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Column: ‘Gracias a Dios’ suits most Thanksgiving gatherings

November 20, 2018

Thank you! Goodbye!

My friend Robert used to say that, when he was a kid, he hear his mom say, “Gracias a Dios,” and thought she was saying “Gracias! Adiós!”

It was a funny story when he first told it, one of those misheard phrases that you figure out hours after you hear it. Thing is, if you think about it long enough, it makes sense.

Thanksgiving is a particularly good example of the old “Thank You! Goodbye!” because, in many cases, that’s exactly how the holiday dinner works out.

First, cumplimos with the “Thank You” part.

We gather together to give thanks. Well, actually, we gather together to eat. But before we actually start eating, most of us give thanks. Sometimes it’s in the form of a prayer; sometimes it’s in the form of a moment of silence; sometimes it’s in the form of a big hug and a kiss for whomever is doing the cooking. We say thank you and we mean it, probably because we’re supposed to be especially thankful today.

But then there’s the “Goodbye,” also known as the “Ya comimos, ya nos fuimos.”

After we’ve eaten, we start thinking about how soon we can get away without feeling like a malagradecido.

So you compromise. What if, instead of going to bed, we nap on the couch or in a guest bedroom? Would anybody notice if you doze off in the side chair? ¿No se puede? Well, then what about taking a power nap in the car?

Maybe some of us want to make a quick exit because of Black Friday, only it’s too embarrassing to admit that you really believe you’re going to make it to the store in time to get the $50 big screen, or the $3 designer sweatband. You don’t really want to give it to anybody, either— you want it for yourself.

Maybe you just ate too much and you want to go unbutton your pants somewhere far, far away. You want to change into the big shirt and stretchy shorts. You want to lie down and sleep off all that turkey.

Or maybe you’re the host. You’ve done your time. You made the turkey — but before that you mopped, cleaned the bathroom, ran the vacuum, fought a viejita at HEB for the last Four Seasons pie and went to three Walmarts in search of the cranberry-flavored Sprite. You desperately want everyone to go home — pero se te hace muy gacho.

It makes sense. Truth be told, if the meal was big and festive, everybody is ready to go to their corners once the dishes are washed. That’s OK — it’s not as if we aren’t going to do it all again in a few weeks — y esa vez, con tamales.

Gracias a Dios.

mariaanglinwrites@gmail.com

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