Tradition

Reese sat at his customary seat at the family’s long table, a table that appeared seemingly from nowhere every Thanksgiving.

The holiday was marked with a number of odd traditions.  Traditions that only showed themselves on this particular day.  One being Aunt Hilda’s attempt at flan sitting untouched at the center of the table.  Another familiar one was his slightly younger cousin, Krys, speaking at great length about being a vegetarian and then eating turkey.  Reese’s personal favorite, and one that had always been particularly perplexing was uncle Herb’s name being changed to Uncle 300 only on this day, only for this evening meal.

“There ‘e is! Uncle 300 ‘imself! Come ‘ere you,” Reese’s dad said as Herb entered the house.  The two embraced and, as was the custom, the two dropped into boxing motions and tried to land fake punches on one another.  Neither had ever boxed, nor was it likely either had ever even thrown a punch, but there they stood in the doorway pretending they understood what they were doing.

Reese was sitting next to his mother, both taking in the site.  “Hi, Uncle 300,” Reese said with a little wave once the faux fight ended.

Uncle 300 waved back and took his seat, just like every year for the last 25 years.

For 25 years, Reese had never questioned the name change.  Year 26 was going to be different.

“Uncle 300,” Reese started, “why do we call you that?”

“Because of my perfect 300 game.  I bowled like a champion. It was an incredible day.  You call me Uncle 300 as a sign of respect,” Uncle 300 said, matter of fact.

“Don’t listen to your uncle,” Reese’s mother said.

“Yeah, you really shouldn’t,” Uncle 300 agreed.

“Your uncle had a good game one time in the 90s,” Reese’s dad jibed his brother.

“Yeah, but we only call you that on this day.  Why?” Reese asked.

Uncle 300 looked offended.  “You two have failed your child,” he said, chiding his brother and sister-in-law.  “Alright kid, you know in bowling how rolling three strikes in a row is called a turkey? And lots of turkeys make up a perfect game.”

“Sure,” Reese played along.

“And today is also called?” Uncle 300 gave a leading question.

Reese hung his head in shame for not picking up on it sooner.  “Turkey day.  This family and puns. I swear.”

 

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