- Jun 2004 Archive
My story is about Thanksgiving at my aunt's house. I was 18 at
the time and a freshman in college. My family (two younger siblings and my
parents) have been estranged from this aunt for some time, so we were anxious to
hopefully heal the breach between our families. (This is my father's sister.) In
times gone by, Thanksgiving used to be a huge family event at my Aunt N's house:
virtually everyone in America (some of them are still in Italy) will gather at
her house for dinner. Somehow I expected this to be the same as all those other
Once we got there, something like 5 hours before dinner, my
younger sister (12), who is a cordon bleu chef in the making, pitched into
making the potatoes, basting the turkey, and green beans. I asked if I could
help, but was told, "We'll call you for dinner". I wandered somewhat
aimlessly through the house, and finally sat down and watched a movie in the
den. Periodically I would get up and peek into the kitchen to see if there was
something I could do yet.
Well, 5 1/2 hours passed quickly. I watched Father of the
Bride, Princess Diaries, and Somewhere in Time before her dinner guests arrived
and I was finally "called for dinner". (I had continued to ask if
there was anything I could do, but was always told no.) My family found
out then that we were the only relatives invited: everyone else was a coworker
or a friend from church. So much for the family gathering!
When I came to dinner, my aunt informed me that I and
"the other children" would be sitting at a card table in the den,
instead of sitting at the big table with the "grownups". Okay. I bit
my tongue and sat at the card table, where I was introduced to J, a seventeen
year old young man about as talkative as a rock (and I assure you I tried so
very hard to start a conversation) and J's sister, N, who was 14. N waved at me,
got on her cell phone, and did not get off until the very end of the meal. My
brother also sat at the card table.
But where was my 12 year old sister? Seated at the adult
table, between my aunt and her boyfriend, with "adult" china, a
toasting glass, and a small amount of champagne to toast with! I asked my aunt
why the youngest of the children was sitting with the adults. "Because
she helped with the dinner, and none of you other kids did!"
she told me. She spent most of the dinner extolling the virtues of my little
sister and casting aspersions on the laziness of "the other siblings".
My sister is a wonderful little girl, and deserved every ounce
of praise. But my brother and I had done nothing to my aunt, and both of us had
asked if she wanted us to help. She had no right to act like we were lazy and
wouldn't help. She wouldn't let us help!
This aunt came for Christmas, and spent the entire time
telling me I was an idiot, because I was working on becoming a Licensed Marriage
and Family Counselor, and didn't feel like I could handle a boyfriend.
Obviously, a truly empowered woman needs a boyfriend to keep her going! She gave
me the number of five different "eligible" boys. I looked them up on
myspace--the oldest was 25 and the youngest was 13. That's... really gross.
While my stories certainly aren't as hellish as some, they
were pretty darn bad. I'm looking forward to my eminent move across the country,
if only to escape my Aunt N!
First off, people who plan their weddings over holiday
weekends annoy me. It's not just their holiday, it's my holiday too and I would
have liked to enjoy my holiday my way, not at the worst reception ever.
(Weddings held over Memorial Day or Labor day weekend are the worst and I have
been invited to one and refused to go)
The ceremony was interesting, to say the least. It was at
their family temple and we believe that they surprised the Rabbi with a Sand
Ceremony. The bride took the microphone and announced they were doing it and the
Rabbi said, well this is not traditional. Eh, it was time consuming and boring.
The ceremony was at 8 pm, the reception was at 9 pm, which
should have been fine, it took us about 45 minutes to drive to the reception
hall. We even stopped along the way to pick up some water. We go to go in the
hall and the doors are locked. We knock and someone came to the door, who didn't
speak English, and between her broken English and our broken Spanish, we find
out that we have to wait for the Bride and Groom. Ok, we go back to the car and
wait. Then the buses start rolling in. That was a nice touch for the people who
didn't want, or out of town guests to have bus service from the ceremony to the
reception. They get out of the bus and try the door. Of course the doors are
There's some yelling and general complaining, but most of the
people got back on the buses and waited, just like us. Like I said, including
the stop it only took us 45 minutes to get to the reception, the buses were
there at 9 pm on the dot. However the bride and groom were not. They were not
9.30, or 9.45 at about 10.15 a white limo finally pulls up and
out rolls a very drunken bride, being held up by her groom. The buses unload and
we decide to sit in the car and wait until the crowd clears. We can see and hear
everything from our vantage point. The staff usher in the bride and groom and
slam shut the door. Like people were trying to get in and they slammed the door
in their faces.
Then the buses leave, leaving about 60 or so people standing
outside. Thank goodness it's was surprisingly warm, b/c people were standing out
there for about 15 minutes. Finally the doors open and the bride, still being
propped up by the groom, try to welcome everyone in to what they call a
wonderful winter wonderland!
The room was white, on white, on white. Now that can look
great or like someone just decided not to color coordinate. This was charmless
and kind of 80's prom like. There were sparkly snowflakes hanging from the
ceiling, glitter on the tables. Mini martini glasses filled with glitter, next
to regular martini glasses, which were "stenciled with the bride and
groom's name and date on there, these were filled with mini marshmallows,
finally there were great big martini glasses on the tables filled with white
Guess what the bride's favorite drink was....Martinis! Which
she drank several of them after the ceremony, before she got to the reception.
She was piss drunk! It's 10:45 pm before we're actually seated. We had to go
thru a receiving line, where the bride would start going off and saying that No,
she's not drunk. My husband gets up to go and get a drink and we find out that
they are not serving hard liquor, only beer and wine. And of that only that
cheap Natural Ice and white wine. That is taking the whole winter wonderland
theme a bit too far.
About 11 pm, there's some speeches, prayers over the bread and
wine, and the first course is served. Iceburg lettuce salad. The second course,
is a cold water crest soup. By the third course I'm getting sick of this
wedding, tired, and very cold. I asked the waiter for some coffee and they tell
me that they are not serving coffee. It's too hot and doesn't go with the theme
of the stupid reception.
At midnight, the bride and groom have their first dance. The
bride has most of her composure back. She didn't seem as horribly drunk as
before. Balloons and glitter start falling from the ceiling. The music starts
and it seems very familiar. Yes, it was the song from the cartoon movie Beauty
and the Beast.
People were actually laughing at it. Who really was the beast,
the groom or the drunk bride. After that we went home. But from what I heard
afterwards, the main course involved a frozen granita, there was an ice cream
cake, and after the dance, the bride and groom disappeared.
Today we got a Thank you card in the mail. It was preprinted.
My best friend (Kate) who is a city slicker married a country
boy (Matt). Matt's family lives is a small East Texas Town. Kate and
Matt reside in Houston. Its around a 4 hour drive without traffic.
Kate and Matt were going to Matt's in-laws for Thanksgiving. The whole
extended family comes (around 50 people). Out of all the family, Kate and
Matt are the only two that do not live in the East Texas Town's area. The
dinner is normally potluck. Two days before they are set to leave, Kate's
MIL calls and wants them to bring the turkey. Kate is instructed the
turkey should be smoked. Kate goes to four stores and ends up having to
buy 4 smoked turkeys (which are way more costly than a frozen bird) since there
are going to be around 50 people.
The day before they leave, the MIL calls back and wants the
turkey deboned. Keep in mind they have a 4 hour drive with a toddler to
make. Kate has to go get more meat because the MIL
only wants white meat. Kate goes out and gets 2 more smoked turkeys.
Then MIL calls back and wants them to bring soda. Kate goes out and buys
soda. Then MIL calls backs and want them to bring rolls. Kate goes
out and buys prepackaged rolls. MIL calls and says they need to be
homemade which means Kate has to make them before she leaves Houston.
How are they supposed to carry the meat, sodas, and rolls for 50 people plus
their luggage for a 5 day stay? FIL calls and tells her to bring the side
dishes. Kate finally puts her foot down and says no. Thanksgiving
day - MIL complains there isn't enough food to go around. The MIL thought
Kate could prepare the whole dinner for 50 guests and transport it for 4
hours. Kate finally told hubby that there will be no more Thanksgivings
with his family.
In 1990 my cousin was in the navy and stationed in Pensacola,
FL, not far from our hometown. His wife, who I will call
Lynn, was about seven months pregnant, and as Christmas rolled around, she
invited my aunt, uncle, my cousin’s younger brother, as well as my mom, sister
and myself up to the base for the holidays. I was 17 at the time. So we all pile
into two cars and make the 6 hour drive. Lynn, all the while, was talking about
what a great feast she was planning, and how excited she was to have us there,
as it was our first Christmas together as a family. They had been married early
in the year.
We got there about two days before Christmas Eve, and we were
having a great time, though my aunt quietly pointed out to us that she had not
seen anything to indicate that Lynn was planning any sort
of “feast” for Christmas dinner. Lynn, however, kept telling us what a great
feast she had planned, and assured us all that she did not need any help, even
though my ten year old sister was even aware that something wasn’t adding up.
Not that anyone was snooping, but it was a help yourself sort of household, so
if we went in the fridge or freezer for anything, we could not help but notice
that there was nothing in there except standard groceries.
Christmas Eve rolls around, and in our family, this meant
opening gifts at midnight, eating a light meal, and having a few drinks, as we
always did the big meal on Christmas Day. Lynn had not
gone shopping, but she kept building up this feast she was planning involving a
spectacular bird and all the trimmings. We all knew something was up, and my mom
kept whispering that we were going to end up feasting on leftover pizza, which
is what we ended up eating on Christmas Eve. While not what we would usually
eat, Lynn had ordered it, and that was fine by us.
Christmas Day. Lynn informs us that she forgot to
defrost the bird, which turned out to be a Cornish hen that was tucked behind
the ice cream in the freezer. My uncle, who is always outspoken tells her that a
Cornish hen barely feeds two much less a house full of people, and we decided to
all just go out, mercilessly teasing Lynn the entire time. I would have been
embarrassed if I’d been in her place, but she did not even seem phased, even
when my uncle announced the meal would be on him. If ever you are in Pensacola
on Christmas Day with nothing to eat, I can recommend Waffle
House, so long as you stick to breakfast food, as it was the only place open.
And that’s where we ate our Christmas feast in 1990.
My husband and I have been married for 6 years and have been
trying to conceive for the last three, sadly with no success. While we keep our
struggles relatively private, our families know that we would like to have
This past Christmas (2006) a gift arrived in the mail
from one of my dimwitted BIL's (his wife and two children were on the note card
as well). I opened the package, pulled out the gift and my jaw hit the floor. In
my hand I held an ornament with two little birds sitting on the edge of a nest;
on the front of the nest "Empty Nesters" was stamped in
bold, black ink. As I know it, and I cannot believe that there would
be more than one interpretation, the term "empty nester" would
only apply to individuals that had children that are no longer living with
them. (Logic would dictate that in order to have an empty nest, one would have
to have it filled at some earlier point.) At best, my BIL is the
most ignorant human being. At worst.... just another reason why I refuse to ever
see him again.
This is in response to HolidayHell 1218-05 in which the writer
laments about how rude her mother was for not calling her when her plane flight
was delayed six hours, thus causing the writer to pitch a fit and call her
mother leaving an angry message about how inconvenienced she was in waiting so
long for her. True enough, mother could have used a pay phone to call to
explain the delay, however it is far more rude to get SO angry at a person
for something that is out of their control. Plus sometimes they corral you
onto the plane and expect you to sit there immobile for hours without access to
the payphones all the while telling you the flight will be on time or only
delayed a few minutes (this has happened to me). So mother might not
have been able to call by the time she knew the delay was going to be
significant. Besides, the writer could have just as
easily called the airport or checked their website for delays and updates.
It's really easy to do. All you need to know is what airline and where
they are flying in from. The writer needs to take some responsibility and
not become enraged over something she could have calmly discovered on her own.
Every Christmas, we open presents at my sister's house. I
prefer to hand out presents one at a time so that everyone can see what the
other person gets. However, my sister prefers to make it more of less of
a free for all and passes out one gift to each person, who then rips it open,
says thanks and moves onto the next gift.
One Christmas, my parents and I decided to pool our money and buy a rather
expensive gift for my sister. During the chaos of opening gifts, she got
around to her big gift, opened it and said thank you. She seemed to be
pretty pleased with the gift she received.
After we were all finished, I left to go home at about 1 AM. By the time
I had gotten home (I live about 1 hour away), there was a message on my
answering machine from my sister which said " Hi Sister, I am not sure
what happened, but it looks like you forgot to bring my Christmas gift to my
house. Give me a call when you get a moment so we can arrange a time for
you to drop it off".
In all the chaos, she didn't read the "To:" and "From:"
card and decided the gift was only from my parents. Now, my parents have
always treated us fairly so I am not sure why she thought for a second that
they would buy her a $500 Christmas gift and only buy me a $100 gift, but what
shocks me more is the sheer urgency she felt in calling me to tell me that I
had forgotten her gift!!
A year later, we stopped giving gifts to each other and have made it all about
the children now.....
Page Last Updated September 18, 2008