For my family, Thanksgiving has evolved over the years. We’ve had people come and go and the location and volume has certainly seen its ebb and flow. As far back as I can remember, we started out at my Nana and Pop-Pop’s… the brown Pfaltzgraff plates and matching crocks strewn across the same table linen that she had ironed that morning, as she had for so many years prior. We shared many of the same Pennsylvania Dutch (and not so Dutch) dishes, plus some roughneck Thursday night football.
When Nana and Pop-Pop passed away, we spent several years at my Aunt Judy and Uncle Kevin’s house in North Wales, Pennsylvania. My Pop-Pop’s sister, Polly, and her husband Uncle Ed were always there to contribute to the festivities. And even though he was the host, Uncle Kevin would bestow the honor of carving the turkey unto Ed, as he was the most senior of the present family.
To me, Uncle Ed was our beloved Clark Griswold. He had a dry, unsuspecting, nonchalant sense of humor.
On the first year that we celebrated Thanksgiving without my grandparents, seated at the head of the table, he raised the (brand new) electric carving knife with the intent of canonizing this beautiful bird. It was only before he broke through the golden skin, that he realized Uncle Kevin had pulled the neck from the chest cavity, but had forgotten to remove the paper bag of giblets.
The story has probably gained some momentum over time, but it’s one of those famed yarns that we’ve passed down without fail. That particular night… it made us temporarily set aside the sadness of the loved ones that weren’t with us anymore and brought us together in laughter as a family.
The years went on and my own parents began to host the holiday, filled with cursing about dry turkey and the frantic scramble to confirm who was supposed to bring those little Pepperidge Farm rolls in the tray with the poppy seeds.
With family dynamics ever-changing, I now find myself living out of state with three young kids. It’s become a little easier for us to avoid the intense process of packing four or five suitcases, boarding the dog and finding a neighbor to feed the fish. With both of my grandfathers gone, it’s important for me to spend time with my dad (and mom – and as many brothers as I can wrangle up) to visit and talk about life.
I always enjoy the spectrum of topics, whether it be our day-to-day struggles, speculating on the months ahead or even reminiscing about the time that my dad avoided falling down the basement stairs before a hosted holiday dinner at our house by pushing off of the opposing wall and thrusting his ass through the drywall between a set of studs on the other side.
We also love our football. Usually.
It’s great when the Philadelphia Eagles play on turkey day – despite the epic beatdown they received yesterday in Detroit. We don’t (always) let it determine our moods for dinner, even though the seething vapor of defeat sometimes surrounds the booze and hors d’oeuvres table.
I guess my whole point here, is that family and tradition are so very important. As I lay in bed last night, watching Brett Favre’s jersey get retired in the cold rain that poured over Lambeau Field, I couldn’t help but think what Brett might have going through his head, as Bart Starr, one of the all-time greats ahead of him, made his way out onto the field.
I wondered what words Bart might have whispered through Brett’s wool cap, one generation to another.
Perhaps it isn’t on the 50-yard line in Green Bay, but my dad has consistently passed along his thoughts and advice to me through the years. Before screaming at me on a back road about using a clutch and grinding the gears of his work truck, it was how to shave, groom and defeat those manly smells that piggybacked puberty.
I will never forget the cream colored porcelain bottle of Old Spice aftershave that lived in his medicine cabinet, next to the mug that held his whisker brush and razor. It was the same bottle that also lived in my late Pop-Pop’s bathroom.
I’ll admit that over the years, as I honed my skills, I tried out a variety of different shaving cream, aftershave and deodorants in various scents. It blew my mind this week to see a company that was founded in 1934, evolving with men who have followed them for years – in the form of a truce in the on-going Isaiah Mustafah VS. Terry Crews battle for which scent would reign supreme.
PEOPLE. Old Spice has sent me the stuff. I’ve stroked it, smelled it and paraded around the house requesting that my wife cross in behind me to the wafting trailer scents I’ve laid down.
Timber, Swagger Man and Bearglove Man scents. Each one has it’s own narrative and it’s helped steer me in the right direction.
BEARGLOVE: For the guy who commands your attention, exudes power, worldliness and speaks with authority. Let’s just say that this one isn’t for me. My kids have rendered me powerless, no one listens to a word that I say, I live in the suburbs and barely have any idea what the real world has to offer.
SWAGGER: For the guy who is confident, this dude can act on this feet and is smooth with the ladies. THIS! is me in my 20’s, but there are bits and pieces here that still exist, so we’re getting closer!
TIMBER: This is for the guy who is a lumberjack at heart, enjoys the fresh scent of nature and the thrill of competition. I do anything I can to get outside and if that means hitting up the carwash to shoot ‘new car’ smell under my armpits, then so be it. And if you haven’t seen me drag-racing against other moms and dads at the grocery store to see who can score honey ham at the deli first, you clearly aren’t aware of how competitive that shit gets.
Regardless of which #Smellmitment you might make, Old Spice has managed to be part of the traditions that have stayed within the ‘manly men’ of the Dad or Alive (link book) family for generations.
Go ahead, give Timber a try – it’s my personal recommendation.