The holidays away from your family can be a little rough. I know because I’ve had many of them. I’m usually lucky enough to go home for Christmas, but there have been quite a few exceptions. It always helps to have someone to share the holidays with even if they aren’t your family. Yesterday was the second year that Scott and I spent Thanksgiving together.
Last year, the two of us and our young friend, Jin, and his girlfriend, went to celebrate the day by eating seemingly every kind of meat except for turkey. The reason for that: the Koreanized Brazilian barbeque restaurant we went to. It started off with a large, effeminate, bald man explaining the proper protocol at a Brazilian barbeque and ended with me having eaten only one plate of food and everyone at our table agreeing that we would not be coming back.
This year, our little group was chopped down to just me and Scott.
“How about a scenic drive through the fantastic, fall foliage in Connecticut or Vermont?” I suggested as we tried to figure out what we’d be doing this year.
“That would be nice except that all of the trees shed their leaves about a month ago,” he said.
We both agreed that a quick tour through Connecticut to sample the burgers and pizza would be ideal. Someone forgot to remind Connecticut to keep their burger and pizza joints open for us. When we got to whichever town Yale University is in, there were about eight people in the entire town. Unfortunately for us, none of them was interested in opening a pizza or burger shop on a day which idolizes the turkey.
We decided to continue on up to a casino. What is better than a casino buffet on Thanksgiving and the chance to leave with a pocket full of ATM receipts or maybe even some cash?
It was strangely peaceful driving up there and back. The road stretched out in front of us like a long, fancy, welcome mat. It kind of made me want to just keep going until the sun ran out and find out where our tires would end up. Scott and I mused about how many more times we’d be spending Thanksgiving days like this.
“Could be the last year, man,” he said. We were both silent for a moment; thinking about what might be next year and whom we might be spending the day with
The thing about a casino on a major public holiday is that it looks like Chinatown. There are a few of the other nationalities sprinkled throughout the crowd. However, the majority of a casino crowd on a holiday is always Chinese. Mohegan Sun was no exception.
“Excuse me. Can you tell us where Seasons Buffet is?” I asked a Chinese casino worker.
“Seasons Buffet,” she repeated thoughtfully. “I don’t know where is Seasons Buffet. Maybe you ask someone else lah.”
Oh yes, I thought to myself. Just like Chinatown.
Driving home later in the evening, we talked about everything we could think of. We talked as the lights on the cars in front of us grew from twinkling, red stars in the distance to bright blocks of twizzlers. We talked as our car pulled in off the highway to the cozy town Scott lives in. We passed houses with people who had eaten too much and were now dozing comfortably in and out of the conversations their families were having.
We pulled up in front of his house and got out; happy to stretch our legs and to be closer to our homes away from our real homes in California and Texas. I think we both wondered what our families were doing right then.
I took a mental picture. It won’t last forever, but hopefully someday, a long time from now, I’ll be able to dust it off and look at it again. It’ll show me and a buddy on Thanksgiving day, missing our families but lucky to have friends.