I swear to you that everything you are about to read is true. During my sophomore year in college, my parents, who lived ten hours away, were unable to bring me home for Thanksgiving. I thought I would be relegated to an extended weekend of cafeteria turkey and so resigned myself to a pretty lonely and unappetizing holiday. Now I wish that had been the case because the reality was much worse.
While at school, I was fortunate enough that my cousin was also a student there. He was in a serious relationship at the time and was planning to spend the next four days with his girlfriend’s family. Knowing my situation, and not wanting me to spend that time alone, he asked his gf and her family if I could join them. They were nice enough to say yes and so my holiday of loneliness was to be replaced with a holiday of strangers. Yay? Who am I kidding? I was happy to go! And so, Wednesday evening saw the three of us drive about an hour to stay with her family.
Now, I have to apologize, because the details are a little sketchy on the details of the family. One could say that I don’t remember much about them because I’d only met them the one time, didn’t spend much time with them, and never saw them again. One could say that it’s been 13 years and so my memory is foggy. However, I prefer to say that the resulting horror was so traumatizing that it blotted out almost everything else. You be the judge.
Anyway, I met the family who were complete strangers to me and mostly strangers to my cousin: dad (a chef at a hotel), stepmom, big-little sister, and, as a bonus, two male cousins. So, after being introduced to a houseful of strangers, did we take the time to get to know each other, sharing details about our lives, and becoming closer together? Of course not. The family seemed to be catching up with each other while my cousin and I found a room and do what we always do in our free time: play video games, read books, and just chill.
Eventually, the kids went bowling, but we were already chilling so we didn’t go. Afterwards, Chef dad said he had intended for us to hangout with the kids, because he didn’t want us to be bored while in the house. We let him know that reading and playing video games was exactly what we wanted to do and thought everything was cool after that.
So that night passes. We have some food. My cousin and I sleep in the living room. It’s ok. Not too bad right? Now we come to Thanksgiving day. The big day looks to be pretty good. I don’t have to spend it alone. I have family with me, including my aunt and uncle who had planned to come down anyway to see their son. And I’m about to have a Thanksgiving feast cooked by a professional chef! And that’s where things went terribly wrong.
I want you to think about your typical Thanksgiving dinner. Turkey? Check. Yams? Check. Veggies? Check. Rice? No, no rice. Mashed potatoes? No, none of that either. Ham? No tasty ham anywhere in sight. Quiché? Why is there a quiché here? Who eats quiché for Thanksgiving? Macaroni and cheese? No Mac and cheese. No. Mac. And. Cheese. HOW DO YOU NOT HAVE MAC AND CHEESE?! WHO EVEN HAS THANKSGIVING WITHOUT MAC AND CHEESE?! ARE YOU FRICKIN’ KIDDING ME?!
Maybe you think I’m overreacting. My cousin didn’t. He actually apologized to me for the lack of that particular dish, said he didn’t know it was going to be that. Now, I can’t speak for you, but a quiché instead of macaroni seems weird to me. On top of that, I don’t like vegetables, so MY dinner consisted of turkey, gravy, and rolls. Needless to say, it was pizza for the rest of that weekend.
Ok. So you might be thinking that not having you preferred food isn’t that big a deal. Certainly not enough to equal the worst Thanksgiving ever. And I would agree with you. The capper on this event was the next night when Chef dad decided he wanted to talk to my cousin.
It was me, cousin, and Chef dad that night. Everyone else had left to go bowling or something. My cousin and I had chosen to stay in and, you guessed it, read and play video games. And apparently dad had stayed in to get drunk and tell my cousin about himself. He criticized us for our chosen pastime. He told us he had made sure big-little sister and cousins were there to show us a good time. And he talked to my cousin about how he wasn’t paying for gf to have her hair done all the time.
Cousin told him that we were doing exactly what we wanted to do, as we mentioned Wednesday night, that we didn’t ask for him to have the kids entertain us, and that he wasn’t going to pay for girlfriend’s hair anymore because she’d get it done Friday and need it done again by Monday. And that’s not an exaggeration. Chick couldn’t keep her hair done to save her life. As a full-time college student with no job, he didn’t have the money to throw away into that bottomless pit.
Now this whole time, I’m just sitting in the cut with a book in my hands. But I’m not reading. I’m watching dad to see if he was going to swing on my family. I’m also wondering how we were going to leave if we had to hurt this man, as gf and family had the car. Talking to cousin later, I found out he was thinking the same thing. Fortunately for all involved, Chef dad chose to sober up and none of us talked about it again. We managed to survive the weekend unscathed and went back to school, disappointed, but without having to fight our way out of the house.
So, that is my tale. And who reading this can disagree with this being the worst Thanksgiving ever? Between the stranger danger, drunken critique, and, the greatest injustice of all, no Mac and CHEESE…if you have a worse holiday story, I’d love to hear it.