WATCH OUT! TURKEY COMING THROUGH!” my mom bellows. I dart quickly to the side, missing the fire-hot turkey by mere inches as I make my way to the table.
“MASHED POTATOES! PIPING HOT!” my dad yells from the other direction, forcing me to leap back across the room.
“Ok! I – gahhh!”
“KHAK – CATCH!” my brother Matt calls out, tossing a wad of napkins across the table, hitting me squarely in the face.
Welcome to Thanksgiving, Walker style.
The past few Thanksgivings have developed into a homecoming parade of sorts, replete with cheerleading, socializing, and a lot of spirit. There’s a lot of “rararas,” a lot of yelling, sometimes even some boos and hisses. But in the end, we all end up at the same table, eating the same food, and everything becomes a little less crazy, a little more docile. Sitting down together, the food steaming, the table groaning a little, our stomachs grumbling a little as well, it’s almost picturesque. But how do you live up to this Norman Rockwell-esque image of a plump turkey on the table and a golden retriever waiting for a bone on the floor? How do you combine six people with six different tastes, six different stomachs, and unite them around one meal? Admittedly, sometimes it almost ends in disaster, especially when my brothers and I were younger and we decided that it was more fun to throw food on the floor than to put said food in our mouths.
But as my brothers and I have gotten older, the crumbs lessen, the stack of dishes is dealt with more swiftly, the leftovers are devoured. The stories become longer, wine is dispersed of and drank more quickly, we become more and more complacent to just sit around and lie on the sofa for hours and hours after the meal. We run in the morning, feast in the afternoon, and doze through the early evening ‘til nighttime. With every passing year, our hairstyles change, our skin softens, we become older. Months pass between family gatherings. People pass in and out of our lives, places too. Our parents become more and more nostalgic when we barge through the doors yelling, “Hey! I’m home!” They absorb all of our chatterings and rants with small smiles on their faces, heads tilted, as if to say, “Oh look at our children, they’re almost grown now.”
We still, however, climb onto the dining room chairs and belt out songs from “Les Miserables,” commiserate about too much work and finals and “Oh god, did you see that hockey game?!” We still bop each other with pillows, still wiggle and dance to strange music, still end up at the end of the day in the living room with books perched under our noses, curled into the sofa smothered in pillows. Despite how much we’ve changed and how much taller we’ve become, Thanksgiving reminds us that we can still be silly and kooky together. It reminds us that though we are changing and are moving in a million different directions, we are still the Walkers, a crazy clan of gentle giants.
As the YouTube sensation, Kid President, said in his latest video, “Sometimes we just need to say thanks more.” So thanks family. “Pox nobees.”