Thanksgiving With The Family
From the Pastor: Thanksgiving With The Family
Thanksgiving was last Thursday and you know what that means: another enjoyable, though slightly strange, day with my family. In case you cannot figure out the timing, this article had to be written before any of the below mentioned activities actually took place, in order to make the publishing deadline for the bulletin. Sometimes I fall way behind with everything and other times I have to find ways to get things done even before they occur. I wish the seminary had taught a class on this whole time warp thing so that I wouldn’t have had to figure it out on my own!
This year we all gathered at my sister’s house. There was a larger crowd than normal, as one of our cousins recently moved to south Florida with her husband and kids and they drove up to join us. We also took in a couple of “orphan” priests who had no family of their own to share the day with, and there were neighbors and neighbors’ kids in and out of the house constantly. Sometimes I wasn’t even sure whether the people around me were family, friends, or friends of other family members, but I suppose that on Thanksgiving it doesn’t really matter. We were all thankful for having plenty of people to share the great feast and festivities with. Except for Aunt Irma, that is.
She drove up in a prissy pink Prius sporting a coexist sign, a rainbow flag and a “Hillary for Pope” bumper sticker, and had a 10 inch long baby diaper pin (excuse me, “safety” pin) adorning her Che Guevara tee shirt. She had purchased all of these items (including the “car”) while on a recent retreat (sorry, “self-realization retrocognition celebration”) at the Cosmic Christ Consciousness Revolution Holistic Metaphysical Center and Hemp Coffee Shop run by the Popefranciscan Sisters of Perpetual Heresy. She had learned to channel her inner Bodhisattva and, with the great excitement of a new convert, wanted to share her new gnostic knowledge with one and all. The children escaped her by jumping into the pool, completely ignoring the chilly 81 degree midday weather. Strangely, while most of the children were turning blue in their successful efforts to keep Aunt Irma at bay, the newly transplanted Michiganders were acting like they were basking in a hottub. “This is soooo much warmer than Grand Traverse Bay!” they excitedly shrieked to the thin-blooded, jacket wearing Floridian elders.
The women all piled into the kitchen when Aunt Irma began expounding some Mother Earth savior nonsense, and they managed to chase her out simply by leaving styrofoam food packaging and chain grocery store receipts out for her to “accidentally” see. They found something almost sinfully enjoyable about explaining that, no, the turkey was not a free-range bird humanely dispatched by being gently smothered with purring kittens and butterflies; that the cranberries came from Publix rather than from the local farmer’s market; and that the pie crusts contained flour and lard rather than grated leftover gluten free pizza crust scraps and coconut oil. Though close to a swoon, my aunt managed to stumble out of the kitchen before being overcome by such barbarism, much to the relief of the women but bringing fear to the men.
We had naively thought that, in the outside patio where we were supposedly keeping an eye on the swimming children, we were safe from our loving--and loved--but crazy aunt. We were doing “manly” things that were sure to keep her away. We were watching football, drinking scotch, smoking cigars, one-upping each other with tall tales of glorious achievements during our youth, and, to stop the kids from bickering, occasionally encouraging them to do all the fun (read: dangerous) stunts their mothers wouldn’t ever let them do. All these things usually drive up testosterone to such levels that it acts like a force field against all but the most determined of women. But Aunt Irma was a very determined woman that day. She was resolved to convert someone from “old fashioned” and “rigid” Catholicism, and bring him into her newly discovered Age of Aquarius Laetitia.
Fortunately, I was ready for her. When I had heard where Auntie was making a retreat, I had asked the Bishop for faculties to perform an exorcism on her ASAP. At first he had denied my request but I gave him an ultimatum: “Either I exorcise my Aunt or I send her to spend Thanksgiving with you.” That didn’t faze him a bit. In fact, I think he was looking forward to swapping notes with her. So I got mean, rotten and nasty: I gulped, prayed that he wouldn’t call my bluff, and told him, “Either she gets exorcised or else I will spend Thanksgiving with you!” I have never seen him procure a document so fast. Aunt Irma only made it halfway across the yard before she sank to her knees at the sight of the Benedictine Crucifix I held as I prayed the Latin prayers. Soon she was back to her crazy old self and we had a great Thanksgiving. Anyone want to buy a slightly used Prius?
With prayers for your holiness,
Fr. Edwin Palka
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