You may have noticed I haven't said much about Turkey Day at the S_______s, except there was, of course, pie. I've been working out exactly how to explain this year's unique brand of chaos.
See, Gary and I had girded our loins for the explosive combination of Sandy and her brood reacting with the rest of the S____ family after the ill-fated summer visit. (Things did not end well this summer after the kids left our house and went to the more restrictive environments of the S_____s and Wonderfuls.)
However, on Thanksgiving everyone was on their best behaviour, and I use the Canadian spelling because the behaviour was that good. Teenagers laughed. Politics were not discussed. I had a heart-to-heart with Arzaana-Fay and was not accused of grandchild stealing. The Kansas City contingent was three hours late, therefore the turkey was dry and stringy and NO ONE SAID A WORD.
You would think there was an undercurrent, but there wasn't, and that's what's so odd. Usually, after a big Blowup like the Summer '06 Blowup, there would be an air of strained politeness and eye-rolling. What I've decided is that the in-laws transferred all their hostility to the dogs. There were the half-Muslim KC dogs (Willow and Moses - yes, Moses is a big dude in Islam, but not so big you can't name your dog after him), then there were the S_____ Nazi dogs Ferrari and Mercedes (they didn't name them), then the Wonderful dogs George and Gracie, and then Mac. And as dogs will, every 20 minutes dogs would chest-butt each other and scream and shake their jowls.
This would provoke ten minutes of in-laws screaming and vaulting off the upholstery to protect their dogs, check their dogs for injuries even though no contact had been made, and lecture their dogs on how they should love the other dogs because they were cousins. Mr. and Mrs. Wonderful would speak sternly to everyone else's dogs and not their own. Sandy and I would have a dry little conversation on how these were dogs, not diplomats, and they should be allowed to act like dogs. Gary's mother, I swear to you, would get a newspaper and slap her hand with the paper. She claimed the noise of the slapping paper is what upsets the dogs, and it is unnecessary and cruel to hit the dog.
So, viewed from the dog's perspective, this was our Thanksgiving:
Willow and Moses: As-Salāmu 'Alaykunna!
Mercedes: Who's that? I can't see.
Ferrari: I can't hear. It smells like those young pups. It must be a holiday.
Willow: Yes, it's Thanksgiving. Doesn't it seem like the most boring Thanksgiving ever?
George: Are they all on drugs?
Mac: My Mom's on drugs.
Gracie: It's too quiet. Ten bucks for the first one who gets someone to say their dog was abused as a puppy.
(Willow and Gracie squabble. Much screaming.)
Willow: Aahhhhh. That's more like it.
Ferrari: Heh heh heh. That was good. Watch this, I can get my Mom to beat herself with a newspaper.
(Ferrari attacks Mac. Wilma runs toward them beating herself with a newspaper. Then, a few minutes later:)
George: I'm kind of sensing Sandy's been calm too long and she's going to bust. Let's get her riled up next. Moses, steal some ham.
Moses: So let it be written, so let it be done.
Picture hours of that. I only overheard two human squabbles. Hopefully, the dogs will take on Squabble Patrol for Christmas as well.