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Fitz's Opinion: Surviving the season of gratitude for family, fine weather and food fights.
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Fitz’s Opinion

Fitz's Opinion: Surviving the season of gratitude for family, fine weather and food fights.

The following column is the opinion and analysis of the writer:

One family celebrated Thanksgiving early because so may of them had plans to travel to see folks they hadn’t seen since the pandemic. Five days before Thanksgiving, they agreed to gather at grandpa’s hacienda at the edge of town.

One by one the old couples and the young families and the new parents arrived.

“Beautiful autumn day, Cousin.”

“Who brought the Christmas tamales! Wow!”

“I haven’t seen your baby since the pandemic! She’s beautiful. Looks just like her mom!”

Nana Maria, directed guests to sit wherever they wished. “Set potluck goodies on the big buffet table on the porch, por favor.”

Folks made their way around back to the circle of picnic tables set under a shady grove of old mesquite trees and took their seats among warm breezes and chattering cactus wrens.

In apprehensive silence they eyed each other like Squid Game competitors. Who would initiate the mandatory melee, the requisite family riot before the Cranberry Sauce got warm? Who would bring up politics first?

Vittles were set, napkins placed and tumblers filled. Nana Maria presented the aromatic smoked butterball to rounds of applause and cheers. At least they agreed on that.

Grandpa began. ”Heavenly Father, on this-“

Jean from Berkeley objected. “I prefer ‘Mother’.”

Pedro differed. “ ‘Divine Being’ would be best.”

Andrew the heathen scowled. “Silent gratitude works.”

Whacking Andrew with a wooden serving spoon, Nana Maria said, ”I’d be grateful if you’d all shut your pie holes and let your grandfather finish!”

Grandpa cleared his throat. ”On this Thanksgiving, let us give thanks for the bounty before us-“

Lucy, the college student, snarled, ”Which bounty? The $10,000 bounty on the heads of Texas women?”

Tom, from Texas, tensed. The Gastellum twins grimaced. Prissy grabbed the pyrex. Grandpa plowed on.”We give thanks — Especially for the blessings of family…for each and every one of you—“

“Even the socialist traitors?” Tom glared at his sister, Lucy. Her husband, Jose, stood up.“You rude, treasonous, racist—“

“Let me finish! Thanks for these vittles. Amen. Hallelujah. So be it. Eat. And do not talk to each other.”

Julia elbowed uncle Henry “Hey, Henry, Did you hear Frank’s in the ICU. He believed you when you said it was hoax.”

“Don’t start with me, you elitist idiot.” In an instant Nana Maria’s guests were flinging peas and lobbing biscuits and pouring gravy on each other.

“I hate you!” Julia smeared orange candied yams on Henry’s face.

Lucy laughed. “Julia! Henry looks just like his hero—“

“Duck!” Shouted grandpa as a turkey leg corkscrewed past Lucy’s head. Aunt Carmen leapt on top of her table, shrieked, “I have bear spray,” and began spraying her fellow culinary combatants.

Amid threats and screams, Tom reached for the ultimate weapon. He grabbed the fruitcake and held the brick aloft. Everyone froze. “Nobody move! Unless you want a fruitcake in your face.”

Aunt Carmen said she had brought that fruitcake and if Tom didn’t drop it she’d spray him with bear spray.

Tom refused.“You’ll get my fruitcake when you pry it from my dead cold sticky fingers, Aunt Carmen!”

Carmen’s sister, Edna, dumped a green bean casserole on the head of her nephew, Mitch, a “Q-Anon nitwit” and used the pyrex to bean Tom as hard as she could from behind, driving his face into the punch bowl as the pro-choice Robles sisters bombarded abortion opponents, Adelaide and Val, with pumpkin empanadas and Grandpa emptied a salad bowl, “A damned fine helmet,” to wear as he ran through a gauntlet of mini-chimis to help Manny, Linda and Marilyn hold off an advance by cousin Nick, “the fascist bigot” who brought the cherry cobbler.

Jose could take no more. He knew what he had to do. He had no choice. He stood, wiped the pumpkin pie off his face and out of his eyes, tapped his glass with his spoon, and began to sing,”America, sweet America. God shed his grace on thee.”

Every last dripping, sticky fool snapped to attention and sang the entire song, one family, one voice, one sticky, gooey, messy, bruised voice with two teeth missing, affirming the glory of crowning “thy good with brotherhood” with Aunt Carmen hitting the high note,” —From sea to shining sea!”

A Deputy knocked, filled out his report, Jeb went to the ER with a small flag pole issue and guests were hosed down. The stars came out, the mesquite fire was lit and they discussed the fine autumn weather until they headed their separate ways.

“Love you, you dipstick.”

“Igualmente, bonehead.”

“Safe travels. Don’t vote!”

“Have a great Thanksgiving.Thanks for the black eye.”

“See you next stolen election.”

“Not if Covid gets you first.”

“Familia por siempre.”

“Family forever.”


David Fitzsimmons:

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