I like to go with the flow, as my parents like to say.
And I'm usually pleasantly surprised and somewhat shocked whenever anyone else manages to come up with a plan and stick to it, much less get other people involved.
So when one of my cousins started sending emails around after Thanksgiving of 2012 about how we should all go up to Seattle for Thanksgiving of 2013, spend time with our family up there and then go to the burial site of my Aunt Barbara who had died 20 years earlier, I thought, "That would be amazing... if we ever manage to do it!" Then I went back to my lounging exercises.
But lo and behold, somehow, some way, my family made it up to Seattle for Thanksgiving. And just like I suspected it would be, it was amazing!
May I present to you my family:
Our trip was dubbed the "Tanory Takeover." And takeover we did! We were like locusts, eating and playing cards our way through downtown Seattle.
Tanory's came from everywhere: Louisiana, Texas, Minnesota, New York, Virginia, DC, California, Arizona and even from within Washington state itself. Us Tanory's like the outer states, in case you couldn't tell. And as we each arrived in Seattle, our unibrows started to sync up and merge into one giant brow.
Everyone arrived in Seattle on different days and at different times, and communication was spotty since most people didn't have access to their phones while they were on a plane. So my cousin set up a shared mobile photo stream, and it immediately became the de facto way that we kept tabs on each other throughout the week. As people made it to Seattle, their picture made it to the photo stream. Some of my cousins live in Seattle, and they made sure to be at the airport for the arrival of every other member of the family. What a great way to land! Plus it was exciting to see the photo stream as people landed.
This was my third trip to Seattle. There's a ton of stuff to do there, like going to the Space Needle, hitting up Pike Place Market, and wearing flannel and playing grunge music. I had done a lot of that before, but of course we had to do it again - especially because we had the kids with us. So one night we all took a shuttle downtime to see the Space Needle.
Betty used to not be afraid of heights, but ever since we looked over the edge from the top of the Empire State Building in New York, she hasn't liked heights. She braved the outer edge of the Space Needle for a few minutes, then we moved on inside.
When we got out of the Space Needle, we met out on the street where a Peruvian flute band was playing. The kids danced around and played while I wondered if South Park was right in saying that the rise in Peruvian flute bands was warding off the Furry Death by giant guinea pigs.
There's no doubt that the Space Needle, Experience Music Project and Pike's Place are impressive. But honestly, every time I go to Seattle I'm amazed at how clean it is. Actually, any time I travel outside of Louisiana I'm shocked at how clean it is. Maybe that's more of an indictment of how filthy Louisiana is than how clean other places are, but Seattle is actually one of the cleanest places I've ever been. It's so clean, in fact, that I took a picture of the only three pieces of trash that I found on the ground the entire time I was there.
I'd joking say, "For shame, Seattle!" if I didn't think someone from Louisiana probably threw that stuff on the ground.
As I said before, I'm a procrastinator - but luckily my cousins are not, and they set everything up for the entire family. We had half a hotel to ourselves. The continental breakfast had no idea what was about to hit it. We even had our own banquet room booked for the entire week - and the hotel staff made sure that we spent a lot of time in that room so that we wouldn't scare off the other customers!
Even though it was Thanksgiving, the banquet room at the hotel was decked out in a Christmas theme, complete with Christmas tree and nutcrackers. Peter befriended one of them. It's amazing what a life-size nutcracker can destroy with its giant chompers!
We didn't spend much time in our rooms, but the time we did spend there was made more pleasant by the presence of a pink sticky pig thing. In the morning before we'd leave our room for the day, we'd throw the pig up in the air and make it stick on the ceiling, and then we'd see if Room Service would take it down while we were gone. (They didn't.)
Now you may remember that the Monday after Thanksgiving was when the Saints traveled up to Seattle to play NFL Monday Night football. So us Louisianians talked a big talk to our Seattlite family, but ultimately Seattle won not just the game but also the hearts and minds of our Louisiana children. My cousin gave some of the kids a Richard Sherman doll, and it was instantly the greatest gift anyone had ever given to the kids. The Richard Sherman doll still occasionally shows up on the photo stream.
We had a great Thanksgiving dinner. We could have been eating anything, it wouldn't have mattered - just being with my family made it wonderful. A few people were missing - my uncle Rex and cousins Brad, Matt and John, to name a few. And of course we were missing our Aunt Barbara, who had passed away 20 years earlier. One part of the banquet hall had a special dedication to her, and we also had pictures of her at each of our tables.
My Aunt Barbara was the choreographer for both Roslyn Sumners and Tonya Harding, and we used to watch for her during the ice skating competitions during the Winter Olympics. But my fondest memory of her is at my Papa Duke and Gaga's house, where I laid my head on her lap and she ruffled my hair for a while. She said she used to do that to her kids. It's funny how something so small could have such a big impact, but that's how I've always thought about her. Now when I think about her, I'll think of her face at every table at our Thanksgiving feast, with smiling faces surrounding her.
So I've procrastinated enough. It's finally time to say Happy Thanksgiving. I think you can be thankful for what you have regardless of what time of year it is. I've really loved looking at all the pictures from our Seattle trip, and it really does make me thankful for a wonderful family. Thank you to everyone who made the trip up to Seattle and for my cousins for making this event happen - that was truly a special moment, worthy of a much better and timelier blog.