Weekend Wanderer: The Thanksgiving That Almost Was

weekend wanderer

I know Thanksgiving is over. I mean, my Christmas decorations have been up for a week.

But I have to tell you about the Thanksgiving that almost was.

Over Halloween, my brother told me he wasn’t hosting Thanksgiving this year.

“I’ll just put together a little something to eat at Willie and Indy’s on Thanksgiving,” he told me.

Like I cared. What, am I supposed to keep a log of everything my brother does? Like it’s so great? Did he want a trophy?

Sorry. I’m a big sister. I get to be obnoxious when my brother tells me things that have nothing to do with me, are not interesting, and are stupid.

If you have siblings, you get it.

I mean, I don’t even spend Thanksgiving with my family. I spend it with my husband’s family because I spend Easter with my family.

And because my father-in-law has better beer.

So do what you want with Thanksgiving, dude. You can boil M&M’s, call it stuffing, and eat it with your light beer for all I’ll ever know.

I’m teasing my brother a bit when I say that. It’s required when you’re the firstborn. You know, my brother once borrowed my car and went into my CD case and took my CDs out of alphabetical order.

So he totally deserves my pestering. Do you know what happens when CDs are not in alphabetical order? No? Well, I don’t know either, but I think maybe the universe dissolves into entropy. That’s what happens when things aren’t organized.

Anyway, my brother wasn’t hosting Thanksgiving. He planned to abandon his Collegeville townhouse and spend a quiet Thanksgiving at our parents’ place, AKA the Temple of Doom.

A few weeks later, my aunt mentioned she was spending Thanksgiving in Collegeville.

Wait. What?

Yes. She planned on spending Thanksgiving at my brother’s.

I didn’t say anything. Maybe my brother’s plans had changed. Maybe I’d misunderstood my aunt. Or my brother. Or the beer situation.

But my grandfather used to say he was the man that fell out of the wagon — he wasn’t in it. Well, I wasn’t in the wagon, either. I don’t host Thanksgiving. I don’t spend Thanksgiving in Collegeville. It wasn’t up to me to figure out who misunderstood whom.

A few days later, Willie told me she and Indy were hesitant to go all the way to Collegeville for Thanksgiving. Indy isn’t in the best of health. Willie was concerned the trip would prove overly taxing for Indy.

Maybe, she said, they’d just stay home and have the Temple of Doom’s Thanksgiving dinner. Or maybe they would go to Collegeville. She wasn’t sure.

Do you know who was sure? My aunt. We spoke shortly after my conversation with Willie. She was all in on the Collegeville Thanksgiving. She speculated on the driving arrangements for getting there. Would she transport Indy and Willie? Would someone else? She just didn’t know.

But I knew. I knew no one else was driving Indy and Willie to Collegeville because no one else was having Thanksgiving in Collegeville.

I wasn’t in this wagon, though. It wasn’t my job to unearth the driving arrangements. It wasn’t my job to determine who was going where on Thanksgiving. My only job was to drink my father-in-law’s beer. That’s it.



But I texted my brother anyway. Are you hosting Thanksgiving?

Cue the insufferable explanation. No, he wasn’t hosting Thanksgiving. He was going to Indy and Willie’s.

My brother was going to the Temple of Doom for Thanksgiving. My aunt was going to my brother’s for Thanksgiving. Indy and Willie — who had no idea my brother planned to have Thanksgiving at their place — were going to my brother’s for Thanksgiving.

With no plans on how they’d get to Collegeville.

And I — I was the only person who had all of this information. I was the only person who knew that, come Thanksgiving Day, my aunt and parents would be standing outside of my brother’s empty house while my brother stood outside of my parents’ empty apartment.

And none of them would have good beer.

I was now squarely in the wagon.

“What do I do?” I whined to my husband. How had this failure to communicate become my problem?

We agreed, my husband and I, that it would be very funny to just keep my mouth shut. I mean, if you’re not hosting the Thanksgiving dinner you’ve hosted every year, maybe you should tell people that.

And if you’re planning on going to someone’s house for Thanksgiving, maybe you should, oh, I don’t know, tell people that!

And if you think you might go to someone’s house for Thanksgiving, but you don’t drive, maybe you should arrange a ride. Ooh — and tell the host you’re coming to his house for Thanksgiving dinner. Via rideshare. Or Santa’s sleigh. Or Taxicab Confessions. Maybe you’re getting beamed there by the Enterprise. I don’t know.

Why was this my problem? There was no good way to fix it. If I was dealing with normal people, I’d shoot them a group text. But texts to Willie wander off into the ether. She’d never see any missive I sent.

Just letting it all play out really would be so much easier. And — yeah. Funnier.

But in the end — in the end I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t let Thanksgiving become a series of unfortunate events. I mean, who would be Lemony Snicket in that scenario?

Me. I would be Lemony Snicket, right? Me. He’s the one that chronicles the unfortunate events. I am a Thanksgiving Lemony Snicket. Great.

So I contacted all the players with their bad beer and worse planning abilities. I told them to do something radical. Something I’d never told three adults to do before. Something I never thought I’d say during the holiday season.

I told them to talk to each other.

Each other.

Not me.

Because I’m not in that wagon.

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