Tuesday, November 27, 2012

G ... G ... Giving Th .. Th ... Thanks ...

I don’t travel much, and don’t read much about the goings-on of the world outside of my house, so I’m not sure if other areas have a holiday known as “Thanksgiving.”  For those readers whose cultures don’t participate in the celebration, it’s a day of “Giving” of  “Thanks” for the things one is blessed with (or has earned through hard work and hard work alone, thankyewverymuch, depending on your religious/political views) in life.  The “Giving” of “Thanks” generally takes the form of stuffing one’s face with food from the moment of waking and watching three games of American Football, before rushing to Walmart for the holiday sales.

I spent a few days with friends a bit north of home, which was delightful.  Our gracious host had created an announcement/invitation for the event on a social networking site, which allowed updates and comments and general discussion to take place.  As I was unaware of the competitive nature of participation, I was a bit taken aback when he posted this graph a week or so prior to the big day, tallying attendees’ “Spirit” and “Traditionality”:

Above:  I can only assume that offering to bring corned beef and Li’l Smokies fell outside of the operational definition of “traditional.”  Also, I’m pretty sure that this was the host’s first attempt at using bar charts in MS Excel.

I eventually finished with positive points by offering to bring six folding chairs, but still in last place, which, unbeknownst to me (else I would have made a greater effort), carried no small consequence.

The host’s house, while quite comfortable, is not palatial in terms of sleeping area, and the number of people requiring bed space exceeded the capacity of his home, necessitating that I, as the low point scorer, and the unfortunate soul with whom I was attending, sleep in the overflow quarters:

Above:  I believe that by spending the night here, I can now increase my percentage of Native American lineage from 1/1024 to 1/512.

The tepee did have a small wood stove, which, while offering little in the form of actual heat, at least introduced the possibility of death by asphyxiation, which would presumably solve the problem of being cold once and for all.  (A particularly humorous event was the lighting of the stove, which was done by a guest who was a firefighter, who insisted upon performing the task, and who was extremely intoxicated, and who proved far less adept at starting fires than at extinguishing them.  At one point, I thought "well, it's going to be spring soon, and we'll warm up then.")

After a long day of revelry, we finally felt bombed out of our gourds enough to pass out it was time to retire, and crawled under our stack of 30 or so blankets and nodded off.  I must say that I was far more comfortable than I had expected to be, despite being woken several times by the unfortunate soul with whom I was attending; once to take her shivering dog inside, once to retrieve her barking dog from the house, and finally, as she was attempting to re-light the fire, which had apparently gone out.  As I recall, we had a conversation along these lines:
Dead Acorn:  “Sugarplum snookums, what are you doing?”

Unfortunate Soul With Whom I Was Attending: “Tr … tr ... trying to st … st … start the fire …”

DA:  “Gee, you look really cold!  I’ll keep the bed really warm so that when you get it going, it’ll be all cozy!  I know if we both do our parts, we can get through this night!”

USWWIWA:  “I fu … fu … fucking hate you.”
Anyway, we made it through relatively unharmed (and the dog was fine, so don’t go all SPCA on me), and were even promoted to the house the next night.

The entire trip was pretty dang fantastic … the Thanksgiving crowd for the meal comprised an eclectic mix of city folk, hill people, between 5-8 dogs (ranging from an 8 lb. Chihuahua to a monster golden Labrador) and an extremely vocal cat, with plenty of champagne, beer, rum, whisky, and who knows what else for the bipeds (and one of the dogs).

By the way, the corned beef was devoured, and is, I would argue, well established as a tradition, so I have high hopes of at least getting to sleep in the garage next year.