Thanksgiving is always fun around my family. Though every year I try to avoid it like the plague. I leave the country or town for one of the major holidays and my friends always ask, “JP do you not like your family?” I answer, “No. I love them and this is why.” It starts off with just a few of us (about 30-35), then mix in some friends (10), and stir in a mess of Redneck. That’s right, I said it, Redneck. Now I like to think of my self as an up and coming city dweller that is culturally hip that know a thing or two about what is going on. But every year I am reminded about the cold hard truth of my existence. I am from the heart land, plain and simple, country. I cannot escape it. I tried to warn Chocolate Bear last year when he came with me, but he still wasn’t prepared.
As I walk into my uncles house on Thanksgiving, I am greeted with the delectable smell of home cooking. Though just as that sweet smell hits my nostrils, my ears and eyes are assaulted by NASCAR on the top t.v. and football on the bottom. Yep, two t.v.’s both with the quintessential redneck programs of choice. I understand that both of these items are usually on in other peoples homes, but there is something strange about a group of grown men yelling at cars going around in a circle. I get football, there is sport and athletics; NASCAR has still not proved it is worthy of my time. Now, the football, well we in the “clan of JP” have never been shy about gambling on anything. Football is just an excuse to trash talk and take our relatives money and the same goes for NCAA basketball (GO GATORS). This years football buy in was $125 if that gives you the gravity of the situation. Every once in awhile this betting can go a bit far. Take for example a new addition to JP’s Thanksgiving, thanks to an innovative cousin: Beer Pong. Ladies and gentlemen, our family has been playing beer pong for the past 3 years and it only gets worse every meeting.
So lets re-cap before we move forward. We have about 40 people, NASCAR, Football, gambling, food, and beer pong. Hmmm, how do I explain this to those who have a traditional turkey day? You know those people that break out the good dishes and real silver-ware. Where their day is full of pomp and circumstance, where dressing up is mandatory and the turkey has little chef’s hats on the leg bones. Hell at our function if the males of the clan still have their shirts and shoes on were are doing good. Okay that is a bit dramatic, but you get the picture. Anyways, back to beer pong. It is quite interesting to see all those 18 and over break into teams and the dynamics that begin to form. It is from these teams one can see the true meaning of family. For those not playing, they are the equivalent to bookies trying to stack the odds and the money on the different teams. Another skill we JP’s are good at.
When playing beer pong the following is mandatory conversation at the table: tales of grandeur and defeat while hunting since the last meeting. How many beers you will consume and how drunk you will get. Which cousin should get married (dodged this bullet twice now). Which cousin should be “volunteered” for military service (brother was nominated this year). And last but not least, any off color joke you have been saving all year, preferably directed at you opponent. We think of this as a team building exercise and something to talk about at Christmas.
This year my Sis said something that really stuck in my head. It was random and low-key but had a profound impact on how I looked at this whole redneck coming together. Sis said, “well this may be the last year to spend Thanksgiving with our Grandmother.” These words had hit me like a ton of bricks after complaining that I had to go to another damn redneck revival. Her words are true and for the first time in my adult life, I had something to be thankful for. It is amazing that the little things in life can still have an acute impact on ones life. So, even though we may be low-class and rowdy, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I hope everyone had a safe and happy Thanksgiving. Cheers!