“Gobble, Gobble, Gone”
C. Derick Miller – Head Writer
Your Stories on Video
I was one of those unlucky kids who were forced to go to multiple Thanksgiving celebrations because of divorce. There was the one we did with my mother’s side of the family, the uncomfortable one with the family of whoever she was dating/married to at the time, the other side of the coin with my father’s family, and the awkward train wreck with my stepmother’s people. That last dinner was the one where I’d always sneak off and smoke cigarettes in the woods rather than be sociable to a bunch of folks I just couldn’t seem to relate to. That, my friends is a lot of eating and smoking. It’s no wonder I’m convinced I won’t live past my fiftieth birthday!
No, I don’t have anything going on to prove this, it’s just what my subconscious tells me deep in the dark night while listening to my own heartbeat and staring at the ceiling. Don’t pretend that you don’t do this sort of thing as well. I know I can’t be the only one.
As the years went by, those dinners became less and less with the deaths of my grandparents, but my marriages would fill in the blanks most definitely. During those times, I couldn’t help but feel like that denim jacket wearing mullet kid from the late eighties as he grabbed a cousin or two and burned a few Marlboros in the forest. I knew I didn’t fit in there either even though the inevitable end was unknown. I say inevitable, because I knew it was going to come to a screeching halt at some point. They always do, or did, right? I knew I’d never be one of those select few who stayed with their partner from high school all the way to the cemetery. It’s not the way I was raised, and we lead by example. Subliminally, but by example.
Can you see that I’m not a huge fan of Thanksgiving? Other than my own children, I’d never really had much to be thankful for. At least, that’s what I believed. My life was in constant turmoil brought on by crazy jobs, writer’s dreams, or out of control alcoholism. No, not my own. That didn’t come into play until much further on in my life. My stepfathers though…
Again, we subliminally lead by example. Everyone around me always wondered where I got it from. Just pick a name. They all helped in one way or another. Don’t worry, I’m not a huge fan of Christmas either but I’ll save that until next month. I promise it has nothing to do with my father dressing up as Santa, losing his footing in the chimney, and us not finding him for months. Spielberg already used that one and I’m no plagiarist!
Now, I know everything you’ve read above this line sounds incredibly depressing, but I put it there so you’d feel a lot better about your own Thanksgiving! See what I did there? It’s like reverse ghost lighting or backwards narcissism. I make my life sound worse than it actually was so each and every one of you can feel better. You’re welcome!
I’m not really exaggerating all that much, though. I’ve never been much for family outside of my own children and cared little for gatherings. I always felt like I was being judged and, to an extent, I was. I’m the odd writer, remember? I’ve been that way my entire life. Not so much the writing part, but odd. I just hadn’t put pen to paper yet to display an explanation.
This year was different.
With each of my biological children doing their own thing and my stepson visiting relatives out of state, my wife and I were left up to our own devices on the holiday. Rather than spend it stuffing our faces, we fixed food we like (homemade gluten free lemon pepper hot wings with sweet potato fries) and drove around the city searching out commercial real estate for one of my wife’s upcoming projects. With everyone stuck indoors with their families, there was no traffic to hold us back. It was amazing! Something to truly be thankful for!
Then, we traveled to Austin (a place I absolutely love) to have a small dinner with my wife’s family. It was my first time so I was curious to see how it would go. Well, they’re all a bunch of intellectuals so, needless to say, I didn’t have to shout conversations over the roar of a football game! Reason number two to be thankful!
Finally, my wife and I retreated deep into the Texas hill country and spent a night together in a tiny cabin. The sweet autumn scents of the region filled the air due to recent rains as the howls of coyotes pierced the darkness beyond the abilities of our nocturnal vision. It was heaven, or at least a form of heaven when compared to the descriptions suggested by our childhood learnings. It definitely rounded out my reasons to be thankful on this, the 47th Thanksgiving of my being. It gave me many ideas on how I plan to spend the remaining few.
Remaining few, you ask? Of course, I know I have more holidays behind me than ahead of me, and it’s high time I started enjoying them for myself rather than be forced into uncomfortable situations with undesirable kin, friends, and strangers brought along for the ride by other members of your family. To be quite honest, the whole smoking thing seemed to work quite well when I was a teenager but I stopped filling my lungs with that poison a year ago. I’m running out of excusable options to bow out gracefully!
I know this blog is a bit of a downer, but would you rather I lied to you? That’s not what we do here at Your Stories on Video. Your friends and family tell us all kinds of truths while filming their videos for future generations. Shouldn’t your hosts offer you that same courtesy? I mean, we’re all friends here, right? Let’s act like it!
I’m certain there are some of you reading this who love every second of holiday gatherings with family but I’m also quite aware that several of you despise those days with every ounce of your being. I also know that several of you are holding it in year after year after year and now, you’re reaching your breaking point. It’s time to let it all out. I triple dog dare you!
Leave your holiday joys, gripes, celebrations, or complaints in the comments below and we’ll all work through this together! Who knows, perhaps your miseries might push me beyond the crest of the hill and next week’s blog could be a whole new ball game! There’s only one way to find out. Let it rip!
Give me the reason to write a happy blog!
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