As I hinted at in a recent blog entry, I wanted to take this opportunity to re-visit the world of the Unauthorized Liographies. The reason is that for once, I wanted to have at least one Patterson take note of the fact that it’s Thanksgiving Day here in Canada:
As I write this, it’s been exactly three years since my parents’ passing. You will no doubt take note of the fact that I hesitate to speculate as to the timeliness of their deaths. You will also no doubt take note of the fact that they died within minutes of one another on a day that meant little to them: Thanksgiving Day. Looking back on my childhood, I remember that we had the day off and the standard big meal but for all intents and purposes, Thanksgiving wasn’t a real live thing in the Patterson household. When I was the age my nephew Jimmy is now, I thought that the day needed the sort of mascot that Christmas or Easter had for it to register with Mom and Dad. Sadly, the absence of a ‘guy’ (Liz and April are still making a thing of THAT) was not the problem.
Neither was the fact that it wasn’t a ‘British’ festival. Uncle Phil and Mom’s Aunt Phyllis might believe that Mom took the family’s connection to Great Britain more seriously than she should have but according to Iris and the Richardses left in the Vancouver area, this is not the case. The Richards family tradition was to have the big meal, listen to the game on the radio and tune out the old fogeys from Blighty ranting about Yankee cultural pollution. It might look as if Mom and Dad paid too much attention to people who were too full of themselves to assimilate but this is not the case.
It also isn’t the case that we simply forgot that it happened because Halloween candy and costumes loomed larger in our minds. As Deanna tells me, that is simply another excuse that my parents used to muddle the issue. What she remembers growing up is that Thanksgiving Day was seen not as the beginning of trick-or-treat season but as a time to take stock of the year past and look forward to the year to come. Buying candy, deciding on costumes and the like took place the Saturday after Thanksgiving Day. This seems to me to be more sensible than the crazy way my parents did things so that's what I plan on doing from now on. While Meredith still sort of misses the old order, Robin is less inclined to do anything that might make him explode like Grandma Elly did. As I said, Mom's "Well, Michael, you just glossed over it" is her way of trying to get me to agree that these are not the droids I'm looking for.
The real reason, I should think, is that just as being terrible hypocrites with an apocalypse complex was a tradition with my parents, not being able to find a damned thing to be grateful for was also part of their legacy. I hesitate to emulate April’s lecturer-in-chief Eva “Warzone” Abuya but it seems to me to be not have been especially smart of my folks to parade around as if nothing could ever be good enough to make them give thanks for anything given the blessings that plopped down in their laps on a daily basis. A nice house, money to burn, swell kids, not a bit of it mattered. Why, they weren’t even glad enough to be married to one another to stay faithful to one another. I learned through Dad’s friend Ted that at one point, Mister King Train Man had a brief fling with the former Irene McAulay; upon being cruelly dumped, she hired some kids who kinda hated our family in the first place to smash up his ego-gratifying model train layout. As for April, she at least has one parent living owing to Mom deciding that two could play at that game. Owing to her lack of imagination, her choice for go-to paramour was Ted himself.
I guess that’s why April was always the loser in our family politics. This kind of sucks because despite his roving eye, Ted is closer to being Dad material than Dad ever was. I often wonder what would have happened if Phil had done the world a solid and claimed that Dad was dead before he started cannibalizing him. It might have been awkward getting used to dealing with Ted as a father but he could scarce do worse than the real freaking Harvey Rood.
Ah, well. At least the good doctor is being a father in the here and now and inducting April in his family’s traditions. Weird. The same thing happened to me and Liz. Always and ever, we Patterson children have to be adopted into other households and learn their simpler, more joyous ways of doing things. Not for Warren or for my in-laws the bitter internal wrangling over who's loved best when the holidays arrive that we three had to deal with.
The reason that I think this matters is that traditions are a way for people to speak after they pass on. Given that as the years go on, we do things the way other families do, it’s as if Mom’s voice will be silenced for good one day. It might happen in my lifetime. It might happen by the time Meredith graduates from University. It will, though, happen. Kinda sad when you think about it really. She spent her whole life shouting at the top of her lungs just to be heard but it was all so futile at the end of the day. Too much mansplaining from Dad, I guess. Now there's a voice that maybe oughta vanish!!