Wednesday, October 18, 2006

"A Tree is Known by its Fruit”

It is now that time when my family unit spends too many moments talking about where to meet for Thanksgiving. So far, it has never been quick and easy conversations, but rather fraught with the emotional agitation that brands family members who know that despite it all, they will never get kicked out of the group, no matter how much they fuss. Well, so far, anyway.

One memorable year, my mother was on the phone and she was not happy to learn that we wanted to go to my sister’s in Brooklyn for the dinner.

MOTHER: What? No! I had this planned for ages and you all have to come here.
ALICE: Well, wouldn’t you like to take a rest and be waited on hand and foot…
MOTHER: Not if it’s Brooklyn! I don’t want to be on the road with all that traffic.
ALICE: Well, it will be harder on everyone else to go to you.
MOTHER: NO! You will all come home. We will sit down to a lovely dinner that I am cooking—and you should be grateful that I’m doing this at all. You know that I can’t cook. We will be together like the loving family that we are and WE WILL BE HAPPY AND ENJOY OURSELVES! GOT IT?

Well, Matt Groening certainly knew what he was talking about when he said, families are about love overcoming emotional torture.

This year, particularly, everyone is where everyone else is not. The D.C. family members want the New York contingent to travel there. The New York contingent wants the D.C. ones to come here. And the New Jersey member, who is my mother, now doesn’t care where it’s held as long as someone comes and gets her.

I don’t know why, but I am usually the one who is chosen to speak to everyone and get them to sign on the dotted line. I hate being the go-between because in my family one DOES shoot the messenger.

So the family members have now begun to call.

FM#1: Where are we having Thanksgiving? I hope you're going to say at my place because that’s how it has to be.
ALICE: Well, I thought that we might…
FM#1: NO! Whatever you’re going to say, no! I missed out last year on being with the family and I can’t travel this year, so I want to have you all here.
ALICE: Well, let me find out from the others.
FM#2: What? No, it has to be here. I can’t travel there. It must be here.

Today, Deacon and I were discussing this and I was lamenting that this year some feelings might get hurt because I can’t figure out a way that would satisfy everyone. And mind you, we are not speaking about organizing dozens of people. No sir. Just eight. I told him that we might have to stay in New York with my mother. The D.C. three will have to be together, as will the Ithaca two. I also told Deacon that I was putting off having to relay this bit of news to the family.

DEACON: Yeah, I feel for you. They are a prickly bunch.

Well, how about that. My family tree is a cactus.