Thanksgiving Instructions from Ethan Holmes

Happy Thanksgiving!

Ethan Holmes Snoopy-ThanksgivingAs usual, I am spending Thanksgiving alone. Many of you are privileged enough to spend yours with family and friends. So I thought it would be an opportune time to give you some ‘instructions’ about how to spend the holiday since I obviously have no clue how to even participate unless I go to the store to buy a twenty pound bird, bake it and eat it all by myself. I believe the only result of that would be I would never want to see another turkey for the rest of my life.

That said, I humbly submit an excerpt from my rather distorted and dry-witted look at life, Live Your Life in a Crap Free Zone. This small sample gives you instructions on what to do at the Thanksgiving table. It’s just a theory but I hope it helps you all have a more peaceful Thanksgiving holiday despite the fact that you are in a house full of people. I know mine is going to be quiet as hell. Even Woodstock won’t be joining me as he headed for Florida for the winter.

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving imageAn excerpt from Live Your Life In A Crap Free Zone by Ethan Holmes; From the Family chapter.

Family crap knows no distinction when it comes to financial status, station in life, sex, race, religion or location. It can range in flavor and smell from your teenage daughter whining at you about why she can’t have a boyfriend and a cell phone, to your grandmother glaring at you because you brought her a couple of nice brochures for some great nursing homes, preferably thousands of miles from your present location. (Is this the same woman that used to make you cookies?)

Your husband comes home and whines about his job, your mother comes home and whines about the price of cottage cheese at the store. Someone calls to tell you your cousin in Indiana was just caught in a meth raid and you want to call your sister and tell her that, for some reason you cannot fathom, you can’t fit into your favorite jeans from three years ago. Of course, you also tell her there is something mechanically wrong with your scale because it keeps insisting that you weigh forty pounds more than you think you weigh.

Back to the estranged members of the family like Uncle Bob; do you know what the difference is between the rest of the family and Bob? Bob has a distinctively weird, peaceful look on his face. Of course, to all the family members sitting over there in a giant hot tub of crap, this only reinforces their idea that Bob is nuts and really strange.

“What’s wrong with Bob that he won’t come sit in our hot tubs of crap? Look, everyone else is here? Why isn’t Bob in here? We’re family. We’re supposed to stick together no matter what? So here we are sticking together in this giant hot tub of crap but weird ol’ Bob is just standing out there smiling. What’s up with that? He’s just weird. He’s a loner. He’s estranged from the rest of the family.”

What kind of family would you have if you didn’t invite each other to sit in your tub of crap? What if not a single one of you issued an invitation to another family member to come sit in your hot tub of crap? What would that be like?

My guess would be that initially all the holidays would be really, really quiet. My guess is that your minutes of usage on your cell phone would plummet. I would also venture to say your mileage on your vehicle and your gas expense would drop significantly too. Why, you might even have time for a hobby or two all of a sudden, like basket weaving or studying the life of the fish in your aquarium.

Here is a scenario I am putting forth that would be an easy yet revealing and perhaps, eye-opening experiment. Next Thanksgiving I would like to see you declare the immediate space around your family dining room table as a ‘crap-free zone’.

No one would be allowed to bring any hot tub of crap to the table. (I don’t know where they would put it anyway.) No one would be allowed to invite anyone within that area to sit in their hot tub of crap. If you want to extend an invitation, you and the accepting party must leave the room and not return until you’re through swimming in each other’s crap.

Can you imagine the peace that would envelope the dining room? The silence would be deafening and yet so calming and comforting. Why, you’d actually hear the people you love eating and enjoying the abundant and tasty food laid out on the table. You would hear the soft clattering and tinkle of silverware and glasses and even the sound of munching and crunching intermingled with the occasional, “Man, this is good!” or “Who made this? It’s awesome!” And if anyone did start a conversation, it could only be about wonderful, uplifting things; no crap.

What a concept! A crap-free Thanksgiving where your cousin Fred couldn’t complain about spending the holidays without a girlfriend for the second year in a row. Your mother couldn’t say a word about how you don’t make the crust right on the apple pie. Ed couldn’t start talking about his neighbor down the street who is always fixing his rust bucket, oil-dripping car in the driveway and “dammit, it’s against HOA rules!” Why even Uncle Joe couldn’t complain about how his TV at home only gets two hundred and thirty four channels and yours gets five hundred and sixty two and “When are we gonna watch the game? ‘Cause I can’t get it at my house!”

Imagine the quiet. What would your family members have to say to each other if they would not be allowed to invite others to sit in their hot tub of crap?

My mother, and probably yours, used to say, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything.” What a concept. What if that was a rule in life? Can you imagine how quiet the world would become?

What would your family talk to you about if they couldn’t invite you to sit in their hot tub of crap? Just think about that for a moment. What would your mother talk about the next time she picks up the phone? What would your siblings talk about at the next family gathering? Why, if you’re not careful, even estranged ol’ Uncle Bob is liable to show up to participate in the peace.

My theory is that family does not have to consist of a whole bunch of tubs of crap for everyone to sit in. I’m not sure it’s a valid theory since human relationships seem to need that to thrive. Rather, I am offering choices.

You, as a family member, can make other choices much like Uncle Bob. I would like to think it is possible to have a quality relationship with your mother without getting on the phone and spending two hours a day complaining to each other and extending invitations to sit in each other’s crap.

I would dare to think that you can converse with your brother or sister and not get into an argument about the rest of the family or certain members you might not see eye to eye with. I would like to believe it is possible to get through an entire day without a single negative thought about anyone in your family, no matter what their actions or speech may invoke.


What if being a close family meant that only love, kindness and affection were present among family gatherings? What if only love and support was offered in times of trouble we must all face at one point or another in life; not criticism, derision and anger? What if your family is truly ‘close’ because there are no tubs of crap in the way?


Read A Thanksgiving Poem by Ethan Holmes

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About Ethan Holmes

Ethan Holmes currently resides in Northern Arizona and he is the author of seven published books; Earth's Blood, The Keystone, A Multi-Pack of Brain Flakes, Shorts and Other Laundry, Live Your Life In A Crap Free Zone, Water. and his new novella, The Town of Perfect. When he is not writing Ethan is also a professional freelance nature photographer.
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