This is Turkey Day. The day when family gathers to dine together and join in camaraderie that only a family can do. Stories of children and children’s children, tales of ancient members and tales that only members of a clan will know are spread like a tapestry of linage.
Other families will infiltrate the purity of the original family and additional cultures will combine. Even the turkey day meal may variety from the traditional.
Let me explain.
You have a family. I have a family. We all have a family. A mother and father are necessary to have a family. There may be others in the family. A family sleeps under one roof together. The family eats at the same table. The family has the same last name.
Then there are others in your family who are just a step away. Your mother had brothers and sisters in her family. Now they are part of your family. And her brothers and sisters’ children are also part of your family.
The same is for your father. His brothers become uncles and his sisters become aunts and their children become cousins. Then there are parents of parents who become grandparents. And this is your lawful family.
When you decide it is time to start your own family, you are about to expand your family with in-laws. They are not blood relatives, but seen as family under the governmental descriptions. They only show up for free food at Thanksgiving and ask for presents at Christmas. Be sure to clarify your will because your family by marriage will certainly show up then.
But there is another type of family. I call them the ‘adopted family’. An adopted family is one who has no relationship to you other than being friends with one of the members. There is no legal connection but they don’t mind you being one of the family.
I call these families “outlaws”.
Today I was invited to dine with an outlaw family. I’ve had a few families that I didn’t marry into, but was invited to join in “family” events without reservation. There may have been some reservations, but I joined in nevertheless.
These are families of different upbringing and different churches and even different schools. I became a ‘friend’ of one or more of the members of this outlaw band and just hung around until invited to participate in a family occasion. I’ve always tried to be polite and use whatever etiquette I’ve learned through the years with my lawful family so as not to interfere with the outlaw gatherings. An outsider invited in.
A comfortable communion with food and drink, pleasant conversation, and football on the big screen was the requirement of the invitation. I should have worn a nametag since I was a temporary family member and looked rather different.
It was an enjoyable afternoon with a pack of outlaws. I don’t think I said anything inappropriate or made any faux pas.
As I packed my pony and said “Farewell” I did feel the warmth of family, even thought they were not my own.