The Great Thanksgiving Fall by Lindsay Call

December 5, 2014 § 2 Comments

Another winning entry (and Thanksgiving memory) in Brevity‘s Holiday Smile contest:

Thanksgiving-Vintage-4A colder Thanksgiving—as cold as you can get in southern California—struck when I was eight or maybe ten. The wind howled through my grandparents’ backyard. My cousins, through some genetic miracle, were able to dismiss the frigid wind and the turkey-tiredness, and ran around the backyard, banshees in youthful exuberance. My brother must have been about five, and ever energetic to match the older boys, bopped along after them in his cutesy, useless Thanksgiving-themed overalls, excited to be included.

The rest of us, not intent on getting frostbite, gathered round the table, prepared to consume way too much pie and slip away into tryptophan-induced states of near-vegetation. My mother, poised to holler at the boys, was just to the door when we heard them rush past, running, laughing, and then—suddenly—a loud splash! and a little boy’s scream. We all whipped around, scrambling towards the window. Outside, a little boy clad in a fall-colored overalls is now making his way, drenched from head to toe, out of my grandparents’ Jacuzzi. He is grinning from ear to ear, that brother of mine, looking very much as if he wanted to fall in.

WHOOSH. Clang. The distinctive sound of the back door rings through the house as we see my mother approach him and march him inside. She’s not happy—he has ruined his trim new outfit. And he won’t stop beaming.

At Thanksgiving, we don’t remember any of the food disasters or the year when so-and-so didn’t show up. We don’t mention any of the cancers or sicknesses or new volumes of family drama. We remember—perhaps because we need to remember—that time when the most catastrophic holiday moment was a grinning little boy who “accidentally” went swimming in a Jacuzzi in the November rain.
Lindsay Call is a freelance writer based in Santa Barbara, California, and studies at Westmont College. She has spent the last few months living and studying in the United Kingdom.


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