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Indulging in tomfoolery: A Smith family Thanksgiving

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The Smith siblings will convene the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

Brian, the youngest, will drive up from Jacksonville, Fla. Next up the tree — and that description is more accurate than you can imagine — is Brad, who’ll come in from Beaufort, S.C. Rhonda, the only girl — and the princess — occupies the next limb up. She’ll come in from Columbia, S.C.

I’ll drive down to Spartanburg, S.C., where the oldest sibling, Steve, lives. He has agreed to host the gathering. Actually, he agreed to convince a restaurant owner to reserve a private room (padded walls?) for our reunion. I’m not certain if he agreed to pay for damages.

The assembly will include spouses, children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins and the elder statesman, Uncle Mack, who will come in from Piedmont, S.C., a stone’s throw from where we all grew up.

I suspect shenanigans will occur. I’m counting on it. Verbal jabs will strike with the rapidity of machinegun fire. No prisoners will be taken. We will rehash ancient memories from our youth, and the rehashing will bear fewer elements of pure fact than they did the last time we trotted them out for public perusal.

We will brag on our grandchildren — with justification. We will compare our latest maladies. My recently repaired meniscus could be the latest surgical procedure, but will prompt more sass than sympathy.

We will laugh. That is a guarantee. We always do; we always have. We will make noise. We will tease one another unmercifully. It has always been so. We used to gather at the small brick house where Mom and Dad raised the five us into something resembling responsible adults. They put us all through college, taught us the value of family, education, and occasional hard work.

After our parents died we all agreed that we should make an attempt to gather at least once a year and catch up, reminisce, and enjoy each other’s company. We’ve missed a year or two, but we had good intentions.

This will be the first get-together in two years, so we have more than the usual amount of baggage to unload. I haven’t seen some of my closest relatives in that time, and I have to admit that I miss them. I’ve found that adult siblings retain some of the foolish rivalries that plagued us when we were children, but the jealousies are mostly gone, replaced by good natured ribbing.

I am proud of my siblings’ accomplishments. They have all done well, established successful careers, and earned the respect of their peers. Steve and Rhonda are retired and enjoying the opportunities to travel, volunteer, and spoil grandchildren. Brad, Brian, and I remain employed, but, at least for me, I enjoy the work too much to contemplate not doing it.

The Saturday after Thanksgiving will be a good day. Our spouses will forget for a few hours just how fortunate they are to be wedded to such witty partners, and will roll their eyes, sigh, and unconvincingly bemoan their fates. Secretly, they will love it.

And I will be most thankful for the opportunity to get together and indulge in family tomfoolery. I wish you and your family an equally Happy Thanksgiving.

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