“I didn’t eat breakfast,” Shaggy Hair Boy said in the car.
“Me neither,” said Boy in Black. “I deliberately stopped eating some time last night.”
That’s the tradition when we’re going to my parents’ house for a holiday meal. We eat as little as possible that morning, just so we have room for the meal that awaits us.
My mother greeted us at the door with a “Happy Thanksgiving!” and then rushed back into the kitchen to finish making big pots of food. My father had set three tables with white cloths and candles, bringing in folding chairs from the back porch. We all milled about, drinking wine or cider, and talking about how hungry the delicious smells were making us.
We devoured a huge meal, and then an hour later, came back to the table for round two: homemade pies. It’s amazing how much food sixteen skinny people can eat if they haven’t had breakfast that day.
Blonde Sister, Blond Brother-in-law, and I took a walk out to my father’s garden while other family members crowded onto the couch or sprawled on the living room floor. At the kitchen table, a group gathered to play the New Yorker game: it’s a game in which everyone looks at the same cartoon and then they each have to write a funny caption. It’s the kind of game that’s fun whether you’re playing or just wandering through as a spectator. That’s how most holidays end up at my parents’ house: groups of people playing games or talking, resting between rounds of food.
The boy with the long dark hair and purple shirt is my youngest son, With-a-Why. Then following him clockwise: Schoolteacher Niece, Drama Niece, Blonde Niece, my mother, my father, and Red-haired Niece.