Lost Journal: My First Thanksgiving

Journal entry:  November 27, 1969 (age 6 months) 

Goo.  That’s what I just said to my mom.  She correctly interpreted it to mean, “May I please have another spoonful of turkey-flavored Gerber’s?”  Mom is the only one who understands some of the things I try to say.  She’s right on target whenever I’m sharing my feelings on food, sleep, Big Bird, or wet pajamas.

Unfortunately, I have a lot of other things to say, and they largely go untranslated.  For instance, last week, I tried to make the comment that Nixon needs to play hardball with Brezhnev in Helsinki, or the SALT talks will result in a dangerous disparity in submarine-based ballistic missile launchers.  That time Mom was way off.  She interpreted my facial expressions and half-formed phonemes to mean that I had gas.  I did, but that was beside the point.

Being able to form intelligible sentences would come in really handy today, in particular.  It seems to be a special day, and I can’t figure out why.  First of all, the whole family is home.  Nobody went to school or work.  Secondly, dinner is not taking place in the kitchen, but in a pristine room I have never been in before.  They call it “the dining room,” and no one is acting like their usual selves in there.  My parents and my five older brothers are all dressed like they’re going to church, and the plates and glasses are heavier than the ones we usually use.

But the weirdest thing is that Dad seems to be doing Mom’s job today.  He has an apron on and is using the biggest knife I’ve ever seen to carve up a bird full of bread.  He seems really proud, and Mom looks happy.  I would think she’d be cranky, since she was the one up at 5 a.m. preparing the meal.  I’m also struck by a new and mysterious family ritual.  One of the serving bowls is just passed from person to person, and no one ever takes any of the food inside.  I think I heard one of my brothers murmur, “eww – squash” as he passed the bowl.  If they think ewwsquash is bad, they should try my jar of Gerber’s lima beans.

For dessert, Mom brought out a chocolate cake with three candles on it.  Then everyone sang “Happy Birthday” to my next oldest brother, Dan.  At first I thought that might be the reason for all the special goings-on today.  But then I remembered my “birth day.”  There wasn’t any cake or singing, I can tell you that.  It was mostly being smushed, listening to Mom screaming, and having a long procession of people count my toes.  And how can you have more than one birth day, anyway?

Well, I’m not sure why today is special, but I like it.  The food is great, and everybody’s being really nice to each other.  Just having the whole family talking and laughing together in the same room is nice.  I wish we could do this every day.

Tim Mollen
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