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Thursday, November 28, 2013

"The Communist is Here!"

Little remains of the celebratory impulse I once held for Thanksgiving.

Now that all of my brothers and sisters are dead I don't feel the urge to celebrate like my family did at my late sister's house in Albany many years ago.

Back then Thanksgiving represented an opportunity to annihilate a sibling's political ideology as quickly as possible before football started on TV.

It was a good game without rules, unplanned but expected, always short-lived.

I had a brother who once called me a "communist," which made me angry because it was untrue. Thenceforth, knowing this, my brother would make an announcement when I arrived at the gatherings: "Look, the communist is here!"

This made other family members smile appreciatively and occasionally laugh outright, especially those whom I had previously wounded in battle.

"I'm not a communist," I protested.  My brother laughed, never relaxing his indictment.

O how he hated dissent...

I had defenders on occasion.  A wise niece or nephew might say, "No, Uncle Dooley is a socialist, aren't you Uncle Dooley?"

"Same thing," my brother would say before I could formulate a response.

During such times it was good to have football on TV, a family timeout--or equalizer.

Thanksgiving isn't what it used to be for me that is for sure, and you cannot reclaim what once was, which is perhaps a good thing.


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