Monday, November 29, 2010

National Day of Listening

Oh Thanksgiving. How I love thee. With your cranberry sauce and cornbread stuffing. The pie selection. The leftovers. The total disregard to calories consumed. It is any wonder this is my favorite holiday?

Truth be told it's my favorite holiday for a lot of reasons. Pie, not the least of them. But we share this holiday with my four cousins and thier families. Inevitably, the catching up with each other turns into looking back. And the stories come out. There are amazing stories - all of my cousins have spent most of thier lives in Africa building schools and wells and bridges and communities. But the stories everyone want to hear are the stories of when my Dad and my Uncle were kids. There was a lot of adventure, mishaps, a loving border collie mutt who fought to the death to protect them from various animals. And my Dad is a master storyteller. But why everyone loves these stories is the fact that my grandparents are absent - it's just Dad and Uncle Tim against the world. And the fact that my grandparents perhaps weren't the most loving or involved parents - sets the stories against a backdrop fraught with conflict.

It's compelling stuff.

My mother on the other hand, had a warm and supportive upbringing. Very attentive and involved parents. Her stories are a little boring. So are mine.

My cousins - with thier African childhoods and thier parents who were attentive and involved but often seemed to have NO IDEA where thier boys were - totally intriguing.And I've heard the stories a hundred times, but every year, my belly too full, I listen like they are brand new because I love them so much.

How about you? What family stories are your favorites?

8 comments:

Maureen McGowan said...

I love family stories, too, especially when my dad and his brothers get going. Must remember to start encouraging that more.

Eileen said...

Oh, Molly, that sounds wonderful. I come from a family of storytellers as well. My uncle (yes, that uncle) and my sister can keep us all completely rapt and in stitches for hours.

We have a wonderful video of my grandfather telling stories about when he first came to this country. The only problem is that during the whole maybe half an hour worth of video, my niece (who was about two at the time) is sitting on his lap. She's wearing this completely adorable little dress and is also absolutely refusing to keep her knees together. Every minute or two, you see my sister slide in, put my niece's legs together and slide out of view. Seconds later, my niece just splays them open again.

We watch it over and over and laugh until we cry.

Maureen McGowan said...

That's hilarious, Eileen. I can only imagine family gatherings with "that" uncle.

As for the kids underwear...
We have a series of photos of my two sisters and I sitting in front of our Christmas gifts from one year... I'd guess we were 6, 4 and 2. There isn't a single shot where someone's undies aren't showing. I do remember my mother incessantly adjusting our legs and dresses. That day, no matter how well two of us were sitting, the third was, well, slightly unladylike. And the culprit is different in each one.

Eileen said...

Oh, Maureen, that is completely priceless. Your poor mother!

Sinead M said...

hilarious... our family stories depend on whether or not the family has been drinking... then the stories get silly.

Eileen said...

Drinking when you're telling the stories or drinking when the stories took place? Or both? ;-)

Sinead M said...

We're Irish, so both.... and I won't mention the mass sing a longs from my childhood.. shudder!

Stephanie Doyle said...

"We're Irish so both"

This made me crack up! That's exactly how it is with us. Drink, then tell all the funny drinking stories.

Oh and we also solve the world's problems on the side.

LOVE Thanksgiving!

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