Thanksgiving And Shit » VSB

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Thanksgiving And Shit



My wife and I are masochists, apparently. Because that would be the only reasonable explanation for us deciding to host somewhere between 30 and 35 members of our family for Thanksgiving this year. Actually, the real explanation is laziness. We’re both from Pittsburgh, which means that every holiday we’ve spent together has been spent shuffling from house to house, making the perfunctory holiday rounds. A grandmother here, a sister there, an aunt there, a parent there — you get the picture. So, a couple months ago, we came up with the genius idea to just host Thanksgiving and have everyone come to us. Plus, we’d just moved into a new place with a decent amount of open space that could easily accommodate 15 to 20 people.

But…you know how every 10 years or so, you have one of those holiday family gatherings were everybody shows up? One of those years where cousins, uncles, and aunts you haven’t seen in a decade all decide to come? Well, this year is one of those years for my wife’s side of the family. Which means the last two weeks have been spent doing everything from buying extra tables and chairs to finalizing the menu to make sure certain people’s dietary needs are filled and certain people DO NOT attempt to make/bring the potato salad.

After making the 226th run this week to Target yesterday evening, my wife and I stopped somewhere to eat. During the meal, “Faithful” by Common started playing on the sound system. I knew a couple more people were featured on the song, but I couldn’t remember who they were. I ended up googling it and saw that it was John Legend and Bilal. “Of course!” I thought.

And then I thought about how distinct Bilal’s voice is. And then I thought about my favorite Bilal song — “MILF” from 88 Keys’ The Death of Adam. And then I thought about how much I loved that album, and how surprised I was that I didn’t possess it anymore. And then I went to iTunes and bought it. And then I thought about the reason why I even know who 88 Keys is:

Panama Jackson.

In the near decade I’ve known Panama, we’ve gone from fans of each other’s work to friends to good friends to blog/business partners to great friends. Brothers, even. Also, I know I can be, for lack of a better term, “difficult” to work with, and he’s been a perfect balance to my occasional bits of madness and unilaterality.

Another part of him I’ve always appreciated — and never shared with him — is that he puts me on to new music. He was the first person who told me about 88 Keys. And Drake. And Big K.R.I.T. And B.O.B. And Kendrick Lamar. And countless other artists I’m neglecting to mention. I will always be thankful for and appreciative of that part of our relationship. (And I’ve even forgiven him for convincing me to listen to ASAP Rocky.)

So, the shit going on in Ferguson will continue to go on. We will continue to be outraged, disappointed, and saddened by everything connected to this situation, and we’ll continue to want to throw things at the TV whenever Darren “I’m Actually An Actual Penis Pretending To Be A Person” Wilson is on the screen. But we cannot allow that to make us forget about the good things going on in our lives right now, and the people, opportunities, objects, and accomplishments we’re genuinely thankful for.

Today, as a break from what happened/is happening in our country, take some time to share who and/or what is helping you through this holiday season.

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at Or don't. Whatever.

  • Meridian

    I read this post and you know what I heard? It doesn’t matter. I just wanted to say…

    These last few months have been rough for all of us. I don’t remember exactly when I started reading this site but it was sometime early this summer. Maybe May or June. I didn’t start commenting until well after the Mike Brown event happened to all of us. Obviously I have my friends, family, social media pages, business associates, etc. but I never realized how…not fed I felt until I started coming here. Sometimes I just wanna have those conversations about things we all feel but never get to say because, social norms. VSB has been a space where the posts hit those nerves for me and the commentary goes to places that you just won’t get anywhere else. It’s honest. It’s diverse in perspective. Everyone might not always agree but even on hot button issues where passions are raw, disagreements aren’t cutthroat arguments. It makes this a place where a person can actually have healthy dialogue on subject matter that hits close to home. I appreciate that. Humor and entertainment can come from anywhere, and sure people like to laugh and have a good time, but that doesn’t always resonate. Sometimes sh*t is just heavy and you want to have a real conversation about it.

    This past month or so I feel like I’ve seen a lot of…Damon. I feel like I’ve seen a lot of quality subject matter from…Damon. I feel like a lot of the posts from other authors that really just hit the spot were approved by…Damon. He has a beard. I think that means most everything about all this is shouldered by…black power. Also, I know what “unilateral” means so I’m assuming the major decisions and hard work all come from…Spotify. No one has ever been able to help me with keeping my smart a*s mouth shut, but this Holiday? I’m very much aware of who has been there to give us such a wonderful space through all of this.

    Cheers to you and your family.

  • Tonja (aka Cheeks)

    Get a room. <3

  • IcePrincess

    I have no family, & I can count my friends on one hand. So Holiday season is pretty irrelevant to me. It’s my least favorite time of year. We usually always just go to other peoples’ house for thanksgiving. I was gon go wit bae to his people’s house, but they didn’t end up letting him out of jail. They tryna give him a year ????. Plan B was my son’s granny house, but she said she ain’t doing it. She lost her father AND cousin in the last few weeks, so she’s not in the mood. Fine. So my lil son suggested that I just cook thanksgiving here at our house. I swear the notion had never occurred to me lol. If it were up to me, I’d sit around eating hot pockets & drinking wine while watching football & reality shows. But then I thought, “why not?” I will do it for my baby. So this year will be my 1st time! I feel like a real grown up ????.

    • I’m not sure whether to applaud or hug you

      • IcePrincess

        Let’s hug it out ????

      • PhlyyPhree

        Both. Let’s just hug her to death.

    • LMNOP

      Just make what you 2 like. We’ve done homemade pizza for Thanksgiving lol. Or just a few of our favorite traditional foods, like mac and cheese, sweet potatoes, corn bread. Maybe next year invite someone else who doesn’t have a lot of Thanksgiving options, but only if you actually like them and enjoy their company. Happy Thanksgiving!

      • IcePrincess

        Girl my sons ratchet auntie coming. So we’ll see how that goes…

      • We’re doing ribs for Thanksgiving.

    • Rachmo

      Awwww IP’s a real grown up! Enjoy your Thanksgiving with your son :-)

      • IcePrincess

        Thanx Rach. You too. This will be you & bae’s 1st thanksgiving together, no?

        • Rachmo

          Yeah his fam flies in tonight

    • miss t-lee

      Kick that dinner’s azz, girl!

      • IcePrincess

        You betta kno it!!

    • Val


      • Sgt. Pepper’s

        * hugs Val tight *

    • Lisa Harris

      Aww. :-). Happy Thanksgiving. Nothing like the first time.

  • This time of year is getting rougher and rougher. It makes me realize both how many people have passed on, and how much family drama has torn a lot of ties to the point where no one wants to deal with my mom for Thanksgiving. That said, I do have a bunch to be thankful for:

    My daughter, for being the resilient child she is. How she’s managed to function without a mother all of her life is beyond me. Plus there’s the fact that I can still toss her around and make her giggle. I wish she’d clean up more or have better eating habits, but considering the plausible alternatives, she’s doing VERY well.

    My business, which is celebrating its 2nd year anniversary on Friday, which is about 21 more months than I thought it would last. While I’m not Donald Trump in this place, at least with all these billable invoices, I’m way past the “CEO of Get Money Man! Records” stage. Considering that I built my business off of LinkedIn, Craiglist ads and hustling my tail off at networking events, I’m pleased.

    My mom, for teaching me the limits of money. Long story short, my mom managed to beat a lot of family members out of money, then actively antagonized the rest of her family and a lot of her friends. (Like she stopped talking to a friend because she called her outfit choice “dumb” on a vacation to Malaysia. I wish I was joking.) Now, she’s facing the wages of her sin, and it isn’t fun.

    My divorce!!!! It’s clear that when someone doesn’t want to get help, the best thing you can do is to get the h3ll away. I don’t regret slow-walking it, because I was able to detach easily and set myself up for a future past the marriage. Plus, I’ve met some women who, while far from perfect, have taught me so much about myself.

    This place, because you engage me and make me feel at home. Plus there’s that whole learning something new every day thing.

    Now let’s get to the grub. I’m ticked that my mom went with the store bought deserts, but I’m hooking up the turkey and cranberry sauce…from scratch B*TCHES!!!!111

    • Meridian

      I’m gonna be petty just for the sake of laughter. You’re making a turkey from scratch?

      • Yep! I got the carbon, nitrogen and oxygen atoms, and I’m hooking it up! LOL Seriously though, I am making the turkey this year. :-)

        • Meridian

          lmao. That’s pretty cool. I always stick to creative sides cuz making the turkey is a big deal. My mom tried to talk me into doing it one year but I chickened out.

          • IcePrincess

            Lol I see what u did there…

            • Meridian


              I hope your Thanksgiving turns out to be fun.

        • *awaits news stories about mutant turkeys attacking NYC.

    • Imoteda

      I really wanna sit with you and just listen to your life story. Sounds like it’d be an amazing story of joy and resilience!!!
      Happy thanksgiving to you and your daughter! Congratulations on the business too

  • tgtaggie


    Its better reading this while listening to MILF. Have a happy thanksgiving.

  • Lequone Copeland

    Thank you

  • MsSula

    This was very touching. When I lived in the US, Thanksgiving was easily my favorite holiday. I love the spirit of it and I enjoy cooking, so it was a win win. I intended to spend it in Houston this year but plans fell through (I swear one day I will work for my damb self!!!).

    I am really thankful for VSB… for keeping me aware of things even from million miles away. And for the camaraderie and the dialogue. It never gets old. I read more than I comment these days, but I still feel part of the community. It kinda rocks.

    Happy Thanksgiving y’all!

    • By the way, where are you located? I’m sure you can scare up a decent amount of grub after work, then call out sick tomorrow. :-)

    • By the way, where are you located? I’m sure you can scare up a decent amount of grub after work, then call out sick tomorrow. :-)

      OH and be careful what words you misspell. LOL

    • miss t-lee

      aw MsSula I miss you chick! Please let me know when you’re back in the H so we can catch up and have more drinks! :)

  • Andrea

    I’m thankful for being Black in America. It constantly reminds me that you can be lynched on Monday….. and right back up on Tuesday. It is a beautiful thing to learn how extraordinary we are.

  • It’s weird not spending Thanksgiving back home.

    I’m thankful for Moneypenny and my family.

    I’m thankful that I get the option of sitting still during the holiday and not having to go see folks.

    I’m thankful for a a long weekend of peace.

    I’m thankful that it’s rivalry weekend.

    I’m thankful for Anheuser-Busch and Jim Beam.

    I’m thankful for the VSB folks.

    • tgtaggie

      Im leaning for The Gamecocks this weekend. Did you see that Teflon Dawn and co are ranked #1. She did an incredible job turning program around

      • I’m leaning that way too! I’m a quasi-Cocks fan but my dislike for Clemson is so strong. Then again everyone in the state has to pick a side. I think Carolina’s confidence is up a lot so that’s in their favor.

        Dawn’s flipping of that program is remarkable. Her pay bumps show that they are doing their best to keep her too. I think she’s clearing over $800k.

        • I’m surprised she has been that good at South Carolina. It wasn’t like she was a bum at Temple, but I’m impressed as to how she stepped it up

          • I was shocked that she left Philly. She had timing on her side too. Her squad sucked when she first got there and then she landed a few big recruits for other areas and kept a few big names in state. The baseball team won two championships around the time the football team started doing better. Coupled with the fact that her, Spurrier, and the AD who was the baseball coach finally got the alumni to actually donate money Dawn hit it big. Her maintaining what she’s doing is the key.

  • I’m just trying to eat like a savage.

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