Thanksgiving brought out the performance art in our mother. As if the holiday was set aside to prove the ability of the farmhouse to provide and sustain, akin to that bumper sticker “Farmers Feed the World.” Our mother took this as a personal challenge, to prove the American farm both patriotic and outpouring.
As farmkids we hated Thanksgiving for the overburden of kinsmen that descended on the farm like a biblical plague. Holy Jesus we were related to a lot of people, at least who professed relation in order to gain a place at the altar of Meleagris gallopava. Two days previous to the event was spent dismantling the household, removing living room furniture to the garage or porch in order to jury-rig in their absence a convoy of extra tables and chairs, most employing sawhorses and planks.
The planks nailed to the sawhorses in the case someone got rowdy. As it turned out the precise problem of inviting every known DNA vagrant to Thanksgiving, with even odds the rowdy ones will show up.
There was Uncle Fritz who made his living as a carnival sword swallower. Mrs. Uncle Fritz was something else, being the girl on the trapeze; actually it was a tight-rope act. She came wearing a dress that appeared to be painted on. As a farmkid unhardened to this apparition, I sorta had a thing for Mrs. Uncle Fritz though I never did know her name.