...it's even happier because THE DRESSING TURNED OUT TO BE DELICIOUS! I am so relieved. Many compliments came my way for the sausage/cornbread and cranberry/walnut combinations, with additional kudos offered from my Uncle Mike and Poppy, both of whom enjoyed the oyster dressing, which, eewwwww. They were both very sweet, but I'm still of the mind that they should have offered me a medal, because I did have to cut those slimy, ugly things up.
We went to Pat and Angie's house along with Kieren, Dayden and Kiersi, my parents, my Uncle Mike and Aunt Jackie, Mary Elizabeth, my step-gran, her son Doug (who is my....step-uncle? Very confusing), Angie's aunt and uncle, Debbie and Steve (who are our age) and my young cousin Emily, who was introducing a serious new beau to the family, Manny.
I went over to meet him and took the girls with me. Manny looked at me shyly in the manner of a person who is not a natural extrovert being plopped down in the middle of a family that contains just two kinds of people: Extreme extroverts who will try to be your best friend within ten minutes of meeting you and extreme introverts who will sit and look out the window....at the television....at a picture hanging on the wall....at a speck of dust on a tabletop....ANYTHING other than talk to you so that the silences stretch out like rubber bands and threaten to go zinging off into space where they'll likely put somebody's eye out.
"Hi, Manny," I said, taking the hand he offered. "I'm Shelley, Emily's ancient cousin, and these are my daughters Meelyn and Aisling who are just a couple of years younger than Emily, so they're not ancient, they're just cousins."
Meelyn and Aisling looked mortified, Emily beamed and Manny managed a slightly strangled, "Hinicetomeetyou," before he sank gratefully back onto the couch. Emily squeezed his hand, her face alight, and I was reminded vividly of the first time my husband met my family, which was two months before we got married and about three weeks after we met. Good times. Gooooood times. There were LOTS of conversations going on then, you betcha.
Dinner was served and everything was delicious and fattening and full of butter. I sat at the same table as Pat, where he informed me that he had been reading here on InsomniMom and that he wished to inform me that he does not pour a can of Sprite into the turkey's body cavity; it is a can of COKE, thank you very much. I told him I would add a retraction, so here it is, Mr. Happy-Go-Lucky.
After lunch, we all idled around talking and eating pie, watching a little football, sneaking a piece of turkey here and there. The kids went down to the basement playroom to play Wii. Several people felt inclined to take naps and they were left to their peaceful dreams. I sat at the dining table with my father and my uncle and Pat and Poppy and Uncle Mike scandalized us with stories of their youth, many of which involved driving over the Ohio state line where the drinking age was nineteen, only they were sixteen.
"I don't think all the stories of our checkered youth are ready to be shared yet," I said to Pat, who gave me a brief, sidelong look that clearly said shutupshutupshutup. "I think they need to age for another twenty years or so before we share them."
Maybe at another Thanksgiving.
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