REPOST: Thanksgiving Dinner, With a S...
Find a Conversation
|Thu, 11-23-2000 - 11:32am|
REPOST: Thanksgiving Dinner, With a Side of Laughter
I truly appreciate all advice, critiquing, and compliments on my essay! This feels pretty good.
JESSICA! : I rewrote paragraph 4. (This rewrite puts me over the word limit.) Is this too much information? All suggestions welcome! (Especially exact tips on the past-present tense.)
Thanksgiving is when we celebrate Christmas on my side of our extended family. Several years ago, as her children started scattering to the far winds, my mother requested one thing. Come home once a year. Thanksgiving was her choice. Her reasoning? Weather is still relatively decent, there's still money in most of our checking accounts, and that frees Christmas up for all.
My siblings; four sisters, one brother; and myself were more than willing to indulge her in this one small wish. With our father gone, we took to the task of taking turns celebrating TG/CS in our homes.
Every six years is my turn.
Every five years, I know that I'll be a candidate for Prozac for a good part of the next year. Growing up I should explain, our family gave instrumental definition to the term, Dysfunctional Family. We all carry the scars, but try to leave the excess baggage at the door. Try is the key phrase here.
Some years have been better than others. Being an internalizer, when the bickering starts, my nerves sky rocket into outer orbit. Johnny throws insults at Patty, that Dad bought her first car, when he had to buy his. Gracie lashes out in defense of Patty, that Johnny hasn't paid back the two thousand dollars Dad loaned him four years before he died. Linda and Joanie get in on the action, bringing up thirty year old infractions.
With finger pointing up, my throat constricting, I protest, requesting peace on the one day we get together. Then as all turn my direction, glaring, I withdraw, fingernails getting gnawed off.
Mother, and spouses, just sit, listening, snickering.
Don't get me wrong. I love my family. We're a strange, interesting mix of creatures.
But this is where my story actually begins . . .
As I shoved pumpkin pies into the oven, I slid out our traditional Thanksgiving breakfast. Extra pie crust rolled flat, butter slathered on, with cinnamon and sugar sprinkled liberally on top, then baked just right. "Darn!" I used a few more choice words, burning my thumb. The thumb gets shoved in my mouth as the pan landed on the counter.
Walking to the sink, peering out at the twilight, I realized that even the chickens weren't up yet. Slowly rolling my thumb under the clear, cool water, I mentally calculated how long each item for the huge meal would take. "Too long," I mumbled to no one.
Taking a risk, time wise, I poured myself a cup of coffee and settled down for a sip, waiting for my husband to rise. Being a daytime "Mr. Mom", and a nighttime working husband, I let him sleep. Reminiscing back to our pre-children days, I sighed, pinching myself to snap out of it, realizing that the sacrifice of our couple time was worth it. We have three well adjusted kids. (Sometimes I worry that this is not the case. But they're not toting guns to school, so maybe we're okay, for now.)
Breaking off a small piece of the pie-crust cookie, I groaned as the sweet, cinnamony pastry glided smoothly past my tongue. Another and another, I practically inhaled one-fourth of the tray. "Good grief!" Jumping up, I set it far from me. Grabbing my cup, I filled it again.
Settling back at the island, sipping, I took a deep breath, enjoying the cinnamon scent of the baking pies.
"Mmmm," Rob came up behind me, wrapping his arms around my waist as he lightly pecked my cheek. "Hard to sleep when it smells so good."
"Sorry I woke you."
"No problem, honey. Time to put the turkey in, anyway." He kissed the top of my head, turning me to face him.
Gazing into his lake-blue eyes, I realized that I truly wouldn't be alone on this chaotic day that was just unfolding...
Everything was going better than planned. All the pies turned out beautiful. The bubbling apples a light gold, the pumpkins the color of baked sienna. The buttery, cinnamon fragrance, with the sweetness of the apple and pumpkin spices, competed for our sensory attention.
Rob's turkey, a deep golden brown, was a magazine worthy creation. The savory aroma spoke volumes to all who entered. "I'm juicy, tender, and will melt in your mouth!"
My sisters brought in the side dishes; scalloped corn, dumplings, homemade noodles, dinner rolls. Everything smelled heavenly.
The kids all were behaving exceptionally well, which should have set off alarms, that all was not as it seemed.
With the tables set, we women set to the task of putting the meal on the sideboard. Being thrifty, I always kept my stash of good serving spoons in the bottom, left drawer. And they're only pulled out for very special occasions. Having small children, our entertainment budget was about nil.
Linda, who knows my kitchen fairly well, pulled the drawer open, digging through the contents. Straightening, lifting a brow, she commented "I can't find your spoons, Sammi."
Looking at her oddly, I walked over and dug through the drawer, sure she had just overlooked them. Calmly digging, I surmised they were not there. Pulling open the next drawer, thinking Rob had put them in the wrong place, I dug again. Then through the next drawer and the next drawer, I dug.
The other women watched as, I know, a look of pure panic crossed my face.
"Honey?" I asked, stepping into the family room. "Did you do something with my serving spoons?"
Scratching his head, he looked at me bewildered. "Serving spoons?"
"Yeah, you know the big ones in the bottom drawer?"
His eyes widening, he glanced around at the pairs of male eyes, watching and listening.
"Ah ..." Rising, he hooked his finger, gesturing for me to follow.
"Honey," I plastered a smile on, "I don't have time for this..."
"They're not there anymore," he murmured.
Deep snickers filtered through the room.
"I used some cooking lunches. When I couldn't get them clean, I pitched 'em." He watched as my mouth gaped open. "The others are in the sandbox ..."
Howls and hoots followed me as I wound my way back to the kitchen.
"Guess what?" I smiled broadly, my cheeks burning, trying to mask humiliation. "I don't have any. We're at the mercy of tea spoons."
Gracie's brows shot up as she slapped a hand over her mouth, stifling a laugh, as I explained the situation.
Patty, the youngest, was not as quick.
The others just smirked. My mother included.
Needless to say, we did survive that day. The missing spoons played a minor role after all. Everyone ate, enjoyed the day. (Best of all, no bickering!)
One month later, as my family opened Christmas gifts, strange looking packages were placed beside me. Opening the first card, I saw Linda's unique scribe. "Can't resist. Love, Linda."
Inside? One serving spoon.
"Couldn't stop myself. Love, Gracie."
Working my way through each, reading the cards, I laughed.
I now had several very nice serving spoons! I can still see the smirks on their faces to this day! But you gotta love 'em!