Thursday, November 23, 2006
A Set Piece Without Much Variation
For years, my Thanksgivings were punctuated with an unconventional group of my parents' friends, most notably two ex-communicated Jehovah Witnesses, Donna and Richard, a mother-son pair worthy of a Flannery O'Connor story. We'd start in on the turkey, and everything would be a-okay -- I don't remember much alcohol being consumed except for the sip of terrible vinegary wine saved for festive times (my parents didn't, for the most part, drink) so booze was not to blame for the strange turn things would take by dessert -- Richard weeping into the boxed pumpkin pie and telling us the story of how he got kicked out of the Witnesses. It was a set piece for many years without much variation; he'd told the elders of the church about having "bad" feelings for men and that he sometimes indulged in pornography (no secret to us as our house was right next to the huge Triple XXX Superstore on the highway and we'd drive by it several times a week, my dad frequently noting, There's Richard's truck!) The elders kicked him out, some kind of religious version of the tribe has spoken and soon Richard was sobbing even harder and my dad would try and comfort him by saying, It's okay, Richard, really, it's just fine.
I'm not sure what purpose this yearly confession served Richard, but I didn't mind it. It drew attention away from my single status and the battery of lame questions -- Still dating that schoolteacher who won't commit? (the use of the word schoolteacher always struck me as very Laura Ingalls and sent me into a fit of giggles), or Whatever happened to your old high school boyfriend? Said boyfriend's name, ironically, was Richard, and I'd report that he went the way of our Richard, but without the sturm and drang of the religious outing -- he'd merely dyed a blonde streak into his hair and starting listening to the same Berlin album over and over again. I'd leave the table and smile at how things could be both odd and predictable at the same time, the more things change, the more they stay the same feeling, and I was always very thankful.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep." Romans 12:15
Drinking movie suggestion: Dog Day Afternoon
Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Thanksgiving! I'm thankful for all those out there reading, for new and old friends, and for my nearest and dearest, too many to name. Alas, you know who you are! Without all of you, there'd be no making it through this or any of life's dreary and not so dreary hours.