Stupidity and Thanksgiving

Ah holidays! When nearly forgotten, ever eccentric and quirky relatives leave their attics and tree trunks or wherever it is they reside, and provide ample entertainment during family gatherings. No, I don’t have an Uncle Albert who floats up to the ceiling every time he laughs or an Aunt Mabel who likes to wander into neighbors’ homes and pilfer their pantries. But I do have the mysterious case of the all-too-visible pooch that refused to disappear.

Thanksgiving in my family means that all five of my grandmother’s children, along with assorted grandchildren and great grandchildren, gather at her home to celebrate together. Personally, I believe in small, meaningful (as opposed to meaningless) crowds at holiday events. Anything beyond say, a dozen or so relations may provide a recipe for unrest and possible mayhem.

Grandma’s youngest son, Larry, lives 140 miles away. He visits Grandma several times a year bringing along his wife, Fran, twenty-three year-old daughter Melba and pooch, Henry. Henry is a miniature Pincher, whose price, we’ve all been advised on many an occasion, rivaled that of a small, slightly used, Korean automobile.

Henry is much loved by Fran and Melba. Whenever they visit, Henry perches on the coffee table or sofa, or prances about as far as his little paws will carry him, though Grandma would prefer he enjoy the great outdoors. No matter that Grandma is ninety, has asthma and keeps her own dog in the backyard when company is present; Henry’s place was among the other guests.

Larry’s last visit had been during a family and friends party of about fifty people. Visitors mostly lounged in the living room, family room and kitchen areas. This was a coincidence as Henry too mostly lingered in those rooms, on a leash. Unfortunately, his flexible, twenty-six foot leash created a booby trap of sorts, tripping a few elderly relatives who then slipped on the wet puddle next to Henry’s water bowl (in the family room) and almost fell headlong onto the kitchen counter.

After a few complaints about said leash, Melba decided to liberate Henry. He, in turn, chose to reward all by trotting away into Grandma’s master bedroom and doing his duty on the carpet beside her bed in the exact spot that Granny liked to place her foot upon climbing in and out of bed.

So come Thanksgiving, Grandma asked Larry to leave Henry at home. Larry objected, claiming Henry had no where to go.

Here is some background information regarding this last statement: Larry’s family kept a full-time, live-in maid; Fran had about two dozen relatives living within a fifteen-mile radius of their home, including her parents, assorted aunts and uncles, brothers, and several cousins.

Larry told Grandma that either Henry comes along for Thanksgiving or none of them would be there. Grandma felt disturbed, not quite knowing how to please everyone or anyone, for that matter.

Should Grandma have:

A. Had Thanksgiving outdoors that year so Henry could do his duty properly. Grandma could wrap herself up in heavy blankets so the late, chilly fall air would hopefully not affect her;
B. Explained to Larry about kennels, dog-sitters, and so on. Something she’d obviously failed to adequately handle during Larry’s childhood;
C. Told Larry and family “Happy Thanksgiving” via the telephone, fax or instant messaging; or
D. Allowed Henry free reign once again and placed plastic sheeting all over the flooring and furniture.

As it turned out, Larry and his family came, and left Henry at home with their housekeeper which, Fran informed Grandma, was where they typically left him when they were not at home. All this fuss over naught.

Larry needed to get his priorities straight. As the ending of this episode showed,
holiday arrangements for Henry were easily made. Larry could have made his mother
happy by merely exercising some thought and flexibility for that one evening. Yes, moms do take priority over pets. Most moms, anyway.

Holidays may bring along added stress from the excitement of organizing, socializing and/or traveling. Stress promotes stupidity as it prevents clarity of thought. Take note of what it did to Larry. It’s important to acknowledge this ahead of time and plan ways to alleviate or defuse potential sources of anxiety. Deep breaths and an equally deep sense of humor can work wonders to keep stress at bay.

Think first, last and always.


4 Responses to “Stupidity and Thanksgiving”

  1. Mary says:

    I am going to practice my Lamaze breathing and get out a good joke book as I prepare myself for the 18 family members coming to my house for dinner tomorrow! No pets allowed.

  2. Suzie says:

    “People today!” as my grandson used to say. There is no respect for older parents. I wonder if there’s even much affection.

  3. dawn says:

    Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! And I believe (B) would have been most appropriate 🙂
    Families… gotta love em!

  4. Starlily says:

    It always helps to have a good sense of humor when dealing with a houseful of ‘holiday-only’ relatives… thanks for the giggles 😉

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