The Good News--
I concocted a successful candied yam dish that my cousin, who is said to be a talented cook, stated was the best he'd ever tasted. My secret was the freshly grated ginger root. Nicely complimented the brown sugar, I think.
Also, my mother, in her infinite wisdom, requested that no one bring up Kenny to me, unless I mentioned him first. I learned of her direction later, while happily commenting on the fact that I didn't have to eat anyone [see "Thanksgiving Imagined"].
Lastly, I very much enjoyed visiting with my family.
And Now For The Bad--
One of my uncles (not a blood relation) is a total dickhead. Let me explain. He has a reputation with the family for being a willfully insensitive, coarse-speaking, shallow-minded, egoist. He seems to think that because he has money, he has value.
It is our family tradition to gather before the Thanksgiving meal and formally give thanks. Each person fills out a small brightly colored card, which has pre-inscribed at the top "I am thankful for...". It is requested that at least four things be listed, but more is acceptable, if not encouraged. Then all of the cards are gathered and placed in a basket from which each person, in turn, randomly selects a card and reads it aloud. The others try to guess who gave the thanks. (Some cards are easy to discern: "I'm grateful for the Cards beating the Cubs in the playoffs" - obviously, Tim. "I'm grateful for my good looks" - yeah, Chris. And so forth...)
I am a person who likes giving thanks. For my part, I joyfully compiled a playful list of things I am sincerely grateful for concluding with "...my birdie friends, cheese, potatoes, and booze!" Everyone placed their respective cards in the basket and we read through them until only one card remained and only one person remained to read it. To be more specific, my card remained and the previously mentioned dickhead was the one to read it. Unfortunately, my card was not even read, really, because he started babbling in a baby voice the moment he opened his mouth.
Apparently, Uncle Dickhead didn't want to give thanks and this was his method of protest. I knew he would pull something like this, so I started heartily clapping my hands, signaling that it was time to move on to dinner, as he trailed off from his little stunt (few knew that the card was mine or what he had "read" from it, since he was largely unintelligible). In the shuffle that followed, his oldest son snatched the card from his hand and attempted to read it properly, but by that point, the attention of the family was on the upcoming Thanksgiving meal.
There is something patently fucked up about mocking another person's sincere expression of gratitude (on Thanksgiving, no less). I am loath to give him the satisfaction, but the whole experience ruined my holiday meal. That night, I told him exactly what I thought of him, with some other relatives in witness, but not a soul stopped me or admonished me for being disrespectful. They all seemed perfectly content to see him put in his place. This isn't the first time he has attempted to spoil an otherwise pleasant occassion. If only he would just never come to St. Louis again. He doesn't like us and we don't like him either. Next year, stay home by yourself, you crochity old curmudgeon.