**** The Kaiser’s edits to this post are in bold italics***
I’ve been wanting to blog about this for a long time. You know, long- as in I’ve only been blogging for 3 months now- long…but you get the idea. I stopped myself a couple of times because I was a little afraid of being randomly discovered by, lets just call them the Others.
The Others are the “other” half of my family. My husbands half. And its only half of his half. Thanksgiving makes me think of them more than any other holiday, because, well, they get a little nutty on Thanksgiving.
I need to give you some back ground before I really get going.
The Kaiser’s family thinks I’m ethnic. I’m a (or was) blonde, white, Polish Catholic girl from the burbs of Detroit. But, none the less, they think I’m ethnic. Its the Polish thing. But I’m no more Polish than any of the rest of you mutt Americans are Irish or German or whatever. And its the Catholic thing. Even though I’m no longer a practicing Catholic and have more issues with the church than I can count on one hand. I’m Catholic.
Well, I found out quickly that they don’t grow many Catholics (or African Americans for that matter) in the hills of West Virginia. I learned not to call the Kaiser’s church stuff “mass” because I got the stink eye. There is also this whole thing about “supper” and “dinner” and how they are not the same. And “hollers” and “fixin’s”–you get the idea. And I also learned that we were entering into a “mixed” marriage. Hellooooo waaay back machine. And that was only the beginning.
Some of the Kaiser’s relatives did not attend our wedding. There would be alcohol and dancing. Some of those that were nice enough to make the trip excused themselves after dinner. Baby Jesus hates dancing. But he really, really hates drunken break dancing and fish swallowing (I could do an entire post on the wedding, but I’ll stick to family right now) and my Polish Catholic Polka, beer drinking family. Kevin Bacon did not have it this hard with John Lithgow. BUT despite my grandfather once yelling “TAX ALL THE CHURCHES!” infront of the Others, everyone played nice and it was a fun time.
Anyway. The first Thanksgiving after we were married (which would have made it Thanksgiving 4 years ago or so) the newlyweds traveled to West Virginia. I kept asking questions about what we’d eat and where it would be and who would be there and what I could do. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.
“Wait. Thanksgiving isn’t at someone’s house?”
“I don’t understand. So its at a hall?”
“Sort of.”
“So its at a separate room of a church?”
“Sort of. You’ll see.”
After driving through what can only be called NOTHING for about an hour, we turned a few corners and there was this building. In the middle of NOTHING. Apparently people lived nearby. But I really don’t remember any houses.
The place was decorated with everything you would imagine. Crepe paper turkeys on the table. Streamers. Leaves. Pumpkins. Etc. There was a buffet table of food. And about, oh 40-60 friends and relatives. Mostly relatives. I think.
Now, in my family, Thanksgiving involves beer, turkey, and football. For the Others, it involves a whole lot of praying in a circle. And many, many recitals by some very talented kids and their violins (violins? VIOLINS? They’re called “fiddles”. Sheesh) and stuff. All songs about baby Jesus. And then more circle praying. And then more songs about Jesus. And then more circle praying. And then some separate circle praying while holding hands. And then more Jesus songs. I’ve never heard so many renditions of 3-year-olds singing Jesus Loves Me. All of this would have been much more amusing and a lot less uncomfortable if I had a drink. Or three. But unless we smuggle a flask…this is as dry as it comes.
Oh, yeah there were also some very specific prayers about being thankful for those who have come from “far away” and how they will hopefully “find Jesus in their hearts” someday soon. Newlyweds. Were looking at you.
This was not Thanksgiving. This was a tent revival. In rural West Virginia. And my blonde, feminist, liberal, Los Angeles Ass was smack dab in the middle.
Fast forward to today. And I can’t help but think we can’t go to that Thanksgiving. With our kids. Ever. Its his side of the family’s big reunion every year (No it’s not, that’s the 4th of July. Doy). BUT, even the Kaiser’s mother has said its become more of a revival than a Thanksgiving. And she’s not real comfortable there.
I’m picturing Count Waffles wanting to join the rest of the kids. But right now he sings “Buffalo Bob Only Ate Baked Beans.” We don’t say grace. So the whole circle praying thing would be nothing more than a big Duck Duck Goose game. And I have no doubt in my mind he’d say “OH MY GOD” more than once. He said it last night putting toys away (thank you Mom).
My military chaplain brother-in-law, his wife, and their two kids fit right in. Their halo’s shine in the WV sun. They’ll be up there belting out Jesus Loves Me with the rest of them.
My kids will stick out. And I mean STICK OUT. Not the day to put Princess Peanut in her “Women belong in the House…and the Senate” t-shirt. Or to pass on the Count’s “anarchy in the pre-k” onesie to whatever relative is having her 5th kid soon.
I know I’m horrible for thinking this…but I don’t really want my kids to have to go there. And stick out. I’d rather we just visited this side at a different time of year. Or should we just go one year and cross our fingers the Count doesn’t drop an F bomb during circle prayer #3?
I’m all for exposing them to different things…but I think they’ll get enough of that on any given trip to West Virginia.
Thanksgiving and the Others is just really extreme.


  1. My god, I guess I am lucky, my in-laws are pretty normal. I would say bring your kids there when they are old enough to appreciate the humor and laugh about it with you when you return home 🙂 I volunteer to come with you, I think they would love my ex-Catholic, current athiest, ultra liberal, feminist, euro-american self 🙂 But you have to promice me that the count drops the F bomb. That would be classic!!!

    BTW, where do you get the shirt – “Women belong in the House…and the Senate”???

  2. The NOW store online used to have the shirt!

  3. Hee, hee. This is hilarious. Really. I mean I just have to worry that the kiddo behaves–if I had to remember/endure all THAT stuff during a meal WITHOUT a drink, um, well, it would take some self-control to not burst into a fit of hysterics.

    If you go– Good luck, and make damn sure you blog about it! 🙂

  4. Years of functions like this and many arguements with my brother-in-law, including a now infamous one that drove him to tears, and I just smile and be polite at these things. Everyone once in a while my smart ass mouth slips…but I’ve learned to just tune it all out. The Kaiser laughs at me, because it was like I went through his whole angst filled teenage years our first few years of marriage. I wanted to aruge. I wanted to yell at all of them, etc. Then I kinda mellowed. And its great fun to sit in the back and be snarky.

  5. Bush shall not be impeached

  6. Ummm..Hiya Black.

    Shall not—maybe. SHOULD, definitely.

    I’d rather my President lie to me about Blow Jobs than war. But hey, that’s just me.

    Wait…wasn’t this post about my crazy in-laws?

  7. Oh, man… there is no way I could deal with that scene unless I did some bong hits on the way to the big tent 😉 Then it would be funny as hell (no pun intended).

    Could you just imagine what those WV’ers would think of me, if they think you’re out there? LOL..

    Polish princess, eh? Did you also do the dollar dance at your wedding? (I did – we cleaned up on that, I tell ya!) MT makes the best homemade pierogies, we go to the Hamtramck Fest every Labor Day to drink beer, down jello shots and eat all that awesome grub; and yeah I used to be able to polka to “Who stole the kishka (sp)?” And I’m not even Polish.. just by osmosis 😉

    Polacks know how to PAR-TAY!!! No bout a doubt it!

    Happy Turkey Day, Homegirl.. I love ya 🙂

  8. Oh yeah, and how could I forget Paczki Day??? 1,000 calorie donuts, gotta LOVE ’em!


  9. Yeah, the Kaiser is now Polish by osmosis too. I really can’t deny the partying thing. Its true.

    I might try and make my own Paczki’s this year. The Kaiser has only had a California jelly donut. Which totally does not count.

    Oh…and yes, bong hits would be highly benificial. If only. If onnnnnlllllly. Then maybe I could stomach the wild turkey shot, killed, and cooked that day.

  10. Oh…I drew the line at the dollar dance. I have no idea what my reasons were at the time. That’s was stupid. We totally should have done the dollar dance.

    There was a polka at the end of the night that I actually missed…but apparently my entire family was drunk enough to get out there and skip. I’m sure the West Virginians looked on in awe.

  11. LOLOL.. see now that’s just wrong. I encountered such things growing up and it scared the daylights out of me. Not in my family but with friends. I am now a Christian and we ARE NOTHING like that. I didn’t realize how not normal the “Others” as you call them are. I thought there was something wrong with ME. I kick back a few cosmos whenever I’m on the town… which well isn’t often anymore. Cheers and just embrace who YOU are and do what’s best for your kiddos. LOL…. I’m laughing out loud at my memories. My husband will get a kick out of your story too.

  12. Yeah KDubs. I have some friends and family that are Christian and supercool. But some of my relatives are straight out of Footloose! The women don’t wear pants, etc.

  13. I can totally relate to you and the Outlaws (your term is others). If I get one more cross or angel–I’m Jewish–but I digress. Let’s just say I can’t blog as much on it as you got to. And yours was very very funny.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  14. Oh Running….I got a Bible for my wedding present. And we had a HUMANIST wedding. My son also has a baby quilt that says something to the effect of “jesus loves you and so do we, and we’ll tell you all about him if you’re parents don’t.”

  15. I hope your son never gets cornered at a family gathering and asked to renounce his sin and accept the Lord. Like they did to me. Which is why I don’t go see parts of the family for Christmas 😉

  16. Ug! I would hope that won’t happen…because I’ve made it very clear that they can do whatever to me…but my kids are off limits. They try it and not only will we bolt, but their kids will get Pro-Choice, feminism, and liberal stuff in the mail. And maybe some satan stuff…just for fun.

  17. They don’t wear pants? Uh well… I guess my mini skirts would call for an alter call.

  18. Oh….my….god….

    That’s truly frightening….

    I thought MY religious upbringing was bad….the “others” take the cake….or, do they have problems w/ cake, too?

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