From the Fortress of Solitude
Happy Thanksgiving from the Fortress!
I hope all of you enjoy a very carnivorous Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving makes meat eaters like us happy because we hold the place of Supremo Honchorus on Nature's food chain.
A Williamson Thanksgiving Day
All I can say to describe a Williamson Thanksgiving is this. Have any of you seen the cartoon Simpson's eat a meal? They sit around their dining room table entirely focused on the food. Conversation is unnecessary. Manners are time consuming and distracting to the task at hand - which is the consumption of mass quantities as quickly as possible. The Simpsons are totally focused on their food. The only sounds heard at the table are the guttural expressions of chewing, gulping, gnashing of teeth, swallowing, slurping, and the screeching of forks scraping the surfaces of empty plates.
Now, take that mental picture and double it and you have an idea of Thanksgiving with the Williamsons.
Thanksgiving is how Williamson children are initiated into the adult world, our version of a Bar and Bat Mitzvah. The feast is layed out on the adult's table. The children, along with all accompanying animals, are regulated to the newspaper covered floor. Smart Williamson parents bring their children's swimming suits. The children change into them for the mass feeding. After the meal the children can be taken outside, hosed off, dried off and changed back into their clothes.
The feast begins with a blessing on the food pronounced by the oldest male in the room who still has a place at the Adult Table. His eyes are kept partially open, surveying the food as his booming voice gives thanks to the Lord for the bounty before him. As his voice begs God's blessings his mind is preparing the game plan. No football coach is better than a Williamson male at perfecting and executing plays. The football coach's art is on the field and the Williamson's is the dinner table.
We all wait for the "Amen" with our tools of the table ready for battle. Once sounded, the battle begins. Elbows come into play along with well placed kicks, stabs, jabs, and an over use of "French" shouted to warn off the young and weak as everyone jostles into position. The family arranges itself from strongest to weakest in the food chain for the turkey and dressing. The strongest get the best slices of meat leaving the grizzle and fat for the youngest at the end. After two minutes a haze of partly chewed food and spittle hangs over the table like a fog.
At three minutes into the meal those new to the Williamson table reach for the first aid kit. Band-Aids are dispensed to stop blood from the nasty fork punctures and cuts caused by the blinding light of swirling utensils from getting into the food.
Children earn a place at the table and in the circle of Williamson adulthood by proving they can get enough food from the table, and other's peoples plates, to feed themselves. I remember the day I was graduated from the newspaper covered floor to the table. I was 12 years old. The Thanksgiving meal had just begun. I stood there in my swimsuit with my brothers, sisters, and cousins. They surged forward with shoves and kicks on the "Amen" while I stood firm, reviewing my game plan, forged over years of experience and mistakes. I ducked just in time as my 4 year old sister was head butted across the room by my football playing uncle. I saw my chance at that moment.
Grandma wasn't well that day. I knew that would throw her off her game. We normally steered clear of Grandma. Everyone knew she was blessed with a defense mechanism far better than horns, muscle, or wits. Grandma had GAS, combined with a digestive system able to produce it at will. During the meal us children would approach her plate to steal mashed potatoes or turkey. Her advanced age made her appear the weakest in the pack. Grandma sensed our proximity and would rock up onto one buttock and release enough natural gas to warm two houses through an Alaskan winter. She was Deadly.
That day I noticed that Grandma's intestines were not up to full production and moved in her direction. Her eyes darted around the table for visible encroachments on her porcelain plate. She used her right hand to shovel food into her mouth and her left, armed with two forks, stabbed out in all directions forcing the foolish into retreat. I moved closer, coming in from the direction of her cataract covered left eye. She saw me out of the corner of her cat eyed glasses with the pearl trim with ruby inserts just as I reached out for a thick juicy slice of white meat. I saw her rock upwards toward the right side of the chair. Her face turned red as she summoned the best her internal pipes could produce. I froze, hoping for the best. Then - a squeak. No, it was more a tiny peep. Nothing. Grandma came to the table unarmed and therefore completely open to attack.
Sixty second later Grandma was left with a clean plate. Applause erupted from the gathering in celebration of another Williamson entering the ranks of adulthood. Grandma surrendered her place at the table and joined the geriatric table in the kitchen for white bread and gravy. I had made it.
Great Grandmother Luella practicing her defensive skills during breakfast this morning. Most of her eggs and bacon ended up on the living room carpet.
Today's feast will begin shortly. I fear for Luella. She recently had an operation and may not be up to defending her place at the table. I'll do my best to defend her servings but Brandon and Monica's oldest son Cameron is in the sixth grade this year and hungry for a place with the adults. We shall see what happens.
Happy Thanksgiving to All,