Well, it's that time again. Time for Judith Heartsong's Artsy Essay Contest. I am submitting my entry in the nick of time. I hope. The topic this month is: My favorite FUNNY Thanksgiving story or memory.
So here goes my attempt:
With time, comes perspective. When I was in 8th grade this story didn't seem all that funny to me. Now? Well, you can't help but laugh. I guess that means the money I spent in therapy for several years was well spent.
My most memorable Thanksgiving occurred the year I was in 8th grade. Hmmm....I guess that means I had just turned thirteen. We lived in a rural location in Pennsylvania. My mom was married to husband number four. We'll call him Bud, for the sake of the story and for the sake of authenticity, because that was his name.
Bud had a humongous family. He had several siblings, in addition to several kids of his own who were grown and had significant others. There were children. Tons of children! And, there was us - my brothers and me, my grandfather, maybe an aunt or uncle and his or her spouse. Most head counts at the table exceeded forty. Holiday dinners were rotated amongst the various houses. This particular year it was our turn. So, it was a very busy time for me. I had to help my mom clean and cook. I was getting to meet several of Bud's children for the first time. His two boys were gorgeous. So I thought, as a somewhat prepubescent teen with a crush on her much older step-brothers.
The day was going along as well as can be expected with so much work to be done and people coming and going. Then IT happened. The moment most girls look forward to with trepidation. The gateway to womanhood swung open and I was plunged into the world of menses and all the yuckiness that comes with it. Unfortunately, my mother was past her days of needing to keep supplies on hand. As such, I couldn't just discretely take care of the situation. I had to go to my mom and ask her to send someone to the store. No big deal. I believe she sent my stepsister and we continued to prepare the Thanksgiving dinner with all the accoutrements. Oh how I loved those dinners. We would have ham, turkey, homemade mash potatoes, stuffing, green bean casserole, corn pudding and pies galore, and my favorite, Shoefly Cake. Yummers!
After hours of preparation, we finally sat down at the tables to eat. Afterwards, we kids usually took care of washing the dishes while the adults sat around playing cards, or watching TV. All that work had pretty much exhausted me. I also felt a bit overwhelmed having so many people around. Lucky for me, we were at our house that year. I was able to sneak off by myself somewhere like the surly teenager that I was. However, I wasn't out of ear shot, because I heard someone ask my mother where I was and that's when she announced to the whole house full of people that I had started my period. I was mortified to say the least. As a teenager, that's the last thing that you want to hear your family members talking about let alone practical strangers. I wanted to crawl into a hole somewhere and die. Alas, I didn't and had several more such dinners to suffer through after that day. Luckily, on those occasions my monthly cycle was not the topic of conversation.