Chitlins and White Sheep Thanksgiving

As very white transracial adoptive parents we feel encouraged to expose our daughter to elements of half of her culture. Fortunately we have some Black neighbors (their preference of term, not "African-American") who have a daughter close to our daughter's age. Through some neighborly generosity we have gotten to know each other. The wives act like long lost sisters.

It was that friendship that led "Auntie" to invite us for Thanksgiving with her family.

Our own families had not made any centralized big plan this year. It is difficult with the passing of the grandmothers who used to bring us all together.

In Auntie's house we had her three children plus mother, father, sister and nephew; also her husband's father, mother, three aunts, two uncles, as well as other assorted "cousins." At least one of my readers will be cracking up thinking of this "redneck neocon" as the only white guy in the house. Among our guests were a broad range from clinical therapist to "don't work and we don't know how he gets by." There was at least one thug, complete with a grille*.

*>For those unaware, a grill is not for cooking: it is metallic trim intentionally added to teeth for decoration, just query google for more information

There was a huge spread of food: Turkey and dressing with homemade giblet gravy, two sweet potato casseroles, squash casserole, bean casserole, collard greens, a baked ham and the ubiquitous can-shaped cranberries beside some home-made looking cranberry sauce. There were at least 7 different desserts; only one was store-bought (and wasn't touched). Two trips got you once through everything because the plates were only 14" across. Unfortunately they also had chitlins. Not the fried kind--boiled in a pot. Chitlins are pig intestines. These smelled like a pot of dirty sweat socks stewing with excrement. Of course, anything you have to clean the previous owner's, um, "leftovers" out of cannot possibly smell good.

Yes I have eaten chitlins prior to this event. No I do not like them. Yes they likely taste better FRIED than BOILED!

Now, just because I don't like them and they stink should not let me begrudge the Auntie's husband from his enjoyment of them. Just as I love a well-made sweet-potato casserole (preferably with the caramelized topping but marshmallows are acceptable) and not everybody likes them so he should be able to enjoy his too. Just my preference does not stink up the whole house like a dirty locker room full of post-bean-eating men!

It smelled worse than the Detroit Lions' playing!

To wrap it up, we shared stories. We thanked God for our families and blessings. We laughed and stuffed ourselves. We were thankful that the Titans are not playing as badly as the Lions.

When Auntie's husband gave a ride home to his family they mentioned "those white people were cool." I must say their family was pretty cool too. We had spent the previous two years with friends of my mother and this house was much more warm and friendly than a bunch of single baby-boomers.

Now I have been invited to their family reunion in Disney World. I'm not sure what to make of it. Maybe Auntie's husband said it best: "Yeah, they are the White Sheep of the Family."