For Thanksgiving our family, let's say, goes back to the original premise - we share a meal with savages. Oh, we have guests also. It is the family member responsibility to warn their guests about the "issues d'jour" of our blessed bunch ie who is not speaking to whom, which members are certified bat shit crazy and should be avoided at all cost, and who are curtailed by restraining orders. Other than that, the holiday is most enjoyable and the food is scrumptious, Well there was 1972 when Cousin Sal went missing (we haven't heard from him since). That year we had a big BBQ instead of turkey - a little odd I thought, but I digress,
Chances are someone is going to forget some major item. There is an aunt and uncle who are always late. Last year I wanted to vote them off the island, but the group, in the benevolence of the holidays, decided we would just start without them. It was agreed this year we would tell them the meal was being served at 11:30 in hopes that surely they would make it to the table by 1pm, the time everyone else was told we were eating.
There is the family "bride". We have long lost count of the number weddings, divorces, and annulments she has had. We just assume if she shows up with a young man on her arm, chances an invitation will soon arrive and he will not be around next year.
There is the older aunt who brings food that is never completely cooked and everyone has to "try" some so as not to hurt her feelings. And the cousin who insists on bringing a dessert each year even though you know she cannot boil water. Often she doesn't even hide the grocery store box. Everyone is expected to bring the same item - change is not good. One year I took loaves of homemade French bread instead of my "assigned" homemade dinner rolls. Dinner was delayed simply by the confusion in the buffet line over something different.
One would think that as the older generations have died, replaced by the newer ones that most of the insanity, the hard feelings, arguments over things the parties cannot even recall, and other ridiculousness, that cool heads and sanity would prevail. But no! Apparently there are still bats in the belfries and skeletons in the closets.
Ah, families - we don't get to pick them but we are lucky to have one. I am thankful as we all gather around the table that our family tree branches and the gene pool is deep. I also count heads and make sure we are not having BBQ this year.