Mom, God rest her soul, liked everyone. Can’t recall anyone not liking her back.
She was fond of saying: “Michael, you can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your family.”
I made sure she knew you could pick your nose, too.
Funny how we always had these conversations near Thanksgiving. She needed to get psyched up for the horde of relatives that would be coming to share the holiday by invading our house. And difficult as it might have been, she pulled it off every year.
She smiled and made everyone feel at home and as part of a family. In retrospect, what amazes me is that, apart from my grandparents and brothers, no one in the mob was “blood kin” to her. It was my stepdad’s family that was made to feel we were all one big happy gang.
My stepdad, BJ, put on a great show. Thanksgiving just always kept getting better. The Turkey Bowl football games got a little rough. We probably should have had an ambulance standing by.
Vicki and I were talking with our son, Greg, the other day and she remarked: “There was a big table that was packed with desserts.” Think desserts at Golden Corral and you should be getting the picture.
No one ever brought a chocolate fountain or a soft-serve ice cream machine, but the spread had everything else.
The mountains of “regular food” was available all day. I always managed to induct an out-of-town friend or to into the family. After all, it was Thanksgiving!
Everyone knew everyone. The only notice my friends got was, “Hello, make sure you try the sweet potatoes,” which was fine with me, because I hated sweet potatoes. I still do and they’re right up there with lima beans.
Not one dish was store-bought. That would have been an ultimate insult to the gaggle of chefs who made sure not a single morsel would be consumed until Granny Johnson and Grandma Wanda laid down a blessing.
There was ample time to watch football on TV since the adults always ate first. Noticing there was a team of all-pro eaters seemingly picking the feast to the bone, my guests were wondering if there’d be any left when their names were called.
They hadn’t seen all those crammed tables filling every nook and cranny.
Lots of smiles when the sated crew drifted into a tryptophan-induced slumber.
Those memories are forever mine and made me think about Mom’s wisdom about family.
I’m not sure if I’m alone here, but there’s one family member who seems to be a master when being mean and making the enemy du jour feel rotten. After observing these tactics for many years, I summoned help from Mom.
Her wisdom from above came through loud and clear.
I’m not going to be upset because I no longer care.
There are too many nice people in my life to waste time on people who are a waste of time. It’s sort of like my own personal “naughty list.”
They’ll be getting nothing more from me. No ill will, just a bunch of white space.
Thursday will drive home the point that I am thankful for my brothers, my friends (some will be joining us) and for Vicki, Chris and Greg.
I can’t forget Chester who will share our feast.
Whether it’s gossip or other forms of meanness (a rude birthday card to a teenager), knowing my energies can be focused on all the fantastic people in my circle, is a feeling that this individual’s poison, tension and toxicity has been given a one-way ticket out of my life.
Despite all those ads telling you Black Friday has passed you by, ignore them like a naughty relative.
Believe me, saying “adios” to all that unproductive nonsense can be a Christmas present to yourself.
It’ll help you nap like a baby when the tryptophan kicks in.
Mike Tasos’ column is published every other Sunday. He wants everyone to have a blessed Thanksgiving. Please make sure to say thanks to law enforcement or firefighters you might run across. Comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. He is also on Facebook.