Thanksgiving in two movements and three tongues

Thanksgiving was ridiculous.

It was also the first time that I have gone to two houses out of necessity, as opposed to running off to Kali’s to escape from my parents’ place. This is because Uji and I did turkey day with both our families. It actually worked out perfectly–my family does that weird WASP-y thing where they eat at two in the afternoon so they can fall asleep in front of the UT/A&M game. Uji’s family eats at a normal time and waits until nine for pie, which is ok because by then, there is a Christmas movie on…more about that later…

Uji drove, which meant we relied on my skills as a navigator to avoid the Guide Meridian on the way to my parents’ house in the North end of Nowhere.

This meant we wound up taking The Scenic Route, which is a euphemism for Getting Lost, but in our case, it really was scenic. THe first snow was on the foothills, the clouds were doing that lined-with-gold thing that they do in winter here, and everywhere is green from all the damn rain.

My Dad cooks Thanksgiving dinner (and every other meal in the house) and he was just finishing the gravy when we pulled up. It’s usually a small gathering of twelve, but this year, we were half that size and I found myself sign- interpreting stories about growing up on the farm with Grampa for Uji. There was maybe one anecdote out of the lot that would have been table-appropriate outside of my family.

Here is a brief list of topics discussed:

  • De-horning cattle, and getting occasionally gored by one
  • How strong Grampa was (this was the table-appropriate discussion, and if you’re curious, my Grampa could hold onto a flagpole and stretch his body straight out–as in parallel to the ground.)
  • Silos, sileage, and getting stuck in the silo
  • Feeding calves
  • Electric fences, and what happens if you touch one, if the line goes down and creates a charge on the kitchen faucet, and how to test them.
  • cleaning the barn

Dammit, Family…

Uji’s response was to share a story about his Dad and an electric fence, which will remain unpublished to protect the innocent.

Dinner with Uji’s family was not too different, if you consider that there were no stories involving blood or animal excrement, and that our parents make stuffing differently. Also, someone had to interpret for me occasionally, because Uji’s family speaks three languages around the table. Uji’s ‘Buelito is visiting from Idaho, and he told embarassing stories in Spanish about Uji and his brothers. Uji’s ‘Buelito calls him chaparrito, which is Spanish for Shorty. He tells me I need to teach Uji Spanish. Someone should really teach me before that happens; I can understand most of what I hear if I pay attention, about as good as I am with German or sign, but I can’t really answer.

I’m working on it, though; my latest acquisition is Hijole, which is short for something not very polite. According to my Mom, my dad used to say the whole thing when he was mad before I was born.

Uji and I still have yet to introduce our families, but I’m fairly sure they will get along. Our dads have a lot in common, and as long as you can get two out of four parents to like each other, you’re doing pretty good.

Maybe they can discuss electric fences.



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