Thursday, November 26, 2020

Brace Yourselves

Mom, Ray, and I are spending Thanksgiving apart from our kids and their families, extended family, and friends who traditionally join us for dinner. We’re doing this because we love them all so, and we want everyone to be Covid-safe, so that next year, we can gather to celebrate our passage through this unbelievable year. We’ll Zoom today, so we can chat and/or watch each other cook, and so the little kids can tell us—for an unnatural length of time without taking a breath—more than we ever hoped to know about Mario Bros or Seven Deadly Sins or EllieV's bizarre YouTube Lego life.

Here’s a little Thanksgiving poem from our family to yours. It was published this year in an anthology, South Dakota in Poems, edited by South Dakota Poet Laureate Christine Stewart, which you can buy here (supporting and giving thanks for the South Dakota State Poetry Society): South Dakota in Poems

BRACE YOURSELF 
       a South Dakota Thanksgiving 

The turkey will be spatchcocked, splayed 
like a fallen Pilgrim. Potatoes will be rough-mashed,
with polkadots of peel and enough garlic & rosemary
to ward off vampires. Grandma will find a way to work
candy red hots into every dessert: green jello salad,
sweet potato pie, Eagle brand caramel pudding.
There will be no stuffing. There will be serious talk
of lutefisk and lefse, hot dishes, bars, Mrs. Larson’s
prizewinning crabapple jelly. There will be a few
passing remarks about religion and politics, and no one
will disagree. Uncle Boots will flip out his dentures
for the kids and tell Ole and Lena jokes. The register
of our combined knee-slapping guffawing will wake
the night-shift neighbors. The Trolls movie will play
in the living room, and we will all stop to sing along,
dramatically and with hand gestures, to “True Colors.”
Grandkids will sweetly play until, fully-amped
on pudding and jello, they will turn Mr. or Ms. Hyde,
baring teeth & claws, upturning furniture, snapping
heads off Barbies, trampolining on perfectly relaxed,
napping bellies. Something will be broken beyond repair.
Someone will get hurt. Someone will sneak off to hide
in the quiet basement. And as we’re putting on our coats
to leave, we will all give true & serious thanks—
that we have each other, 
that we made it out alive,
that it’s over until next year.

In Quarantinesgiving, you can have corndogs for dinner if you want.


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