Junior Barnes, you gunky!

“Whatchu wanna hit me in the side of the face with a slush ball for, man?”
-Bill Cosby to Junior Barnes, Revenge

So, Mother Nature… is your name Junior Barnes? Because I cannot fathom what kind of rules you’re playing with. Didn’t anyone ever tell you how to play nice with the other children? Is there a Grandma Nature I should be blaming for raising you to be so reckless?

You’ve got some nerve dumping 13 inches of snow on us in three days and then immediately raising the temperature just enough so it rains the next day. Sure, rain can be nice; but this is like a practical joke. Not only are the streets flooded with nature’s saliva, but this rainfall also washes away inches of snow, making all of Chicagoland into an overflowing, salty, mud slushie. Thanks. Do they serve that flavor at 7-Eleven?

You gunky.

Of course it was worth it

Happy belated Thanksgiving to you Americans. I am actually posting out of the sheer relief that I’m able to do so at all. Being safely home is what I’m thankful for today. More on that after the break.

I drove up to Grand Rapids, Michigan yesterday morning under the cover of cloudy skies. But nothing could dampen my spirits; the drive was smooth, I was off of work, and my mind was focused on the delights that awaited me. I made wonderful time (just over 3 hours) and was greeted by the smiling faces of my West Michigan relatives. One highlight was visiting with my Grandpa in his new in-law apartment. I see a change in how he treats me now; I’m not the little granddaughter anymore. I’m an adult with a mind and experience to share. I truly love him, and the whole trip was worth it just to see him show off pictures of my great-grandmother and sit in his living room having a grown up conversation.

Soon the rest of the family arrived, totaling 1 grandparent, 3 of his children and their spouses, and 10 grandchildren. Seven of my beloved relatives were missing from the fray, and we kept them in our hearts and conversations throughout the day. The volume level increased with our jovial banter as it always does when that side of the family gets together. We have a way of creating such a din that any moment of complete silence feels like a tragedy. The typical merrymaking ensued, filled with delicious foods and ripe conversations about anything from boyfriends to old family jokes, from traditions long missed to religious relics.

There are so many moments to carry with me: The way Grandpa sang “Sweet Lorraine” to my youngest cousin as they slow danced on the carpet; how I felt like a child again playing with my cousins in the basement, but yet wise enough to know that in a few years they will feel “too cool” to play games anymore (at least until they are my age and can appreciate those moments as well); the hilarious display of dancing at the end of the night after sharing embarrassing old stories around the living room circle.

I love it all. It’s all a part of me. How could I wish to be anywhere else by with my family on the best holiday of the year? Thanksgiving is about family, food, and non-commercial enjoyment. There are no cards, no gifts, no pressure. It can be as cheap or as lavish as one wants. Traditions are formed, bonds are tightened, and people of all beliefs and backgrounds can enjoy it together…

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