As long as I can remember my family has done the same thing every year for Thanksgiving. We all gather at my parents house. We drink the same brand of sparkling cider, take
our annual family picture and eat till we can’t move.
And every year we have the big family fight, um, I mean… argument. Maybe I should call it a spirited debate. It’s always over something stupid, never about politics or religion, or anything that gets most people heated. One year it was about my uncle’s decision to date women who were closer to my age than his own.(Yikes and eww!) Another year it was about modern music versus oldies.(They don’t call them classics for a nothing.) Last year we had a big discussion about my brother’s unfortunate fashion choices. (Tiny tee-shirt to show off his bulging muscles and low riding pants… to show off his underwear?)
But most arguments on Thanksgiving day stem from one thing: Games. My mother’s side of the family are notorious cheaters. My grandfather, wily old man may he rest in peace was, their leader. At a certain point during childhood in my family, one realizes that Poppy is a big fat stinky cheater, and if you are going to play with him you have to expect that if you get up to go to the bathroom he will steal your cards, or stack the deck or make up the rules to the game as he goes.
There are some children who accept the challenge and begin the process of learning how to out cheat the cheater. There are others like my middle brother, who watch in honorable horror. My father, who grew up in an honest, well-behaved family, refuses to play with us unless we promise to play fair. (Poor sap.)
Card games are ridiculous, from Gold Fish to Rummy 500 I don’t think a fair game has ever been played in our household. When we play Spades rules don’t apply at all, cards are freely traded and adding ten to fifteen extra points to your score is permissible.
Trival Pursuit became a family favorite after smart phones came out. More than a test of knowledge it became a test of who could google the fastest.
Scattegories … ah. The game we wait for every year and the cause of our loudest family arguments. For those of you who don’t know Scattegories, the objective of the 2-to-6-player game is to score points by uniquely naming objects within a set of categories, given an initial letter, within a time limit. For example… A college major that begins with the letter W.
My mother said Witch Craft. My uncle hotly refused to let her have the point. But when it came around to his wife’s turn and she said Weeding,my uncle being a good husband defended his wife’s answer, stating that Horticulture was indeed a college major and that she should not only be given the point, but an extra for being so clever. (Gag and what a big flipping cheater!) And that started the fight-argument-spirited debate of that year.
Then after every blow out we have apple pie and ice cream and go on like nothing ever happened.Our guests always gaze at us in amazement and wonder how so many crazy people got put in one family but they always leave with smiles on their faces.
The truth is Thanksgiving wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without a little cheating, a little screaming and my father shaking his head, wondering why the hell he married into this family.
Sidenote:It’s an unspoken code that we keep all cheating confined to our house only. Because honestly, nobody likes a cheater.
Another sidenote: Since we spent our childhoods trying to out smart my grandfather we know the rules like the back of our hands, and we’re all SUPER competitive. Oh and we’re gloaters. (Bad sportsmanship 😦 I know. ) Don’t invite us for game night unless you’re prepared to go down.
Your turn. Is your family as nuts as mine? Do you have a weird family tradition? Any tradition? No tradition? Like games? Wanna play me in SPIT? Any and all comments are welcome.