Death. I was thankful no one died this year. Mr. Wonderful, my Gary, Wilma.
Sandy whispered, "What do you mean 'Wilma?' Mom didn't almost die."
"Oh! I forgot about that!"
The Future Mrs Nephew Who Was Not There. The Nephew kept the peace admirably. He spoke only when spoken to. When his Mom prompted him, he narrated the photos of his engagement (which evidently involves tying a red armband on the man).
The girl looks adorable, funny and smart. And Jewish. Of course she isn't. Orrrr ... perhaps that's HER big secret. Picture Jennifer Grey's nose
... and Kirsten Schall's smile, with a slighly smaller chin:
...with chin-length dark hair that curls madly just at the ends.
Other details: Her engagement gift from Sandy was one of the First Mrs. nephew's scarves. They are to be wed sometime in the spring, both the religious wedding and the state wedding. She and her seven sisters and one brother were all born in the United States. She'll be working while The Nephew goes to one of the 49 law schools he applied to.
It was pretty evident that The Nephew sees himself above work, since he remained in his chair while every one of the other NINE people got up and helped clean up after the meal. Sandy said, "I'll help too," and I pointed out, "ALMOST everyone is helping." So he's living his life the Pakistani way.
Things Not Discussed
The Whiteness of The Niece's Boyfriend. He seems nice, trim, and bright, and I can tell you he's a good sport. Every time the conversation got to surgeries an ER visits, I included him in the conversation. "So, Matt, have you had any surgeries?" He complimented her pumpkin pie, so I hope she'll have many compliments from here on. Oh, and his family breeds horses. SO white. I did see him involve The Nephew in a conversation once.
Sandy's Beau He does not live in Michigan, but Brooklyn. I imagine The Nephew has gone to check him outl, since The Nephew is the formerly drug-addicted prevaricating religious head of the household.
I leaned over to ask Sandy about it, and she muttered, "Can't talk about it. Makes Dad really upset." All I could get out of her was that he lives in Brooklyn, but that was something.
The Other Pies. Even though the niece sent an email that she was bringing cherry and pumpkin pie, the Wonderfuls brought two store-bought pies. Cherry and pumpkin. Now, I know some households where this would have stopped Thanksgiving, especially since there is underlying tension between the two sisters.
Underlying Tension Between the Two Sisters. They haven't spoken for weeks. Mr. Wonderful made no promises about what he would and wouldn't say. Tension? In a few hours they were in a room together taking unflattering photos of each other and giggling like ... sisters.
So, good Thanksgiving. And no one touched the Back-up Pies. My pie was soup, so that made my niece look good, and it gave Gary something to vent about so he was all calm at his parents.
LATER: I think I know now why it was a normal Thankgiving. In my family, if you'd had a father not talking to his daughter, two sisters not talking, a son not talking to a guest, it would be tense and quiet. but the talking baseline at the in-laws is SO HIGH that when you cut back on 60 percent of the talking you still have a normal conversation.