Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Truth About Thanksgiving

Ah, Thanksgiving. My favorite holiday. What other time of year is one expected to simply show up on a relatives' door step with a side dish, a hardy appetite and a good bottle of wine? With my family, it is even acceptable to nap afterwards, (after the dishes are done, or course). What other time of year do you hear Arlo Guthries' "Alice's Restaurant" played over and over again in the background, and everyone under the age of 30, who has been listening to it played at Thanksgiving every year of their life, wondering why it's being played and what is all the fuss about? The mashed potatoes, the turkey, the pies, the wine ... it is all a great time for family to get together, especially when a family is usually separated by the miles. And when else is there a designated "kiddy table" that is filled with every age up to 30 years, each just waiting to graduate to the big table, which happens only when someone dies, or never shows up for dinner.

However, fellow writers, there is more to Thanksgiving besides the traditional celebration of giving thanks, a big meal, listening to "Alice's Restaurant, and laughing at Antoine Dodson's bed intruder song. You know what I mean. It's all about character. Let's face it, where else would you dine with a group of people with such varied interests and mannerisms than at a Thanksgiving dinner? If you look hard enough at every face around the table you will notice the eclectic variations, the odd assortment of human beings. Call them relatives, or call them DNA mutants, each has a story to tell and a unique way to say it. Listen well. Unbeknown to my relatives, there is where I find many new characters for my stories. I twist their tales into plots, and subplots.

Sorry, Mom. Sorry Leesa, Jana, Randy, Reese, Angela, Carol, Bridgette ... Ryan, Gigi, Bianca, Gina, Mark, Ed... Your time has come. I have a story to tell and you're the main character.

I wonder if the Pilgrims did the same?