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Chapter One: Parade
Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday.
It has all of the gathering power of Christmas, but none of the pressure, which means you're more likely to spend it drunk. It's not as cash-intensive as Christmas. There's none of the skeeviness of Halloween; none of the guilt of Arbor Day. You're not as likely to sweat as you would on the Fourth of July—although, according to Emmett, that fact depends on how much you eat.
In many ways, Thanksgiving is the gateway to what I like to call The Holiday Season. Unless you count Sukkot, which I personally don't.
Every Thanksgiving is spent the same: I show up at my sister Rose's house, with two six-packs of Heineken. I don't cook, and no one expects much from me, so I bring the beer. It's my only job. By the time I arrive—which is usually around ten o'clock—everyone is already there. I sit and watch football with my dad. I sneak into the kitchen and sample the food before it's done. I get yelled at. I drink another beer. I endure playing tea party with my niece, because if I don't, she'll cry. I eat too much food. I drink more beer. I eat a piece of every dessert. More beer. Maybe a nap. Beer. More food. Football.
This year is different, though. I make the mistake of showing up early, and when I open my first beer, Rose immediately pulls it out of my hand.
"Hey!" I protest, reaching for it.
"It's not even nine in the morning," she scolds, taking a quick sip of her mimosa.
"It's Thanksgiving. Time doesn't exist today, and neither does my liver."
She ignores my entirely legitimate reason, and says, "You can't drink yet because I need you to take Emily to the parade downtown."
"Make Emmett take her," I say, just as he walks into the kitchen. He merely laughs, shaking his head.
"Hey, I tried," he offers, grabbing my beer, claiming it as his own. "She doesn't want to go with me. She wants her Uncle Eddie."
"I can't get anything done with her running around here, trying to stick her Barbies in the oven," Rose goes on to say.
I sigh. "Can't I just take her out back and watch her jump on the trampoline while drinking beer?" Rose gives me a look. "I'd be the one drinking the beer, not her."
"It's too cold outside to jump on the trampoline," she insists.
"Yet you want me to stand outside with her on the street," I deadpan.
"Buy hot chocolate," Emmett suggests.
Rose sighs dramatically, and my mouth snaps shut. She looks stressed out as fuck, and I don't really want to push her. Especially since she's in the process of making me a feast. "Edward. Emmy's getting into everything. She almost burned herself on the oven, and I can't do this right now," she says exasperatedly, stepping past me to shove a casserole dish into the oven. "My nerves are shot, and she loves you, Edward. She loves you; so you're going to take her to the parade... otherwise you get no dessert." I eye my beer in Emmett's hand. "And no beer."
I rub my temple. "I don't even know what you're talking about when you mention a parade. What parade?"
"Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade."
"Spoiler alert: we're in Seattle; not New York. Unless you're going to pay for our flights... and the DeLorean that we'll need to go back in time, because I'm pretty sure the parade is over."
"What are you talking about?"
"Back to the Future, baby," Emmett explains. "Roads? Where we're going, we don't need roads."
I crack the fuck up at his impression of Doc, and begin quoting Biff Tannen. "Why don't you make like a tree and get outta here?"
Rose doesn't look impressed. "Don't be a smartass. I'm not talking about the parade in New York. There's something going on downtown, and it's sponsored by Macy's."
Before I have a chance to talk myself out of this, Emily bursts into the kitchen, bundled up from head to toe.
"Uncle Edward!" she squeals, stumbling toward me and wrapping her arms around my legs. "I love you so much for taking me to the parade. You're my favorite uncle ever," she adds, laying it on a little thick.
"I'm your only uncle," I laugh, tugging the beanie down over her eyes.
She pulls it off, and looks up at me with a smile. I sigh in defeat, because I can't fucking say no.
And that's how, twenty minutes later, I find myself standing on Seventh and Pine with my niece, braving the cold weather and an annoyingly excited crowd.
So, I'm spending Thanksgiving alone this year. Really, don't feel sorry for me. I have homemade pumpkin pie (courtesy of Julie) and red wine—two things of which I'm thankful for. Oh, and you. I am thankful for you!
Anyway, this will be short and sweet. Happy Thanksgiving, and thanks for reading!
Kim looked over this for me because she's British and doesn't celebrate Thanksgiving. So, she was free.