November 13, 2012

ThanksBlogging: Danger Zone

As a girl, my family would always travel to Dallas-about a six hour trip-to have Thanksgiving with my Dad's brother Mac and his family. His aunt, my Great Aunt Janie (that was exactly as we would address her, too) and his cousin Winifred would be there as well from Atlanta. It was always a fancy, dress-up, sit down, pass-the-creamed-peas type of shin-dig. There were no hats at the table. The girls wore skirts and our hair had to be brushed. Plus, we had to wear shoes. Fancy Schmancy.

My sister and I were younger than my Uncle Mac's sons by 20 years at least, so we would sit at the kid's table. Aunt Kay would fix our plates and get us seated then fix herself and Uncle Mac a drink before serving the rest of the adults. Then she'd fix herself and Uncle Mac another drink. When dinner was over and we were clearing the table, she'd fix herself and Uncle Mac another drink. Then another. Then another. By the time three o'clock rolled around, my sister and I were fixing the drinks. By the time six o'clock rolled around neither of them could see straight. This was the way every single Thanksgiving played out.  Sometimes we'd go sit in their RV and mix the drinks. Sometimes my sister and I would make so much noise that my Uncle Mac would pay us to go outside. But typically, we'd just hang out around the house mixing drinks.

Then one year, my Uncle Mac got a VCR and theater speakers. He also got a VHS tape of Top Gun.

That particular year was really no different until six o'clock rolled around. For whatever reason, Uncle Mac and Aunt Kay had had their fill of drinks and they put in Top Gun. My uncle had a fancy, no-cord remote control and once the movie started, he cranked that puppy up. He maxed out the volume on his speakers. The bricks rattled.

"Doesn't that sound great?" he slurred.

"I have no idea what you said," I hollered back.

My aunt, who was sitting in the floor at the feet of my mom slapped her on the knee every time Tom Cruise appeared on screen and yelled, "I'd like to find me a young man like that. Ooooowee!"

My sister sat cuddled up in my Uncle Mac's lap with her hands over her ears. I'm pretty sure my dad was out in the RV reading.

When Goose died (sorry-spoiler alert), my uncle began crying. My aunt then decided he should go to bed. My aunt took the remote from him and turned off the TV. The silence was then deafening (or maybe I was just deaf). She helped my uncle from his chair and led him to their bedroom.  Then she poked her head back into the living room and slurred, "Y'all can stay up as late as you want." As she returned to her room, she turned off the lights.

And there we sat: My mom, my sister and I sat in the living room, no TV, no lights, pitch black. But we could stay up as late as we wanted. So we did what we do best; we laughed. We really could move because it was as dark as night in the room.

My dad eventually poked his head in and asked why we were sitting up in the dark laughing. We just laughed harder. I guess you had to be there. It's something we still laugh about today.

Now, before you start telling me how awful I am because I'm laughing at the drinking problem my aunt and uncle had, I need you to understand they were not mean drunks. They were generous in our Thanksgiving celebrations. My uncle was a very successful business man who worked directly under a former presidential candidate from Texas. He provided well for his family. They opened their home to all of us and wouldn't have it any other way. No one, but my aunt and uncle, was hurt by their drinking... even when we took the RV out for a Thanksgiving afternoon spin on 635 around the DWF metro area doing 85 miles an hour.

This post is part of Arkansas Women Bloggers ThanksBlogging week.


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