I’ll never forget the year my mom tearfully carried out her jet-black Thanksgiving turkey from the kitchen.
We all laughed and pretended not to mind, of course, but the truth was, most of us pretty much cut off contact with her after that.
You probably have a million holiday memories of your own. But if I might offer one light social criticism, it’s that we sometimes over sentimentalize the experiences we share together this time of year, when the real stories suit the spirit of the season just fine.
I present to you, my favorite Thanksgiving memory — unedited and unpolished:
I still remember sitting up in my crib early that morning, looking out with hopeful wonder as the cool, Carolina mist formed permanent, Durham dew on my window.
It was the last days of the Cold War, but to a poor, 18 month-old baby in the city — whose doctors said would never walk or feed himself properly the first years of his life — just finding a clean change of pants felt like the real battlefield.
Times were tough in the ’90s.
Our family couldn’t afford a TV, but my brothers, sisters and I always rushed downstairs to listen to the Macy’s Day parade on the radio, refusing to budge until we heard Santa wave at the end.
Growing up impoverished, our family always had to improvise around the holidays. It was a way for us to develop stage presence and hone our comic timing.