Bellyache Day

Celebrating Bellyache Day!

I hope that you have recovered from eating all that rich food yesterday, Thanksgiving Day.

When I was in school, we were also off from school the Friday after Thanksgiving. I wondered what holiday it was and everyone told me it was Bellyache Day. But nowadays this day has been converted to Thanksgiving Part II. On this day everyone goes to see the other family and friends whom they couldn’t visit on Thanksgiving Day. And you know exactly what I mean if several members of your family have have experienced several divorces and remarriages.

While I was married, I would celebrate Thanksgiving Day with my wife, children, and in-laws. On the Friday after Thanksgiving, my wife, children, and I went to the circus at the United Center. I stopped going to the circus last year when my sons suddenly decided they were “too big” for the circus. So much for family traditions.

In 2003, when I moved into my first new house after my divorce, I had to work on Thanksgiving Day. So my girlfriend decided to have Thanksgiving dinner at my house on the Friday after, her Thanksgiving Part II. However, I was going to the circus with my sons and my father in the morning. She started roasting the turkey at her house and then finished roasting it at mine. Before she came over to my house, she told me that her brother had driven in from Iowa. Yes, there are Mexicans living in Iowa! I was a little worried about how her brother’s family, seven in all, would fit into my little 1100-square-foot house. There were five in my family, three with my girlfriend and her two sons, plus her brother and his family. We would be all scrunched up in my little house!

Imagine my surprise when everyone showed up, plus their in-laws and friends. There were about forty Mexicans occupying only the first floor of my house, or about 700 square feet. I’m sure the Chicago Fire Department would have disapproved. And none of the small children wanted to go upstairs to play because they were afraid to be alone, so everyone was cramped into my tiny living room, my small dining room, and my minimalist kitchen where the women reheated the Thanksgiving leftovers they had brought with them. There were only enough seats for the grandparents, so everyone else had to eat while standing. I couldn’t believe how crowded my house was. So, I called my brother Danny to come over and take a look. But I think he just came because he was hungry. We stood around eating and talking for hours. If you ever go to a party and wonder why the Mexicans don’t sit down, it’s because they’re used to standing at Mexican parties where there are never enough chairs.

My house had never seen so much food while I had lived there. And I was thinking about the wonderful leftovers would nourish me for days to come. I could already imagine myself eating turkey sandwiches, turkey omelets, and turkey tacos. When we said our final good-byes (for about two hours), the women packed up all the leftovers and took them home with them! Sniff! They didn’t even leave one tortilla behind. ¡Ay, Dios mío! They even took the turkey bones home for their dogs!