thanksgiving stories

Over Thanksgiving weekend I seemed to be paying closer attention to the stories people told, whether it was heard or read. The way they told them came into focus and the stories themselves were excellent. Some were so funny I was crying, some were heartbreaking, and others were just disgusting. I went to Corey’s aunt and uncle’s house in upper Michigan for the third year in a row. Four of his male cousins and a few friends and girlfriends came up from college, his uncle’s step mother flew in from Atlanta, his other aunt and uncle live about three houses away so they came to visit with us a lot, and their neighbors are like family so it was a full house.

We like to drive the Circle Loop around Lake Michigan, taking the northern route through the UP and over the Mackinac Bridge on the way there, then battling the slightly less exhausting Chicago traffic on the way back (it’s terrible to sit through right before the holiday). One of my favorite things to do on any given day is sit in the passenger seat and read. It’s one of the things I enjoy most about vacation and I look forward to it each time. I read The Triumph of Our Tired Eyes #1 and Dig Deep #4 back to back. TOTE was brief, concise, and pretty depressing while DD was wordy, small but dense, and full of expression of how thankful and grateful she was. It was a really interesting juxtaposition and it got me thinking about the ways we tell stories. I had also brought two books that I picked at throughout the weekend – Ghost Pine by Jeff Miller and Under Her Skin by Pooja Makhijani. The first is a collection of creative nonfiction bits from a zine I’ve been reading since 1999 (it was not compiled chronologically or a complete collection of every piece, so I thought the way it was compiled was somewhat interesting). The second is a collection of essays looking back at how race affected each authors’ childhood. In the introduction the author referenced Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. She quotes, “start with your childhood. Plug your nose and jump in, and write down all your memories as truthfully as you can.” Makhaijani goes on as Lamott quotes Flannery O’Connor, who said, “anyone who survived childhood has enough material to write for the rest of his or her life.” This is good advice from respected sources, and perhaps this will influence my final project. I’m not sure at this point.

Anyway, over the weekend there were the usual brief toasts of what we’re each thankful for, the humorous stories Annette tells over and over about her boys, friends, and travel adventures, the awkward outbursts of cousin Jake, and some drunk emotional fights were had over the intricacies of Catch Phrase after a game of Flip Cup that it seemed had lasted a little longer than it should have. There was one story that really stood out, which I call The Head and The Hooves.  I hope to recount this story in the near future but it needs a little more work.

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