The Best 1986
Thanksgiving is usually filled with
too much food, family and football,
all leading to the bizarre combination,
of indigestion and emptiness.
This was the first year
that it was filled with food and friends.
I spent the holiday in Sioux Falls where
John Nfor and I were hosted
by the Shlanta family: Steve, Gay
and their two college-age daughters.
Gay was the Assistant Pastor of
Asbury Park United Methodist Church
and Steve was retired.
The daughters, I am truly sorry I don’t remember their names,
One a student at Baylor
and the other working at one of the banks in town
was taking a class at the seminary.
The two marked differences from the norm were
the lack of the blare of football in the background
and the inclusion of an abundance of conversation,
not where did you get drunk last night? and so on.
The Shlantas were perfect hosts,
interested in John Nfor’s home
and work in Cameroon,
the lives of their daughters,
and freely sharing their own experiences.
Steve slow roasted his turkey whole
on the barbecue.
potatoes and gravy,
and a piece of pumpkin pie.
We said grace,
ate only one helping,
and spent the afternoon in conversation.
I was later able to go back to my apartment,
with little indigestion and
do some homework
while watching the second football game.
The Worst a host of Thanksgivings from my childhood
My sister and I
of a happy family
placed strategically in the living room
of the trailer,
as family filed in
turned up all the way,
the control knobs
they talk over the television,
turned up too loud
so that it can be heard
over the voices in the room.
my sister and I
standing at the kitchen counter
while the rest of the family
sits around the table,
voices getting even louder
with the inclusion of alcohol.
The food was good
and if we were lucky
we would spend the afternoon
my sister and me,
walking around the trailer court
with no one to play with,
looking at the trailers
of equally unhappy families.