The word argument sounds pleasant. It indicates something civil that ends with a firm handshake. This is not true when it comes to some families. It may be the fact they are tethered by the relation umbilical cord. It doesn’t matter if furniture is thrown or glass is broken with the volume of voices. They know they will see each other again at Thanksgiving dinner or next Sunday at church. They can’t get rid of each other.
“Garrett” was a neighbor with a loud, warrior-like family. There wasn’t a birthday, picnic, football game, or baptism that didn’t end with a trip to the ER. He told me that was how his cousin, Cheryl, met her husband. She went to urgent care when a large margarita pitcher got smashed into her head. Cheryl wasn’t the intended target (which makes things so much better) and Garrett’s aunt is proud to say she has a doctor for a son-in-law.
The arguments always start with something ridiculous:
“Aunt Karen didn’t put sunflower seeds in the broccoli salad.”
“Dad thought I laughed when his pants split.”
“My cousin said the Rolling Stones were the greatest band of all time.”
The reasons seemed hilarious to me but not to him. It wasn’t a gathering unless there was yelling or a fist in someone’s nose. It would be odd if something didn’t happen.
With all the anger there was a strong bond of love and loyalty to their band of bandits. No one except family can attack family. It’s perfectly fine if Uncle Ted needs stitches caused by Cousin Paul. If Aunt Kelly’s new boyfriend crosses the line then he might as well be a piece of bread. He’s getting stuffed into a toaster. They change sides in any disagreement if it means supporting their own kind. They are scrappy, “fight to the death” for your family people.
My Thanksgiving dinners are dull by comparison. No raised voices or silverware flying at your head. I don’t have enough medical insurance to cover the bills Garrett’s family pay. I imagine that there is something clean about getting those little things off your chest. If you’re angry then you speak your mind and move on. No one is going to suffer a heart attack from harboring years of resentment. Death will come quick like a warrior in battle. I imagine caused by a soup ladle inserted in the most unusual of places.
Published by Julie Ann Sanchez