A Thanksgiving Hangover

It came with turkey. It came with gravy. It came with family, football, and friends. Maybe Thanksgiving doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Thanksgiving, perhaps, means just a little bit more. And this more is avoiding politics with relatives this holiday season.

Thanksgiving recipe for disaster:

  • 4 glasses of white wine
  • 2 glasses of scotch
  • Pop Pop’s traditional values
  • Mom’s baby boomer worries
  • My millennial views

The one question everyone knows not to ask, but already knows the answers to “So who did you vote for?” (gulp). “What are your thoughts on the North Dakota pipeline?” (uhh….). Can I please be excused from the table?

Getting through appetizers is painless when wine and cheese are near, and the only conversation being how big you’ve grown in 22 years, and the stories of “when you were a baby.” After this, of course, comes the personal questions that are enough to make you take grandpa up on that glass of scotch he offered. “Have you met anyone special?” “What are your career goals?” “You should start thinking about marriage.” “Are you eating enough?” Ugh.

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Pop Pop and I

Mom announces, “It’s time to eat” and everyone stumbles to the dinner table. “Can you pass me a bread roll?” Pop Pop shouts from across the table “and the butter, I need the butter.” (Wine swig) Patience is a virtue I am lacking this holiday.

Turkey carved and mashed potatoes served, mouths become filled and the table falls quiet. Comments about how the food taste break the silence. You could feel everyone treading carefully on conversation. Just when I began to think that “maybe we won’t talk politics,” it happened.

“Kierstin, what are your thoughts on the pipeline?” 

Oh my god I’m chosen as the sacrificial lamb. I’m just thankful this is the least sensitive topic at the table.

“It’s terrible what’s happening”

I have a general knowledge of what’s going on in North Dakota, but I put my personal opinion aside and think of the least controversial and general statement to say. Suddenly, like a bomb across the table, I hear from my unfiltered Pop Pop:

“We need oil, damnit!”

Well there goes the evening. As a heated discussion ensues, I slouch back in my chair and help myself to my largely filled glass of wine.

Just like the dessert that is about to be served, the conversation starts to get sweeter. We now talk about old family stories and confess childhood secrets that “mom didn’t know.”

Dessert is cleared and wine glasses become empty. The liquor courage has been brewing and at any moment someone could break the one rule at the table. DO NOT BRING UP THE ELECTION. Just like that, the latch has been released and Pandora’s box is now open.

“Hillary is a crook!”

“Trump doesn’t care about the environment!”

Anyone have an Advil? As the night goes on, so does the conversation. Tempers grow and voices get louder.

I’m not sure when it all calmed down but as soon as it came, it went. It’s now time to say goodnight and retreat back to our rooms until family breakfast in the morning.

This year has been one of controversy and opposing views. However, it’s important to remember to love each other despite not always seeing eye to eye. This Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for my family and our open minds and hearts.

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