A crazy family holiday

26 Nov

I have a wonderfully crazy, off-the-wall, funny, and incredibly talented family.

I was reminded of that this past weekend when my husband, kids and I traveled down to Greene to celebrate Thanksgiving with my side of the family.  We try to do this every year on the weekend after Thanksgiving, but this year was a little different from most, in that it was the largest of these gatherings we have ever had.

By the time everyone had arrived for dinner, there were 21 of us:  my 84-year old father, four of his five children (with the exception of my brother Jim), all 7 of his grandchildren, and assorted wives, husbands and significant others.   Most notably, it was first time ever that Dad was able to celebrate Thanksgiving with all of his grandchildren.

As close a family as we are, you can totally understand that hosting that many people in my sister’s home for dinner would probably have led to fist fights.  So she very wisely arranged with her good friend Bonnie Cobb to “borrow” Bonnie’s Restaurant in downtown Greene for the evening.  Everybody brought a dish to pass, which led to a very eclectic, non-traditional Italian/American/summer-barbecue-themed Thanksgiving buffet, including all sorts of beverages, appetizers and desserts, stretching from one end of Bonnie’s counter to the other.

And over in the corner, patiently awaiting the end of dinner, sat a pile of instruments.

You see, when the cousins get together, without question there’s going to be a jam session. All four of my nephews are super-talented musicians who play a variety of instruments. Put them in the same room with their cousin Sean and his fiddle, mandolin and cajon, and what resulted was an hour-long post-dinner bluegrass, Irish and classical music concert. Sean’s friend Sarah King, the other half of Barry’s Crossing, even set up her keyboard to provide backup and vocals.

But the evening would not have been complete without stepping outside to participate in the family’s annual tradition: stripping off our socks and shoes and walking barefoot in the snow. Fortunately, snow had been falling all evening and about two inches of the fluffy stuff was awaiting our toes.

We have been honoring this tradition in my family for, well, going on 75 years or more now.  This was the first time, however, that my father has been with us when we’ve done it.  And 84-year old trouper he is, he tramped out into that snow with the rest of us, grinning all the time. It’s stuff like this that makes my family unlike any other.  Here’s hoping that your Thanksgiving family get-togethers were as memorable. On to Christmas!


This is my family. After the family photo, they broke out spontaneously into “Hooked on a Feeling.” No one knows why. Click to see the video.

And if you’re at all interested, click on the photo to see a short selection from the jam session that broke out after dinner.

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