Despite the dire warnings against talking politics at the Thanksgiving table, my neighborhood seems to have emerged from the holiday without any serious injuries.
But while I haven’t heard of any lurid arguments breaking out, that doesn’t mean there weren’t any shouting matches. It just means I wasn’t around to overhear them.
My family and I spent the holiday at my in-laws place in Pennsylvania. It was peaceful. And since we’ve been back home for more than a week and there’s been no word of holiday animosity turning up on the neighborhood grapevine, I can only assume that the carving knives were kept to their original purpose.
However, if all the stories in the media were to be believed, you would have been better off bolting the Thanksgiving door rather than face the prospect of dinner with extended family members. My own employer, NPR, published the results of a poll suggesting that most Americans, 58 percent, were dreading being dragged into a discussion of politics during Thanksgiving. Among those polled, 47 percent said President Trump was the main source of their anxiety, with Democrats less likely to want to talk about Trump with someone who views him differently.
You can find the NPR story here. It includes a link to the raw data upon which the poll’s conclusions are based.
But before you get too far into the weeds, Thanksgiving tension is old news around my neighborhood. Christmas is more on our minds now.
The season got underway in earnest over the weekend. My hometown’s Christmas tree was plugged in during the annual downtown lighting ceremony Friday night. And the Christmas parade stepped off on Saturday.
In preparation for the holiday festivities, city workers placed two giant nutcrackers in the town square across the street from the public library. They will likely remain there through the new year to greet drivers as they pass through the major intersection downtown. Also, wreaths hang from lamp posts and business owners have decorated their storefronts with garlands, big red bows and twinkling strings of holiday lights.
Back in the neighborhood, doorways and shrubs have been lit up, outdoor silver and gold ornaments have been placed with great care on trees and a colorful reindeer stands on the stoop of the house next door to mine. Frankly, I’m not sure that’s such a good idea. The neighborhood deer might take that as a sign of their acceptance and begin congregating over there.
Earlier in the week, I was out walking Big Dog Rodney when I came upon one of my neighbors on the roof of his house. He appeared to be thinking twice about coming down the ladder after hanging holiday lights from his gutters. He acknowledged as much and nervously allowed that middle-aged fat guys should probably not be scurrying around on rooftops. Being a middle-aged fat guy myself, I readily agreed and helpfully told him that I had my phone in my pocket and would be happy to stick around in case he lost his balance and needed someone to call an ambulance.
We shared a laugh, but it’s the Christmas season and looking out for the neighbors is the least I can do. The last thing we need around here is someone getting hurt after an injury-free Thanksgiving,