Hellish holiday memories are a gift that keep on giving. Susan L. Milhoan of Retail Alliance in Norfolk, Virginia quotes the ever-seasonal Mary Englebreit who suggests, "Families put the 'fun' in dysfunctional."
My children (now 18 and 20) still refer to the Thanksgiving of 2003 as the high water mark among holidays.
My youngest son needed to travel from Michigan (our home at the time) to Cleveland for a hockey tournament that began on Black Friday. I needed to visit an elderly relative in Pittsburgh. Sounded like a way to combine two trips into one...but nothing ever goes that smoothly.
We arrived in Pittsburgh on Thanksgiving Eve much later than planned. The next morning we went to the nursing home to visit my aging aunt who failed to recognize any of us. After a couple hours we were all anxious to leave and grab something to eat before heading to Cleveland. Nothing was open. NOTHING. No fast food places. NOTHING.
After about an hour of driving we found a Giant Eagle grocery store and thought we would buy sandwiches, or at least sandwich fixings. But as we walked in the door, the loudspeaker announced that the store was closing in five minutes. We grabbed what we could, which turned out to be cut carrots, pepperoni, chips and water, before being hustled out the door. We ate in the parking lot.
Arriving in Cleveland, we learned we had missed the opportunity to eat in the hotel restaurant, but we could order food at the bar. All they had was popcorn, nachos and pickles.
Every year since then my kids suggest we take Thanksgiving dinner out to the car and drive to some parking lot to enjoy it.