Monday, November 22, 2010

Annual Torture Day

Ya’ll know my family by now. And the fact that we have something called Annual Torture Day (that was so dubbed by Mom) pretty much says it all. It also shouldn’t surprise you.

Mom is not particularly stringent about family gatherings. With so many of us, it’s hard to be. Most of the time the attitude is, “Come if you can, if not, there’s more for us.” And we make an effort, but sometimes it just doesn’t work. But this one day of the year, Mom wants everybody present. We usually even have a few extras.

ATD usually falls somewhere between Thanksgiving and Christmas, usually by mid-December. This year we had to move it up to the Sunday before Thanksgiving. And we were actually minus two. NLB was working at the Air Force Base (because, surprisingly, Mom doesn’t have authority over the Air Force) and Husband was working at the Blessing Basket services at church (because Mom doesn’t have authority over God, either). We still managed to have enough “togetherness” to last us at least until Thursday, when we’ll all be together for Thanksgiving. Twice in one week is pretty strange for us.

So, what does Annual Torture Day consist of? I’m glad you asked.

We eat. We can’t be together without eating. This time, the menu was created with Fidget in mind since she had just come home from military school and wanted some home-cooked food. (Translation: something fried.) So Mom made fried venison (our favorite way to eat it…it balances out how “healthy” it’s supposed to be), green beans, rice & gravy…you know, the good stuff.



We also managed to eat the rest of the afternoon. We’re grazers like that.


We watch National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. It’s a tradition – one of the few we have. I don’t know why. We could act it out scene by scene with no scripts or prompting. In fact, most of the movie is quoted as we watch it. 


We get new ornaments. Every year, Mom buys everyone a new Christmas ornament for their tree. She chooses each individually with the person’s personality and interests in mind. It’s quite a job when there are 7 kids, 3 sons-in-law, and 2 grandkids. Also usually a boyfriend and/or girlfriend.



There also may or may not be a Christmas Vacation-related gift involved. This year, Squirt won a Cousin Eddie hat.


We talk. We laugh. We fuss. We play outside.




We make fun of each other. Sometimes we play games – Shanghai Rummy or Dominoes. In which someone might lose an appendage if they’re not careful. (We do not mess around.) And now that there are nephews, we play with blocks, Little People, and Duplos. Also, there are sword/fly swat fights.


Hopefully the little guys nap and Dad usually finds a way to nap in his recliner, though how he manages that with the noise level is beyond me.

We eat again. Something a bit simpler, this time it was Taco Soup.

This time there was some excitement at the neighbor’s that we all had to jump in the middle of. (More on that tomorrow.)

We leave stuffed, tired, and full-up on family togetherness for a little while. But it’s good. And it’s usually not actual torture, just simulated torture.

So what about you? Does your family have an Annual Torture Day?

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  1. Sounds like fun! Where do you get your venison! Hunter in your family I guess?

    We sort of have an ATD -- but it's Christmas Eve. Most of us in my Mom's family (six kids + spouses, ~20 grandkids, ~8 great-grandkids gather at my grandparents house for Christmas caroling, chatting and most importantly eating. We always have a soup "contest" where everyone make their favorite and we really vote :-)

    Happy Thanksgiving to you!!

  2. Lauren, there are several hunters in our family, and we were raised on all sorts of wild game. The rule is, if you hunt it (and manage to kill it), you eat it.

    Now that I'm buying my own groceries, I appreciate how much money that must've saved on our grocery bill!

    The soup contest sounds like lots of fun!

  3. I am thankful for the willingness of my children and their spouses to gather for ATD. It is SOOO much fun to have all the personalities here for the day. Who am I that the Lord has bestowed this rich and bountiful blessing?

  4. With meat being so expensive I'm sure that does save a lot!!

    Fun meeting you today! I feel like a total weirdy creeper now, ha! And sorry I called you Superchikk!! I just blanked on your real name :p I'm also lubsyb on twitter btw. Caedmon is a cutie. Congrats on #2!