Taboo Topics & Thanksgiving Gatherings

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Big family, many dogs, lots of off-topic issues, you can be certain.

Big family, many dogs, lots of off-topic issues, you can be certain.

Do you have any off-limit topics in family gatherings?

Sure you do!

We all do! And when you have a big family (like I do), you know there are several key topics you just don’t discuss, unless you want to have a meltdown on a holiday.

I’ve been a witness to (although, not a participant in) a few Thanksgiving rumbles. I purposely stay out of hot button discussions to ensure my holiday visits never turn into ‘guilt trips.’ Also, I’m not a good fighter: I’m afraid I’ll say something really hurtful, and you can’t take words back once they are out. I don’t like to be uncomfortable around my family.

Yesterday, after everyone was sated post-holiday feast, I found this interesting article from The Onion . Of course, it is a joke, but I think there may be something to this. Check it out.

Family Powerpoint Pre-Thanksgiving Dinner. A worthwhile idea. Source: www.theonion.com

Family Powerpoint Pre-Thanksgiving Dinner. A worthwhile idea. Source: http://www.theonion.com

The taboo topics in our family center around politics, religion, and Ole Miss versus Mississippi State. Of course, you know my leanings, but it would not be gracious to gloat, especially since my MIL (one I love dearly) is an Ole Miss alum. Alas. Snicker.

Imagine what Emmett Wilson’s family Thanksgiving taboo topics list may have included (if they constructed such a list):

  • Cephas’ latest extramarital affair, including any of the names of the women, local or long distance.
  • Lula’s filing for divorce from Cephas (unusual back in the day)
  • Emmett’s latest drinking spree
  • Max’s most recent business failure
  • Dr. Wilson’s illness/heart trouble which forces his retirement

Politics would not have been off-topic, as all of the Wilson men were active in the Florida Democratic Party. But Lula’s family were staunch Republicans (her family was well respected in the community, too). I can imagine her having to endure the Wilson men putting down anyone who was a Republican at the dinner table with a tad bit of resignation.

And then, the wine would start to flow, and I’m sure the talk would become highly charged. Hopefully, vases weren’t often hurled and fistfights were kept to a minimum, but you know how it can be with large families.

I wonder how Emmett — and his family — handled the heated discussion? I sense that everyone was extremely decorous at the table, and either swallowed their resentment (and snappy comebacks) along with the dry corn bread dressing, only to let the bad feelings simmer for days or weeks at a time. I’m only speculating, of course, but from what I’ve learned in the research, it seems that Emmett and his family kept a lot of their true feelings to themselves until it was too late to repair damaged feelings and relationships.

Knowing this about Emmett’s family makes me appreciate being charitable to others whose opinion differs from my own; it makes me appreciate having healthy relationships with others, even if they are Ole Miss fans. 🙂

 

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