Thursday, November 26, 2009

My Family's Thanksgiving in Cloverdale.

Grandma enjoying the Family Feast wearing her protective coverings

Hello Friends,
Greeting from our family's gathering in the Cloverdale's beautiful village centre. The clan has gathered from all parts of the world to join us in Cloverdale for the annual family feast, consisting of tables laden with delicacies from the world over, drink of all kinds, merriment which soon leads to something said that shouldn't of been said, then out slips a family point of contention that was never suppose to be mentioned at family gathers, then vigorous debate complete with finger pointed and name calling, afterwords the shouting starts followed by cussing, and then, after all that - the food fight begins - usually with the children then blossoming into a complete room redecoration with mashed potatoes dripping from the light fixtures and pumpkin pie smeared over the windows. The room empties quickly after that with everyone vowing never to attend another family function as long as they live. One year passes and all are ready to return to give it another go. Now that's true family love.

I'm wishing all of you in the Other World a very carnivorous Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving should be a happy holiday because we are meat eaters and hold the place of Supremo Honchorus on Nature's food chain. This is our holiday to slaughter the fatten hen, turkey and pig, roast them up, and dig in with all the fury of a vampire sucking away at the neck of some helpless maiden.

Our Williamson's Thanksgiving in Cloverdale.

We all gathered at The Hairy Lemon Pub for our annual feast. The family is too large for any one home and my flat in Cloverdale is all the property the Williamson's own in The Confederacy. I made arrangements to use the Lemon's party room months ago. The owner was more than happy to let us use the room as long as I introduced him to my beautiful nieces (the DelGrosso Sisters of Dancing With the Stars Fame).

I got there early to set things up. The publican left a key to the party room under the mat. It was a beautiful room with oak paneling, a large fireplace big enough to stand in, a bar and several tables and booths. The windows were frosted to prevent those passing along the High Street to peer in and disrupt the privacy of the event.

Party prep for a Williamson party is easy. You need a large, and I mean large, roll of plastic (I usually buy one from the local dry cleaners) and several rolls of masking tape. I begin by covering the windows in plastic. I move on to covering the art work and anything else thrown food could permanently stain. The last thing I cover are the light fixtures. I debated covering the oak paneling but decided against it. I would stand ready with several rags if things got out of hand.

Family started arriving on the morning train from Fernwood on the Moor. Many walked the four blocks to the Lemon. There were others that found walking that far beyond their ability. I arranged transportation with a few members of the local Mormon branch that owned cars.

"Whatcha do for fun around here?" one nephew asked while walking down Station Street.
"We enjoy each other's company," I replied.
"No, I asked whatcha do for fun around here?" he repeated. I could tell our sleepy village on the border between Somewhere and NoWhere wasn't going to cater to a 12 year old's definition of entertainment.
"Nothing. We do nothing you would classify as fun around here," I said as I noticed our large family parade was drawing the villager's attention. Many were watching us from the windows of their flats above the shops. It was still early enough that many hadn't cleaned themselves up. "This village is home to the world's most wanted sadomasochists," I said in a quieter voice while pointing up to the faces in the windows. "I'd be careful if I were you - a nice noticeably overfed boy like yourself. Don't be caught outside alone. Lip smacking is how you would be described - roasted or baked - lip smacking either way." I emphasised 'lip smacking' my rolling my tongue up, over, and around my lips and smacking them together as if I'd just enjoyed a truly tasty morsel.

My nephew tossed a pre teen laugh of disbelief to ward off any accusation that he believed me and then promptly slowed his pace until he walked side by side with his mother.

Finally, once gathered we all sat down to eat. All I can say to describe a Williamson Thanksgiving is this. Have any of you seen the Simpson's eat a meal? If so you know they sit around a table without talking. They are totally focused on their food. The only sounds are the guttural expressions of chewing, gulping, gnashing of teeth, swallowing, slurping, and the screeching of forks scraping the surface of empty plates. Now, take that mental picture and double --- no triple it and you have an idea of Thanksgiving with the Williamsons.

Thanksgiving is how Williamson children are initiated into the adult world. All the food is placed on the Adult's table. The children sit on the newspaper covered floor. They wear swimming suits so they can be hosed off after the meal. The oldest male in the room gives the blessing with his eyes open, surveying the food as his booming voice gives thanks to the Lord for the bounty before him. As his voice begs God's blessings his mind is preparing the game plan. No football coach is better than a Williamson male at perfecting and executing plays. The only difference is the football coach's art is on the field and ours is the dinner table.

We all wait for the Amen with our tools of the table ready for battle. Once sounded the battle begins. No Roman battlefield ever sounded like that. After 2 minutes the haze of partly chewed food and spittle hangs over the table like a fog. The newly initiated are reaching for the Band-Aids to stop the blood from oozing onto the food from nasty fork wounds caused by the blinding light of swirling utensils at the table.

Children not dressed correctly pay the price

As for the children - well, as I said. They earn a place at the table and in the circle of Williamson adulthood by proving they can take enough food from the table to feed themselves. I remember my introduction to the table. I was 12 years old. The Thanksgiving meal had just begun. I stood there in my swimsuit with my brothers, sisters, and cousins. They attacked while I stood trying to remember from years of experience and mistakes. I ducked just in time as my 4 year old sister was head butted across the room by my football playing uncle. That is when I saw my chance.

Grandma wasn't feeling well that day and wasn't in true form. Usually we steered clear of Grandma. Everyone knew nature had blessed her with with a defense mechanism far better than horns, muscle, or wits. Grandma had GAS! All during the meal, as children approached to steal her mashed potatoes or turkey, Grandma would
- on call - rock up onto one buttock and release enough of the substance to warm two houses for a normal Alaskan winter. Deadly.......... Anyway I saw that Grandma's intestines were not up to normal output and moved in her direction. Her eyes were darting around the table. One hand was shoveling in the food while the other, armed with two forks, was stabbing in all directions keeping the foolish at bay. I moved closer, ever closer. She saw me out of the corner of her cat eyed glasses with the pearl trim with ruby inserts. She started to rock upwards. A silent but deadly emission leaked from her pipeworks and into the atmosphere. This greening of the air forced most of us outside to fill our lungs with unadulterated oxygen. Then it was back inside for more of the same.

We continued to eat and laugh (and made a few more trips outside until Grandma had her fill) for the next several hours. To everyone's surprise the traditional family grudge match didn't materialize. Everyone kept their mouths leashed and their tongue's tied. The day ended on a bright but messy high point.

Everyone cleaned up at my flat, ate a few leftovers and either settled down for the night - sleeping where ever they could find a spot or headed for home on the late night train. I walked them to the station. I noticed my nephew was walking far behind the pack. He was tired and full to bursting. I took out my cell phone and called a good friend who lived in a downstairs flat near the station. His dining room was easily within view from the sidewalk.

Five minutes later we heard an ear piercing scream. My nephew dashed by me and right into his mother's open arms. Sure enough my plan worked. He described in detail seeing a family sitting around their kitchen table feeding off a dog. The dog was covered in blood (tomato sauce) and still moving. They even waved at him as he passed. My sister didn't find the joke amusing. She swore never to attend another gathering in Cloverdale as long as she lived.

"Yes, we end on a note of contention. It can truly be called a Williamson gathering now!" I shouted.

I'm hoping all of you kind readers enjoyed your Thanksgiving Feast like my family. And for those of you who live in a country without a Thanksgiving - well all I can say is "I'm sorry. You don't know what you're missing!"


  1. Sweet I'm the first to comment on this... Well... I read this on the space center's blog too! I finally got to read how the story ends... Plus more :) =) very funny! I love it !

  2. I like the dog part... =)