Hello again, friends.. I feel like I should come up with a new greeting but that’s the best I can do right now. Seems like last time I wrote about this holiday or anything relating to it, was just last week but, in fact, it’s been a year. I have no idea what happened to that year. It is like, I have put off what could be done today until tomorrow, and tomorrow is gone already. There was a time when I looked forward to this T holiday.. Not for the dinner and trimmings but for the 2 day break from school that came with it. That was when I didn’t have bills to pay though.
Fact is, I don’t even like turkey that much. I would really rather have a steak instead. That way when dinner is over, give the scraps to the dog, so he can be thankful too, and we don’t have to suffer through the next week of leftovers all made of some concoction derived from the turkey.
I can remember back to the days when mom would host the big party. For a few days before the big feast, she would begin thawing the turkey that she had bought a month or two prior. On Wednesday night, she would begin putting everything together, opening cans of stuff and mixing all the ingredients, stuffing the bird.. None of that stove top here, this was home made. She would spend the entire evening, usually after coming home from work, doing all the prep work.
While she was doing that, During my college years, the night before T day was the evening of my fraterity’s ‘Wild Turkey Bash’.. The biggest party on campus in the fall. Roughly 500 people through the door that evening. 15 kegs of the cheapest swill we could buy. Admission, $5 per head. Must be 21 to enter. The next day, we would wheel the 16th keg a few blocks away to Woodward Ave to watch the Thanksgiving day parade in Detroit. Fun times, I guess, I don’t really remember too much of it. These parties are no longer had from what I understand due to potential liability. About 2 weeks later, someone would get tired of the smell in the house and make the pledges clean the place up. It really was disgusting. Eventually someone would return the empty kegs for the deposits.
Anyway, after the parade for those of us who went, we would depart for our respective homes (commuter school) not to return for at least 4 days. Upon walking through the door at home, there would be that familiar smell. The turkey in the oven, the pies ready to bake, Silver all polished for the big dinner, dishwasher running to make sure all the plates, cups, and saucers were ready. Add to that, the smell of pine-sol as mom would be scrubbing the floors and everything else to make the place presentable. Did I help? Absolutely not.. Too hung over and probably still a bit drunk. Besides, Mom had a method and helping proved to be more of a hindrance than anything else. Oh sure there was putting the leafs in the table so we could cram a dozen or more people around it. Bringing up the chairs and whatnot.. But, the actual work of putting it together was usually on mom. That’s kind of the way she preferred it.
As family would start to arrive, they would offer to help but she would just tell them to sit down. We had a kitchen that shared the dining room with a long counter separating the two. She would ring the dinner bell and then the stampede would begin. Inside of about 10 minutes they would all fill their bellies, except for the kids, who weren’t interested in eating, then the cleanup would begin. Mom wasn’t a clean freak by any stretch but she didn’t like to leave things waiting.
About the time she would get the stuff put away that needed to be put away, poured herself a cup of coffee and went to sit back down, the family was already ready to leave. I don’t know what their big damn hurry was, they were just going home. Rude if you ask me. In fact, my father always hated that my mom would go to all this bother for these people. He always wanted to just fire up the grill and make some hamburgers and hot dogs for dinner instead of all the trouble. He could be a bit of an ass about it but I understood his point. These people weren’t there to visit with family, they were there to fill their bellies. Many of them for a second or third time. I think her only peace on that day was taking her dog for his walk after dinner.
I may have told you about this before, it wasn’t thanksgiving but same type of situation.. Mom spent all day preparing a dinner for my dad’s family. His brother, wife, her son (second marriage), whom we, had never met. That’s okay, the guy was an asshole and he’s dead now anyway. I’ll spin that yarn for you someday. Anyway, again, just as mom got things cleaned up, went to sit down, they all belched, got up, and left. That was the last big dinner mom planned. From then on out, if people wanted to come, there would be food. If not, oh damn well. Dad was right, especially when it came to his side of the family. Don’t put yourself out for them, he would say (but not so polite)..
I guess I’ve gotten a little away from myself here with my bitching about people I don’t care about. I still remember the last thanksgiving we had. You all know, mom was sick, she didn’t cook that year. We didn’t do anything special for the day except go to her brother’s house. By that time, she could barely eat anything and I knew, that would be the last one we would have her for. The docs were trying everything they could to at least help her gain weight and strength but they hadn’t given up yet. At least that is what she told me. I can still remember though, seeing her at that 4 person card table (this is the way we eat at holidays at my uncle’s house) half asleep or passed out from the pain meds. Others around her talking as if nothing was going on. She never wanted a pity party so I imagine she appreciated their effort of them trying to ignore what was going on. I guess, in a way, I was lucky.. In that, I knew that would be the last one. I can’t say I enjoyed it very much and this time, we were the first to leave.
I am sorry, I didn’t set out to write yet another downer post about my mother but you’re all such good listeners. I will tell you what though, the Friday after, Black Friday, she still insisted on going to work and that is exactly what we did.
I guess that’s about it from me for now except to say, I’d rather eat at Snoopy’s house this year. Popcorn and Root Beer.. Yum 😀