We start this post with family news. Its late and I apologize.
Camille Mattson Weds Brad Hall
Camille Mattson married Brad Hall on October 20, 2012 in American Fork, Utah. The wedding was held in the late afternoon followed by a reception that evening. We begin with a relationship chart.
Camille and Brad will make their home in Utah Valley.
Aunt Linda came down from Idaho for the event. Uncle Marvin showed up the next day. I enjoyed the reception. The food was a big plus. Aunt Bev's chocolate cake was on the table for all to enjoy. It isn't a Mattson event without Aunt Bev's chocolate cake. One thing disappointed me; the refreshment table was missing a bowl or two of Aunt Joann's (Bev's sister) world famous caramel corn. I guess I'll have to wait for the family Christmas party for that decadent indulgent.
Some of us are hoping Brad can take the edge off Camille's sarcastic ways. Camille has always given me a run for my money in the sarcasm department at family gatherings. Hopefully, with Brad's help, that won't be the case anymore. I'm hoping married life will bring out the hidden, domesticated Camille some of us think is buried deep down :)
The Thanksgiving Round Up
I'm hoping everyone in our digital family union had a wonderfully filling Thanksgiving.
I'm reminded of the ancient Roman feasts when our family gathers for holiday feasts. Like the Romans, we slouch around the table, consuming mass quantities of exotic dishes until our stomachs can take no more. The ancient Romans remedied the situation by excusing themselves to go vomit so they could return and feast once more. The Roman solution would be frowned upon in our family. Vomiting up one's meal isn't a way of endearing oneself to the hostess.
In our family, the women attend feasts wearing outfits one size larger to accommodate for their expanded stomachs. The men solve the overeating problem by undoing their belts and the top button of their pants.
A panorama of semi dressed bodies lounging about in the living room and family room would greet an after the feast visitor. Some relatives would be found sound asleep; others would be moaning for a Tums, Rolaid or a table knife to put themselves out of their self inflicted misery. A few might be alert enough to forage for crumbs on the carpet around them. A legion or two of pestilent flies buzzing around the corpses would add just the right effect to complete the mental picture (if it wasn't November). I think a cawing crow on the deck would be another nice effect.
Thanksgiving gives me the opportunity to confess publicly how thankful I am for family and friends. I'm thankful for the twenty-two years I spent Directing the Space Education Center, and the outstanding dedicated staff and volunteers who worked in that happy place. I'm thankful for the 310,000 people who came through our doors on voyages of imagination. I'm grateful for the tremendous outpouring of support this program has received over the past several weeks. There are many decisions to be made as we work to create a new Space Center in a new building.
The Williamsons and Burrows descended on Jilane and Kevin Bodily's home in Pleasant Grove for our Thanksgiving meal. Steven and Janice Burrows were there with most of their children and grandchildren. The DelGrosso's had their meal at Kim and JD's house. Later that night they they joined us at Jilane's for games and dessert.
You never know what you'll get at a Williamson holiday gathering. In the best of times, the event would pass peacefully with little to report other than Great Grandma Luella managing to keep a portion of her meal on her plate and off her blouse and the children surviving with little or no blood loss.
In the worst of times, there could be fireworks if family members aren't strategically positioned around the holiday table. It is prudent to seat our family's few remaining independents between the rabid Republics and the Peace, Land and Bread Democrats. Great Grandma Luella was chastised earlier in the week by my sister Lisa for attempting to convert her twelve year old daughter to "socialism".
Great Grandma brushed up for the holiday gathering by watching hundreds of hours of PBS and CSPAN. She's tired of hearing conservative rhetoric from her children and grandchildren. She was ready to dish it right back if given the opportunity. We had to make sure that didn't happen. Great Grandma was seated at the end of the table this year where she could do no harm and, on Lisa's insistence, far away from the children in the next room.
We sometimes have a problem with religion at family gatherings. Not only should family members with strong political views be separated, the hostess should also take into consideration her relatives' diverse religious beliefs as she sets out the name places around the table. Those who favor reincarnation are generally tolerated by the liberals and teens. Our Mormon majority are too numerous to separate so they must be sub categorized by conviction. The more forgiving, back of the chapel Mormons, are good to mix with the minority agnostics. Front row, hymn singing Mormons, are good to sit in the white hair section. Knowing where the faithful are makes it easy to call upon someone to offer the Thanksgiving blessing on the food.
One of my jobs at all holiday reunions is to monitor the gathering and inject myself into any conversation or situation that appears to be approaching the boiling point. My 30 years in the classroom uniquely qualifies me for the task. I know the family very well, having been a part of it for 54 years, and can generally detect the raising of voices quickly enough to bolt across the room, squeeze in between the combatants, and turn a phrase fast enough to cool the waters and redirect the conversation. I've been brushing up on anecdotes and feel confident I can keep things civil and peaceful until everyone goes home to debate whether or not they'll ever attend another gathering.
I have a nuclear option if my efforts to calm a heated debate fails. I walk over to Great Grandpa Charlie, pull him away from the poor soul he has trapped in a conversation, and tell him that So and So has a question on the how to prepare for the approaching apocalypse.
"You've come to the right person," he says as he shuffles towards a potential convert. He must be careful as he dodges the dozen or so great grandchildren decorating the carpet. One can't afford to fall and break a hip at his age.
Great Grandpa Charlie believes the world is fast approaching its sell by date; a conviction he has strongly held since 1959, which is why he purchased six acres of farmland in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
"When the government falls apart we can go to South Dakota and live off the land," he answers proudly whenever asked why he doesn't sell the land and pocket the profit. His survival plans unravel when we press him for details on how we are suppose to get to South Dakota from Utah if things suddenly head south and starving mobs ravage the cities, towns and countryside.
Anyway - here I go getting carried away. To sum up - I'm hoping all of you had a very happy Thanksgiving.