What I miss the most around Thanksgiving are the Norman Rockwell covers on the Saturday Evening Post. Let's face it--the Norman Rockwell Family at Thanksgiving is gone.
In the Norman Rockwell Family, there was the mother, the father, grandpa and grandma, and the little tykes, all standing around admiring a beautiful roasted turkey. Everyone was there to show what a real American holiday was all about.
But, alas, the Norman Rockwell Family has been replaced by the Non-Nuclear Family. Here is how it is shaping up.
The Bomeisters are having the dinner, but Gerald Soda (the 11-year-old son of Edna Bomeister, who is divorced from Gerald's father, Jim Soda) has to go to his father's home in Nantucket. But it's a wash because Jim's second wife has to send her child to her ex-husband in Montana.
Ed Bomeister intended to bring his widowed mother from Seattle for Thanksgiving, but she now has a boyfriend and will spend the holiday with his family. Edna Bomeister's mother, who lives in Sun City, Ariz., couldn't come because she was unable to get a frequent-flier ticket.
At the last moment, Ed Bomeister's brother, Bubbie, said he had just busted up with his wife and would like to come to Ed's for Thanksgiving. Edna thought she was being taken advantage of, but there was nothing she could do, as Bubbie had not only lost his wife but had just been downsized at the warehouse by Wal-Mart.
The Tennysons, who live next door, told Bomeister that both of their kids, who are college students, were going skiing and would not be home for Thanksgiving.
They decided that since they were alone, they would go to a restaurant. Ed invites them over.
If everyone had kept to his schedule, there wouldn't have been a problem, but things started to unravel when young Gerald Soda's flight to Nantucket was canceled. Mr. Soda was furious and said he was going take Mrs. Bomeister to court as she had violated the divorce decree.
At the last moment, the Tennysons' kids changed their minds, decided to come home and said they were bringing four friends with them.
Edna Bomeister couldn't get a final count of dinner guests, so she ordered a turkey and a ham. This was barely enough after she found out that Ed's boss was coming with his new girlfriend.
I keep wondering how Norman Rockwell would paint this Thanksgiving dinner. I am certain everyone wouldn't be smiling at the turkey.
His famous cover of the Thanksgiving family still sells. People want to remember what a real family gathering was all about. I know Norman would have gotten a frequent-flier ticket for Ed's mother-in-law. Also, Edna would have made her own stuffing instead of buying it at the store.
Ed's brother and his wife would be in the picture after their reconciliation, and the Tennysons would be shown with their children and four friends carrying in pumpkin and apple pies.
Little Gerald would not have to go to Nantucket because in Norman Rockwell's world there would be no divorce decrees that would make him go somewhere else on the holiday.
Norman would present the Bomeisters as a happy, functional family, ready to dig into the turkey and sweet potatoes.
It's a Thanksgiving without glitches and as warm and tasty as the holiday itself. It is no wonder that now in American households, when everyone is at the table, the older generation says to the younger one, "You should have been there."