THANKSGIVING 2008 :: a manifesto. a declaration. a venting.

I hereby declare that for Turkey 2008, we kindle a new tradition in a far more intimate setting. You’ll never hear me  deny the credo of “More is Merrier”  However, when it comes to what i still feel is my favourite holiday around which to gather family, Thanksgiving ought to be a bit more traditional in terms of density.

I need to dive right in and say that it was completely unacceptable that i could barely comprehend the Rounds of Thankfulls at our table what with all the noise and commotion and 20+ minutes between servings.  I’m glad the other Kids Table got to blast around and do theirs.  I cant say i’m not jealous.  But for the record, i didnt even hear one from Jan, so its like my plate was missing my stuffing.  Unacceptable at best.

Yes we have small children.  But i dont know if i can assign but 10% of this to them.  My beef /(or, turkey meat as it were)/ is with the atrocious signal to noise ratio this year.  How the actual meal went down is simply one of the rankest cans on the curb.  I could also cite that i barely got to speak & commune and be present with the very people i came out there for.  The people who define it. The OG Kids Table.  Word.

We kids, we have opinions.  They – and you know who they are – they have positions.  Talking points from which to spout and vocalise under the false pretense of educating those they deem inexperienced, those who still listen only out of lingering respect.  But in retrospect, it was simply them talking to state their station in life and their purchase in America.

When engaged on their position /(really, anything other then passively listening and nodding)/, was to invite an acrid form of debate.  At times, i felt i had to say /something:/ As a vodka-soaked chalk-line was drawn around their positions such that you’d have to be a corpse to not be offended.  And still, against my better judgment, yet with respect and tempered forethought, i spoke-up.  If for nothing else then to state that i held a different opinion. Not to engage, but to notify this elder that, at that moment, the kitchen wasn’t exactly homogeneous.  This either clicked the Rage button in the particular Bull, or caused them to retreat behind the shield of opinion.

So, whats the difference between an Opinion and a Position?  Perhaps one – the Opinion – is a belief you share with others whilst enjoying the broad stroke of /civility/, where debate is both welcome and healthy, where mutual respect is implicit. Increasingly, the other – the Position – is a slow-moving landmass claimed as their own, an ancient pitched battle rendering them apathetic towards and therefore disrespectful of anothers point of view.  Its the difference between a conversation beginning with /”I feel that…”/ versus one that ends with /”You know what? Let me tell you something…”/  One usually is accompanied by comments that can clear a room.  The other, perhaps, might open a mind.

For the benefit of the doubt, its foolish of me to rail against the lack of logic & reason at an event so steeped in the consumption of so much alcohol. As well, perhaps it’s not necessarily a mutual lack of respect.  However, based on the delta between our age groups, the respect simply isnt 1:1 respect. And as we Kids grow older, we’re less willing to simply nod our heads and take it.  I’m growing hungry for healthy, debate-rich conversations that dont snowball into tension-filled kitchens and total contact-avoidance all weekend.

So therefore, again, i propose for 2008 that we do Turkey in a more intimate setting.  This will be tough to NOT do in Arizona because of where the pending Alexander Girlie Creature will be with regards to Grandma’s heart by this time next year. But it *is* possible.  We did it last year in Carp. The balls it took us, and the heat we endured to pull that off is *precisely* how traditions get forged.  I’d be willing to entertain keeping it in Arizona if we can do the actual DINNER amongst ourselves, then join up with the revelers.  Yet this too presents its own deck of challenges.

This wont be easy.  But then again, nothing worth while ever is.

I only wish to start the conversations NOW rather then LATER.

I welcome each of your inputs.

Until then, i remain your loyal Kids Table Historian.

Sean Hamilton Alexander