No, the paramedics don’t show up every year. No, no one went to the hospital, and all the turkey eaters are alive and well. I’m probably being a bad writer for starting my story with the big climatic part of it, but fuck it, I like the big bang the paramedics provide in the first sentence.
A little history. My aunt and uncle have been hosting great big thanksgiving dinners for years---long before I moved out to LA. My uncle, who’s a gourmet chef, makes all the classics including a turkey which he wraps in cheese cloth and his signature green balls.
This year, my two brothers who live in Cleveland and Northern California were also in town for the feed. Also, Padraig, my significant other, came for his first thanksgiving. Born in Ireland, he never understood the gluttonous celebration of religious extremists who stole the land from the native peoples. But he came anyway this year because some things just needed to be experienced.
Thanksgiving day began innocently enough with a family outing up to Mulholland Drive to walk the dog. During the outing, I realized two things. First, we are a family of walkers. We can go for miles. Second, we all kind of get along. There were no big outbursts or screaming matches on thanksgiving. We are a family that chills. We also all agreed that the Caution Scenic Overlook sign next to the road was a very strange thing. Why should one be cautious of a scenic overlook? Are scenic overlooks really that dangerous?
So Thanksgiving dinner. Besides Padraig and my family, there were two other dinner guests---my Uncle’s very old mother and a very old family friend who brought the wine. Dinner went well. In support of my Aunt on Weight Watchers, I only ate one plate of food and didn’t go back for seconds. Dinner went well, and the pies came out.
As we were all relaxing after the feed and the smokers were smoking out on the porch, the old family friend started looking pale and not well, so paramedics were called. I figured it would be one or two guys like on Emergency, that show from the 70s. It turned out to be a whole team with giant plastic cases and lots of stuff. Anyway, he is all right now. I wouldn’t be telling you this story if it had a sad ending.
I actually ended up in a front row seat to the whole thing along with my Uncle’s very old mother who couldn’t get up easily from the dining room table. She made jokes about the cute paramedics (those guys so work out). I can’t wait until I’m an old lady when I can make bawdy jokes which seem cute and innocent. All I could do was offer them pie. It was damn good pie. Sorry, I don’t have a pie picture.
The second act of This Sunshine Jen Life takes place on the Sunday after Thanksgiving in Santa Monica. My family was all gone. They all left with turkey sandwiches and leftover pie. All that family togetherness did take a lot out of me, and I needed to turn the focus away from family and out to my own quasi adulthood.
Fortunately, Rich and Rachel were in town, so Padraig and I met them and Mark (who I haven’t seen in ages, ohmygawd) for brunch then a walk to the Santa Monica Ice Rink (yes, there’s an ice rink in Santa Monica) and out onto the pier. As we all walked, I felt my usual So Cal mellow come back to myself. And even though it was grey and overcast, I could started to feel all warm and fluffy like a big pink stuffed bear at the ring toss game out on the pier. Ah yes, nothing like the holidays.
And! I actually got a picture of Rich taking a picture of me. I’ve always wanted to do that. Yes, I have very simple dreams and wishes.