devious fold? I had thoughts of running him over with the three-wheeler.
Jennifer gave me a sly look. "We were just telling him about our Thanksgiving fireworks tradition. You know, the bottle rockets?"
My cousins once convinced me that if you held a bottle rocket by the stick and light it that it would fly from your hands. No one told me you had to let go when it started to go off.
"How we tie them together and throw them at one another." Shelly piped in. The kid's eyes grew big and I smiled.
"Yeah, I love that tradition. It's better than the target shooting practice at one another. It's hard to run in the woods and not fall into hunter traps. You remember how last year I hung upside downs for six hours and missed Thanksgiving dinner."
The doom and gloom cousins snickered.
The kid was petrified.
We all three looked at each other with the same thought, good. This was our territory. He was going to have to fight for his right to hang with us.
Jen pushed away from the porch and my mama stuck her head out of the front door. "Y'all don't go far because dinner is gonna be served in just a few minutes and I'm not yelling all over hell's creation for you guys."
All three of us rolled our eyes but the kid mumbled a weak, "we'll stay close".
I tossed her a look over my shoulder, "Yes, mama."
I looked back in front of me and thought to myself again, "yeah right".
My cousins went running for their house. They always had a stash of something useful for troublemaking. I lagged behind with the kid.
"So, what is your name?"
I kept my eyes in front of me, watching my cousins tear up their house in search of the bottle rockets. The kid trailed behind me some as we made our way down the hill to the road.
"Do you go by Mathew or should I call you something else?"
He gave me a curious look, "What do you mean?"
I gave him a look, "I have to know what to call you when I dial 911." And I walked away from him, leaving him in the road.
Jen bounced outside with Shelly hot on her heels. "We've got them!"
I reached forward for my bunch and Shelly tied off a handful for Mathew. Jen produced her handy dandy lighter as she tied six bottle rockets together. "Now, you have to do it like this. I wouldn't want you to get hurt or anything. I am the oldest, therefore all younger cousins are my responsibility."
Shelly and I snickered and Jen shot us a look.
Jen lit her bunch, waited until the wick was low and tossed them all. They shot in different directions and when they started to fly back towards us, Mathew was the only one who hit the ground.
Mathew pushed himself off the ground and started to hand back his bottle rockets. "I think I'll just watch."
Shelly shoved them back, "No way. Are you chicken of a couple of harmless bottle rockets?"
"No!" Mathew shook his head. "No. I just don't feel like shooting them off that's all."
I shrugged my shoulder and took the lighter away from Jen. I'd learned a long time ago that if you wanted to deal with my cousins you had to play dirty. The kid was going to have to learn that too. I lit off my bunch and tossed them almost a second too late. One bottle rocket was on a short fuse and blew almost too quick for my own good.
"GIRLS!! Mathew! What are y'all out there doing?" You could hear my mama over four counties plain as day. She'd had enough practice yelling for me when I was out running around in the woods after dark. "You better not have the fireworks out! I'm going to beat you guys black and blue!"
Mathew dropped his bottle rockets on the ground like he'd been caught stealing and started to walk away. "You three are crazy."
Shelly started making clucking noises as she lit her bunch. "Chicken. Brock-Brock-Brock...Chicken."
She tossed her bunch high into the air and they took off in every direction. Her laughter echoed off the trees surrounding the place.
Mathew started back up the hill and Shelly chased after him. "You're not going to live this down, Chicken Boy."
So the tradition was born that every family gathering we picked on and tortured my newly found boy cousin, Mathew. We had no mercy for him.
So Thanksgiving is tomorrow and I want to lay out exactly what I'm thankful this year. I have a lot of blessings in my life and I don't give thanks enough for all that I have. I'm the most ungrateful brat in the world.
I am thankful for:
- The ship, my online friends and all the support my shipmates give me when I ask for it and when they think I need it. And for Hells for putting up with me.
- Small favors.
- My support system to which if I didn't have them, there wouldn't be me as I exist now.
- Friendships lost and found. Which truly make you believe in something greater and fate and all that jazz.
- The undead monkey, Mattycakes, who is trying sometimes and not box trained (but he pees in Hells hammock so it's okay).
- And a whole slew of other things that I will reserve to talk about at another time.
Now, what are your traditions and do you have any funny stories about Thanksgiving form when you were a child? Or what's one thing you're grateful for this year that you didn't have last year?