Due to my usual poor planning (read: refusal to go to sleep at a reasonable hour last night and inability to drag my butt out of bed the first four times my alarm went off this morning), I have about fifteen minutes before I have to head out of here for 42 surely fun-filled hours with my parents. Note that I said "parents," not "family." My 95-year-old grandmother apparently decided she had better things to do than have dinner with us this year (perhaps she has a gentleman friend she's not telling us about?); my older sister is off with her boyfriend's family for the holiday; and my younger sister will have dinner with us but will then retreat to her own home rather than our parents' home--partly because her home is conveniently located only 30 minutes away from theirs (and who wouldn't rather sleep in their own bed and play with their own cats than twiddle their thumbs in their childhood home?) and partly because she works retail and rarely finds herself with more than several hours free on any holiday weekend.
I do wish my little sister would be around for more of the weekend, but it's not even to deflect some of my parents' attention and keep them from asking me 42 consecutive questions about anything and everything in life or to have someone to roll my eyes toward when my father starts talking like a lunatic old man. It's because each time she is unable to be home for Thanksgiving, we miss out on the tradition we long-ago established of watching Home for the Holidays together.
Because I knew I wouldn't be seeing it with my sister, I watched my old VHS of that movie myself last night. I am amazed that, even after so many viewings, it still makes me laugh out loud. Not at the obviously slapstick parts, like the flying turkey at dinner, but at the pitch-perfect scenes at the airport, where adult children bicker with their parents on the phone and slink into the back seat of their family car looking trapped and in pain and drained by the simple thought of the days in front of them. It's classic... and, to me, entirely relatable.
Each time I watch that movie, I also marvel at how the writers created Charles Durning's character without using my father as a model. When he waves his whipped cream-covered pie in front of Holly Hunter happily just to show it off on his way to the living room, I think, "Was that guy in our house? How did he know to do that?" It's remarkable, really. That man is my father... only happier.
OK, I had more organized thoughts I was going to write, but I am quickly out of time and, actually, officially behind schedule at the moment, so I must get going. I really should do a list of things I'm thankful for, like so many other people have this week, but I sort of already did that a few weeks ago anyway. So I'm out of here for now.