Last year at Thanksgiving we could barely get Pat out of bed; she was feeling the kind of blue that makes you lie down and wait for it all to be over--and at her age, it sometimes seemed that the wait may not be long.
This year, she was the life of the party unless the Phoenix Suns were playing; don't bother her when the Suns are playing. She was in the pool, pruning the bushes at the Biltmore, descending the water slide and cheering from the court-side seats that Cousin Jimmy procured. That's what a move to California will do--not to mention the side-benefits of a road-trip with cousin Joey.
(Side note: on Pete's fiftieth birthday earlier this year, Pat--his mother--was introduced to Amanda, who was my date to the gala outside San Francisco. Pat turned to Amanda and said, "I know I only just met you, but I have to tell you that last night I had an erotic dream involving a three-way with Amare Stoudemire and Steve Nash. I haven't had sex in thirty years; it was great.")
We were legion this year, four generations of Mervises (or is it "Mervi"?). Only three cousins couldn't make it and they all had good excuses and were missed. So were Allison and Elizabeth, out there in Florida eating a Thanksgiving Alligator or whatever it is they snack on on the third Thursday of November.
This year, I decided to make a holiday of it and booked a room at the Biltmore spa and resort. I figured it was the best way to get home safe after spending the evening with the cousins at the fire pit. Joe bunked with me and we successfully kept our location secret from Chris for over half the trip. If Amsterdam taught me anything, it's that what Chris doesn't know can't wake you in the middle of the night--just ask Adam. Of course, I hadn't counted on the fact that we're all getting older and last year's definition of fun may not apply now that he's all married and stuff. Rumors swirled anyway when cousin Ellen heard early-morning party noise in the hall Saturday night, but it wasn't us, Ell; we were sleeping.
The week was full to overflowing, what with the traditional Tuesday dinner at Cousin Bob's and the Wednesday/Thursday combo at Cousin Jimmy's and this year the Friday birthday dinner was held at cousin Maude's rental pad in an unsuspecting northern neighborhood of Phoenix. Soon-To-Be-Cousin David made a speech after we'd all eaten turkey and announced his plans to take on a family merger with my sister; look for the wedding bells the summer after next. And Alan and Adrienne brought the gang along, which meant we got to keep cousin Jory out late and throw her kids around just like the old cousins used to do to us out on Honey Lake.
At the end of it all, Joey drove me to the airport, so I could sit at Sky Harbor and wait for the weather to clear at JFK. As we drove down 51, Joey summed it up by saying (and I'm embellishing because this year I was writing some of Joe's material), "I may be weird cousin Joey, but it's great to turn around and face that many people who love you despite and because of it all."