Friday, December 06, 2013

Raise A Toast To The Usual Suspects

Thanksgiving found us once again eating dinner with all the ‘usual suspects.’ Coming together year after year a bond is formed. There is an otherworldly alliance that has been forged over ten years of meeting together. This coupled with rituals and rights of passage make the family Thanksgiving dinner more than just one more night out.

There is the Tri-Tip purchased in Cardiff. The rub and marinate on the steak make it amazingly tender and delicious so much so that the locals call it Cardiff Crack. Of course the prep isn’t anything without my brother-in-laws barbeque which culminates in a steak that just about drips off of your tongue. Couple that with turkey and traditional plates brought by the cousins and the in-laws and it’s a night of rich celebration.

On paper it makes little sense. These are people that we see two times a year. We don’t share life with them on a day to day basis. We don’t follow them on social media. No we meet for half-of-a-day and share one or two big moments that happened to us over the last year. Yet somehow we enter into the joy and, sometimes, heartache with this present company that we join with on this night. Our kids are a year older, our backs a year sorer and most of our jobs are the same. We’ve lost friends to trauma and had children return to the fold.

So we raise glass or bottle to toast another year and celebrate our kinship in spirit and through blood. In this same tradition this year my wife partook of the inaugural drink of Riga Black Balsams (a traditional Latvian herbal liqueur) with nary a flinch.

Alcohol, amazing dinner and rich deserts take their toll on our blood streams and we begin to fade. For some the following Friday is a work day which will come to early. For us it’s off to a local hotel. We give hugs and bid farewell to this once-again meeting which can only be a taste of Heavenly fellowship. The warmth remains as my sister’s house fades in the rearview as we look forward to doing it once again for Christmas.

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