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They Said Host Thanksgiving, What Could Go Wrong

by Jason Ray Morton 4 days ago in Embarrassment / Family / Dating
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My first holiday after reentering the dating pool.

Image by pictureday from Pixabay

Thanksgiving is a time for family and friends. It's supposed to be a time of remembering the things you have to be thankful for and the things that are truly important. Yet, not all Thanksgivings are what they're supposed to be, and the introduction of new influences can sometimes knock a decent Thanksgiving from being memorable, right into the record books.

This was the case with my Thanksgiving in 2011. It was one for the record books if there's a record book for awkwardly dramatic Thanksgivings. Something about Thanksgiving that year should have told me to skip the holiday and work overtime.

At the time, my son was only 19 and still living at home. So we were going to have Thanksgiving at my place. I took Wednesday and Thursday off to have the house ready and do all the cooking. It had been a long year and the long weekend break didn't sound bad either.

One of the things that I needed to do that Thanksgiving was to introduce my son to my new girlfriend. After a three-month time period, I felt somewhat comfortable with the idea of him getting to meet her, and she him. She was nice enough and even offered to help me cook dinner.

I went out on Wednesday and got a 20-pound turkey. I had all the extras, including a pumpkin pie. I got started prepping things on Wednesday, just like my mom would if she were alive, and by the end of the night was certain that I could pull everything together smoothly on Thanksgiving Day.

By Venti Views on Unsplash

It was noon when my son got home. He'd been at his girlfriend's all night and the two of them showed up together. Nice enough girl that by now he should have married her, but I digress.

My son and I started talking about wrestling that week, our favorite past-time. My brother showed up and joined us, as we hung out in the kitchen while I worked on prepping things to go in the oven. Then came the elephant in the room.

He asked about the new girlfriend, wondering when she was going to get there. I told him she'd be a couple of hours as she had to work the night before and was going to sleep until one.

"Great," he told me.

"So, it's been three months, what's she like?"

It was a fair question. I hadn't really told him much, other than that I was dating a girl named Nicky. So we talked about Nicky and how she and I met. We'd met through a work event. She was going to be an intern at the Sheriff's Office, a program that comes usually toward the end of a bachelor's, or sometimes an associate in Law Enforcement.

"How old is she?" he asked.

I remember feeling kind of silly. Three months and I didn't know for sure. I put her at about 30, based on how she acted, the people we had in common, and how she looked.

"Thirty, I think," I answered.

Both my son and brother snickered. My son told me that if I ever wanted to survive in the dating pool in the 21st century I needed to learn to pay attention to details like birthdays. Yes, he was right. And, I was about to learn how true that statement was.

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Over the next forty-five minutes, a few more people showed up. My son had some lifelong friends that I'd come to know well and a few of them were invited. A cousin or two. You get the gist.

What happened next was enough to shatter my nerves. Nicky finally showed up.

When Nicky got there and I invited her in, my son and his friends all got silent. I was a perennial bachelor after my divorce. Mostly, because I'd seen my son hurt and didn't want to do so again.

I made introductions and things seemed all the more awkward. I didn't know why, surely they'd all met people before. Realistically, she was out of my league, and when she showed up in the tight black skirt, blue sweater, and thigh-high boots, I assumed the guys that were there were just stunned.

Nicky and I went into the kitchen and I finished up dinner while we had a glass of wine. Once the turkey was done I brought it out and we all sat down to eat.

By Sebastian Coman Photography on Unsplash

We all sat around, eating, and talking amongst ourselves when my son turned things into an awkward event that ranks right up there with meeting Trish Stratus and getting tongue-tied. Yes, that happened, but that's a different story.

Nicky seemed to hit it off with the girls pretty well. My son, though, couldn't let well enough alone.

"So, Nicky, it's nice to finally get a chance to meet you," said my son. "Three months with my dad, things must be serious."

I hadn't really considered where things were. Maybe I should have. But after a nearly six-year span of being single and not dating, I was just enjoying having someone to hang out with, go on dates, and do things with.

"Well, I sort of hope so," she said, turning to me for reassurance.

There I was, totally on the spot, and having to come up with the right answer. Sure, she was gorgeous, funny, intelligent, and tons of fun to be with, but serious? Was it?

"We're kind of serious," I answered, playing it safe.

By 愚木混株 cdd20 on Unsplash

My son looked at me, a smile on his face, unknowingly about to start the downfall of my day. Working a 60-hour week, being an active father figure, taking care of a home, and trying to stay in shape, hadn't left me much free time. Factor in dating, especially a younger, more energetic, and certainly passionate woman, and I had missed a few things along the way.

At least he tried, I think.

"Well, if you can tie my old man down again you're a hell of a girl."

"Thank you, Christian," she replied. "That means a lot."

His girlfriend asked me if I could see myself getting married again. All I could really say is that anything was possible.

By Jamie Haughton on Unsplash

"Just one thing, dad."

"What's that?"

That's when he announced the biggest hurdle to a relationship a guy in his forties could have. Sure, it all sounds good, dating a younger woman, but there's got to be limits.

"If you two get married," he announced, "I'm not calling her mom."

"At your age, I didn't figure you would." Why would he? He's 19 going on 20. Now is why I hate math.

"No, I mean I'm not calling her mom because...she's six months younger than me."

I sat there as family and friends began to figure out that I hadn't gotten to know my new girlfriend as well as I should have. In the three months that I had been dating Nicky, I had never had a reason to think she was anything but a thirty-ish year old that was a late bloomer. So many people had been laid off from local industry as it died that the average age of college students was 29.

"You're're only 18!"

To my son and his friends, I was a hero. To the rest of the world, I doubt hero is a good term. This made for the most awkward Thanksgiving since the last one, and that was because my father had died that year.

By Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

It wasn't that day, but we did break up around the first of the year. The truth was, as much fun as she was, she got along better with my son's friends than she did mine. The department holiday party was the big test. When a mid-forties aged command officer shows up with an 18-year-old, well there's no bigger gossip whores than cops and corrections staff.

I can laugh at that Thanksgiving now. That day, I remember watching the rest of dinner unfold, and people hanging out, and it was like some slow-motion moment of realization that plays in a movie. It was a Thanksgiving to remember.


About the author

Jason Ray Morton

I have always enjoyed writing and exploring new ideas, new beliefs, and the dreams that rattle around inside my head. I have enjoyed the current state of science, human progress, fantasy and existence and write about them when I can.

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