Norman Rockwell We Ain't

There’s a famous Norman Rockwell painting of a family cheerfully sitting around a dinner table. The matron of the home proudly sets down a fully bronzed turkey to people eagerly awaiting their meal. It is, in essence, what many American families consider the ideal Thanksgiving Day portrait.

Have you ever tried to carry a turkey that size on your own? Don't. It's impossible.

However, take a closer look. That woman’s biceps look far too weak to carry a bird of that size. Then there’s that dude in the lower right-hand corner, staring out of the painting and meeting your eyes with a semi-crazed look. Rockwell may have painted it to seem welcoming, but, frankly, I find it a little creepy.

Perhaps that’s because this portrait is so different than the Thanksgiving dinners I grew up with in Rhode Island. My dad isn’t at the head of the table in a shirt and tie; he’s in the kitchen in his trackpants, sweating into the pot of potatoes as he mashes them to a dry oblivion. My mom is not in an apron while balancing a giant turkey, but, rather, is in a turtleneck while balancing a full glass of wine. And our salt and pepper shakers aren’t sterling silver; they’re plastic, they’re shaped like turkeys, and someone bought them for $2.99 at Ocean State Job Lot.

My hunch is that my Thanksgiving experience, so far from Rockwell’s canvas, is painted in homes throughout the U.S. each year. We each have our own traditions, and our own stories, that bring us to the table each year. The turkey may not turn out as planned, or one of our relatives may have drank their dinner too quickly, but we’re there, spending the time together and making an event out of it.

And I’m thankful for that.

Here at Eventbrite HQ in San Francisco, we’re taking a few days off to celebrate Thanksgiving. We’ll be back, up and running on Monday, giving us enough time to sleep off the tryptophan. See you then, readers, and Happy Thanksgiving to all!

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