It’s Not Family Dinner Without a Fight

Potatoes served as cannon balls. Spoons became convenient sling shots. Straws suited as guns filled with green peas as ammunition. Red stains from cranberry sauce bled on Nana’s handmade table cloth. Stuffing soared high above the table, aiming at either enemy’s front line. And, oh yes, even the turkey took part in the warfare. Just another dinner at the Thieles’.

Things went well at the start. We arrived the morning of Christmas Eve, unloaded our bags and greeted one another. In all, there were twenty of us. Half from the Thiele family, half from the Reynolds. Everyone seemed eager to unpack and start cooking. During the food’s preparation, it was almost as if everyone might be able to behave themselves. How incredibly wrong we were.

Finally, it was time for the feast. The six youngest children sat around one table, while the fourteen others, including myself, were seated at another. The tables were set, the food was placed, the prayer was said, and the feast began. It was going almost too well. Everyone seemed to be getting along with one another. Until my dad’s sister, Bonnie, who apparently hadn’t been debriefed, uttered an insignificant comment about the one topic you should never bring up, ever, in this household: politics.

Someone might as well have pulled a grenade out of their pocket; it would have been less of a shock. Even the children’s table stopped talking. You see, my mother spawns from a family of incredibly conservative republicans. My dad, on the other hand, has a family compiled of far-left democrats. My mother and one of her brothers converted their thought to a more liberal status once they escaped the reins of their parents, and thus, the political discussions have been brought to a minimal amount ever since. So, when Bonnie mentioned an attribute about Obama that was positive, Papa couldn’t have been more appalled if he’d tried. Within a minute of this initial remark, the increasing voice level could have competed with a rock concert. After what seemed like hours of arguing, my liberal Cousin Heather made a stab at Papa that he could not reciprocate.

And it was in that moment that the potatoes started flying.

Just another memory made at the Thieles’.

© Carlye Reynolds 1 December 2012

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