Entry Thirty-nine: Thanks.

[I'm taking a break from the other stories to bring you this holiday-themed chestnut in seven parts. Today: 5 of 7]

Next up was my younger brother. He is in possession of a big, giant brain so his Thanksgiving response is usually so obtuse that no one understands it. One year he spouted a rambling medical definition for his “thanks” that was greeted with complete silence by all in attendance. It wasn’t until after dinner when I asked him for a clarification that I found out he had just told a room full of beloved friends and family that he was thankful for being able to “poop.”

This year, he took a surprisingly different approach by placing his arm across my Grandmother’s shoulders and saying, “What she said.” He uttered it with no anger, no sarcasm and no malice in his heart. He just looked at Father with a large, sincere smile on his face. I was stunned. It was a brave line of attack and as with all such daring ventures, it bordered on stupid. He was confident even though he had to know it was a risk.

“Are you sure?” Father asked.

“Yes sir, I am,” my brother answered, his smile huge but still not showing any sign of being forced.

Father’s next words were simple but they held the potential to alter holiday tradition within the O’Neil household for generations to come. They resounded with such power that their mere declaration caused tiny fissures in the familial foundations on which we had long relied. He looked my brother in the eyes and, without blinking, said, “Okay. Next?”

All words and images ©2005/J. Colle

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