Holidays and Headstones in Day by Day

  • Nov. 25, 2017, 9:23 p.m.
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  • Public

Thanksgiving was busy but successful. Everyone brought a side dish, so it took a lot of the workload off my shoulders. I’d made the turkey-shaped butter pats, cranberry sauce, and the dressings a few days ahead, and set the table the day before, so all I was responsible for on the big day was the bird, the stuffing, and the gravy. The table and appetizers:

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My older brother’s ex-wife and their son came. My ex-sis-in-law is on the left, next to her is MY eldest son and next to him is my ex-SIL’s son (youngest son is next to him, and that’s my husband on the end). Now that my older brother is dead and cannot keep us from knowing each other, we’re finding we all REALLY like each other! They will be coming for Christmas, too. After my husband is my eldest son’s friend, Tony, is another staple at our holiday table for the last four or five years. Next to Tony is my eldest son’s girlfriend, then my aunt and uncle (my father’s brother). My uncle and aunt were looking pretty good. Aging, as we all are, but I thought he was looking pretty healthy. My aunt hides her age well, as always.

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My younger brother’s widow did not attend. Her mother was in the hospital for a while (out now, I think). She had a tough time on my brother’s birthday (hit me hard, too) on the 20th.

I spent Friday cleaning up Thanksgiving and holiday décor and will spend the rest of the weekend decorating for Christmas. Already found one broken ornament. This was a childhood ornament, over 60 years old. Here are some of the others, including the Angry Santa. They are all blown glass, mostly from Germany:

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Amazingly, gifts are simplified this year. The boys and eldest son’s girlfriend are not exchanging with us, and I took my husband’s family’s gifts to Indiana when we visited in August. I’d already bought gifts for a few friends, so I find myself caught up there, too. I’m not doing much baking (everyone is watching everything these days: gluten, carbs, dairy, sugar, keytones…) this year, either. I have cards to do and Christmas dinner to plan, but I actually think I’ll be less stressed this year more than others.

Oh! The tombstone saga! I almost forgot! If I’d known it would cause such hemming and hawing and hedging, I never would have said anything. I had 3 brothers: one older, two younger. Ashes are being spread and names are being added to my father’s headstone. I figured if we were turning my father’s headstone into a stone with everybody’s name on it, my name should be there, too. I never thought it would be an issue.

I sent a message to SIL from younger brother requesting that when she adds his name, add mine, as well. My SIL from younger brother called me back and began with a little white lie (I didn’t call her on it, but it was so unnecessary) and then said she’d talked with SIL from OLDER brother (she has ownership of my father’s headstone…long story, nobody thought about the headstone ownership) who said we’d need to have a family meeting because she didn’t know if there would be room and font size, and…her voice sort of trailed off…

I just said, “Hey, I just shot you that note about adding my name because I knew you were adding younger brother’s and figured all 3 names could be done at the same time. If my name fits, great, if not, leave if off, but I do think that if my brothers’ names will be there, mine should be, too.”

I do NOT want to spend eternity hearing every visitor say, “Mike, Brent, Carrie* (name of younger brother’s widow who wants her name there, too), Guy….hey, wait a minute, her name was Connie, not Carrie”! Didn’t hear anything for a week (SIL from older brother let slip that SIL from youngest brother discussed it with her first, too), then I get this cloyingly sweet call from SIL from youngest brother, saying of COURSE my name should be there and asking about the spelling of my last name, etc. etc.

They think I’m stupid. I’m not. They wanted to say no but couldn’t so then they acted as if it was NO BIG DEAL AT ALL…except for hesitation, and phone calls to everyone else, and breathy hastiness to reassure me that I could be included, too.

I told SIL from youngest brother that I appreciated the inclusion and didn’t care about font size or whether my middle initial was carved or the full middle name (SIL from youngest brother gushed, “Oh you took your MAIDEN name as your middle name! How NICE!” as if what I’d done 40 years ago was all that unusual). I should be listed second, but if I’m not, I don’t care.

So, it’s arranged. As I said, I never expected an off-handed request to become such drama and while not surprised at SIL from youngest brother’s hesitation, was kind of taken aback by SIL from younger brother’s (there were 3 brothers). So the tombstone saga is over, thank goodness, and I’ll hopefully never have to ask permission from her again!

I know, I know…First World problems…

*names changed

GypsyWynd November 25, 2017

Count on family to create (unnecessary) drama.
Your Thanksgiving looks wonderful.

GypsyWynd November 25, 2017

PS: We had blown glass ornaments, too, and it seemed there was a casualty every year. I don't think Mom brought any of the survivors to FL.

ConnieK GypsyWynd ⋅ November 25, 2017

I'm amazed that there are still some left. That particular ornament was a favorite, so I was sad to see it go.

Shattered November 25, 2017

Gorgeous photos! Happy thanksgiving!!

ConnieK Shattered ⋅ November 25, 2017

Thanks! I hope yours was good, too!

a mote, floating November 26, 2017

Love the photos! The potluck aspect is similar to the arrangement my family had when I was growing up. My parents hosted and did the turkey; everyone else brought a side dish. Glad the tombstone saga is resolved!

ConnieK a mote, floating ⋅ November 26, 2017

I think everyone contributing is easier on the host.

QueenSuzu November 26, 2017

Whew, that was some finagling? with the SILs but glad it was amicably resolved. Lovely table. Did you tell the others what sides to bring or how did you manage not to get all mashed potatoes and no stuffing.

ConnieK QueenSuzu ⋅ November 26, 2017

The others told me what they were bringing, and I'd pass it on so nobody duplicates.

QueenSuzu ConnieK ⋅ November 26, 2017

Friends used to do a pig roast, they supplied the pig and everyone else brought a side and she was very specific about what and how many sides she had coming.

ConnieK QueenSuzu ⋅ November 26, 2017

Now I see that as a sign of a rookie. LOL! I've hosted a lot of big dinners and can easily feed 100 by myself, but I've learned that delegating makes MY life easier. I'll assign an area (dessert, vegetable, rolls, etc) but I only make specific suggestions if asked, which usually happens with vegetables since nobody wants to duplicate and I usually assign 3 people to the task (one green, one yellow, one mashed potatoes). Is it perfect? No. The mashed potatoes were too garlicky and the broccoli casserole was heavy on vinegar (odd ingredient, I thought), so it wasn't exactly as I would have made them, but how will they improve without practice?

In over 45 years of feeding large crowds, I have NEVER ended up at a potluck that had only desserts or only green beans, but if it ever happens, I hope I'm there! :)

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