Thursday, November 24, 2016

These Old Walkin' Shoes: Family Tradition

Today is Thanksgiving Day. You’re probably hanging with your families and not reading this until late on Black Friday, after you’ve rested a bit after shopping for all those “deals” that you can’t live without. I hope you had a wonderful time with the family on Thanksgiving. That’s what it’s all about.

For our Thanksgiving, we had everyone over to the house. Actually, every holiday is hosted at the Bacon Estate. We have the biggest house, and we set up the family holiday schedule over twenty years ago. It’s pretty simple, despite having to make two families happy. For the most part it’s worked really well.

Wendy and I didn’t really want to have to bounce around all over the place for the holidays. She has a rather large family and mine was in another county. So, our schedule took all that into consideration. Instead of trying to get to multiple places on the same day, we created a rotating schedule that gives each family a fair shake at enjoying the holidays with all of us.

In years ending with  odd numbers, Wendy’s family will get Christmas Day. We would go to wherever her family was hosting the holiday. Mostly, it was at her parents’ house. This meant that my family got Christmas Eve and Thanksgiving that same year. On even ending years, the setup would be completely reversed, with my family getting Christmas and her family getting Thanksgiving.

That schedule has worked out very well for us. Aside from a few years when one of the family members forgets what the schedule is, it has always worked. (Note: I’m not sure how they can forget. It’s easy -- the ODD family gets the ODD years.) That same schedule has also worked its way into my sister’s scheduling with her ex-husband and his family. It seems to be acceptable for almost all of the families involved.

After we bought our house, we became the collection center for family members at the holidays. Before we had kids, we did venture out to other houses, but once the entire family started expanding, our house worked out to be the best place to congregate. That is the blessing/curse of having the larger house.

Once my nephews got a little bit older, we all would play the X-Box or Playstation. To that point, that was the highlight of the holidays for me. When those same nephews got a little bit older, we moved from video games to card games. Euchre is our game of choice. I love sitting down and playing cards. I could play all day. There are some days that I could even skip the meal and just play cards.

We’re all getting older now. The nieces and nephews are old enough to date or have obsessions with Detroit record stores. So, the days seem to be a bit more disjointed than before. People tend to move in and out as they try to make their respective extended families happy. It makes me a little sad sometimes, but I’ve been there. Thankfully, my own kids aren’t old enough for all that nonsense. But it’s coming.

I’m really one of the kids when it comes to the holidays. I’d rather play games with the kids than help with the meal or the subsequent clean up. And I really don’t sit around looking at the sales ads for anything. That would take time away from cards or video games. I have my priorities.

When I was a kid, we kind of had the same type of schedule. We would flip between MeMe and Papa’s house, and my grandmother’s house depending on the year. After Papa passed away, my grandmother would invite MeMe over to her house to have Thanksgiving with us. After dinner, they would play cards while my sister, brother, and I played with Tinkertoys or basically just annoyed each other as much as possible. It’s what siblings do.

Yes, this article is really a Reminiscing article, but it is Thanksgiving. There is no better day to talk about Thanksgiving than on Thanksgiving. I hope all of you are enjoying your day with family and friends. That’s what the day is all about. Make sure you get enough rest to be able to watch “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” tomorrow night. It’s the 50th anniversary special. Happy Thanksgiving!

Niagara’s Watercooler gave all the employees today and tomorrow off with the same pay they would normally receive. Later, we’ll watch the Detroit Lions lose their traditional Thanksgiving Day football game.