Our Thanksgiving Movie Tradition

Thanksgiving is not my favorite holiday and, to the horror of most, I don’t care for the food. The dinner begins and I’m already casting an eye towards the exit. Four years ago, after our meal wrapped up early at my in-laws’ Niskayuna home, Robbie, Joey and I figured we had time for a movie. Thus began a new annual ritual.

Nate wouldn’t go with us. He was still boycotting movies since Borat in 2006. (I got his last movie wrong when I first touched on this subject in “Going with the Flow”). Maybe it was the naked male wrestling, I don’t know. Or the terrorizing bear. We missed him, for sure, but the three of us got to see Beowulf and, in 2008, Role Models. By ’09, Nate was raring to return to the theater, the world of 3D an irresistible draw. (Ironically, we saw Beowulf in 3D).

Our movies took a decidedly juvenile turn. In exchange for having Nate with us, we had to see A Christmas Carol. This year, to the chagrin of us all, Nate wanted to watch Tangled. With a collective groan, we headed to the Bow Tie Cinema in downtown Schenectady.

Nate’s hyperlexic/autistic devotion to routine and obsession, inexplicably coupled with sudden abrupt shifts of focus is tough to figure. The transition is usually sparked by something, but getting that something out of Nate is still difficult. It might take us years to learn why he stopped going to the movies frequently. He loved going to the theater and then didn’t. I’ll let you know when I find out.

Tangled was fine, for what it was. When Rapunzel (Mandy Moore) sang her first song, I looked at Rob in shock: “I didn’t know it was a musical!” It had its moments, but none sweeter than turning to Nate during the key love song, a ripoff of Aladdin’s “A Whole New World.” Nate was humming along, trying to figure out the rhyme scheme so he could sing. “Hmmm hmmmm hmmm lifted, hmmm hmmm hmm shifted.” That beautiful innocence of his got to me, as it always does.

I had to make sure, though, that nobody thought I was tearing up because of the movie.


About Jeff Katz

Jeff Katz is Mayor of Cooperstown, the “Birthplace of Baseball” and home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. His latest book, Split Season:1981 - Fernandomania, the Bronx Zoo, and the Strike that Saved Baseball, (Thomas Dunne Books, 2015), received national attention, with coverage appearing in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Sporting News and NPR’s Only a Game, among others. Katz appeared on ESPN’s Olbermann and The Sporting Life with Jeremy Schaap and MLB Network’s MLB Now, with Brian Kenny. Split Season: 1981 was a finalist for the 2016 Casey Award for Best Baseball Book of the Year.
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