By the time you read this, I will be enjoying Thanksgiving with my family in Kansas City. I had no problem turning my sisters and my parents down when they asked if I was coming home, but when Grandma called, there was just no way I could say no. How could I!? Norman Rockwell used my family as his model for painting “Freedom From Want.”
Besides, Thanksgiving is delicious. Like any good God-loving Midwest family, most of our foods are creamed. That’s because pretty much everything is better with a little bit (or a lot) of dairy. Corn, peas, bread, beans… you name it. My sister came home once from college and announced she was no longer going to eat butter. Discussion followed. My sister declared that we are the only mammals who consistently consume dairy after we are full grown. My mom countered with something about cats and no matter how old they are they still like milk. That argument did little to inspire my sister to butter her bread, so it was settled. For the time being, they would agree to disagree.
A few years later, I came home from college as a vegetarian. Dad kicked that phase right out of my system by declaring that I would carve the meat that year. I have a photograph to prove it. Let it be known that preparing the meal’s centerpiece is a very physical endeavor. If my dad is grilling, half if not all of his arm hair is singed and his eyes bloodshot and watering. If he’s baking, the oven door is frequently opened, the temperature is checked, and the baster is used with gusto. Carving is also a just so process. As a child I was convinced that we Akers had our own secret farm somewhere that produced the turkeys and pigs of our feasts. It was inconceivable that fowls and mammals that large could come from a grocery store. I still have my suspicions.
Since my bout with vegetarianism and my sister’s adventure into no-butter land, no one has challenged the accepted Akers’ rules on what is and is not appropriate to eat. And to clarify, there is very little that would not be appropriate to eat. Granted, we do try to think about things like portion control, but really, those thoughts are better had on non-holidays. My family follows a simple rule (which requires very little forethought or planning): if you get too full unbutton the top button of your pants. My only advice after years of experience is to wear a slightly longer and looser shirt. But, in the end if you weren’t strategic in your packing, don’t worry. You’re with family! Your mother gave birth to you for crying out loud! What’s a little belly?
For this year, I’m better prepared. About a month ago, I discovered a new pair of jeans that I assume will become the next big fashion craze. Pull-on jeans. On any given day, I can be a size 8 or a size 12 and my new pull-on jeans accommodate. After further research, you can also purchase pull on skirts, pull on khakis, and pull on corduroys. They’ll put YKK out of business for sure. Now all I have to remember is a slightly long, baggy shirt. Luckily, tunics are still in style.
May your holidays be equally filled with loving family, delicious food, lots of laughter, and well, a good pair of stretchy pants.
Gena Akers can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.