In spite of everything going on with my grandma, my mom still decided to hold Thanksgiving dinner at her house, which I thought was really great. I mean, my family canceled every holiday for years after my pappap died in ’96 and it just didn’t help heal anyone. It made it worse because instead of being around each other, we all went our separate ways and pouted, sulked, cried, denied. Because that’s exactly what he’d have wanted, you know. For us to abandon all holiday tradition and rot underneath our self-woven cocoons of misery.
Now, when I say I can’t remember the last time a holiday was held at my mom’s, I’m really not being dramatic. Usually, we go to my grandma’s, but I’ve always preferred spending holidays at my mom’s because she allows to hang out around after dinner and bullshit, whereas Sharon rushes us out of my grandma’s house as soon as dinner is finished, leaving us standing in the cold on the porch like dirty whores. But my mom has been really great lately and I’m glad we’ve been talking again. I think maybe the recent trips she’s made to the hospital for her blood pressure have helped her put things in perspective, because she’s not starting political fights with me anymore and her presence in Chooch’s life has been much more consistent these days. She’s starting to act like her old self again and that was reason enough for me to give thanks all pilgrim-like.
I’m actually really proud of my mom for keeping it together. We were all holding our breath, waiting for the phone call to say that she was canceling dinner. But she soldiered on, even made some new side dishes, like a sweet potato casserole capped with a layer of what I can only describe as a pineapple omelet, and I know that sounds gross and maybe a little confusing, but it did a pole dance all the way down my throat, OK? My mom was upset with it, thought it was too sweet. I was like, “Are you retarded, that’s why it’s so good!”
Sharon didn’t stay, thank God, but that didn’t stop her from fingerprinting the spread with her own culinary disasters. Imagine me, in the kitchen, making up recipes as I’m wont to do when times are tough (i.e. Henry’s not home, there’s nothing microwaveable, and my son is whining about being the hungry. The nerve!). But now imagine me thinking that those same kitchen nightmares are Food Network quality and you now know a little more about the inner workings of Sharon. Her vegetarian “stuffing” deserves it’s own post. (But it won’t get one, don’t worry.)
Clearly I’m not one of those people who get all clenched if their food mingles. I’m Ok with it. In fact, I’ve even been known to spear a sample of three separate dishes on the fork. The best part about holiday food is that the healthiest vegetables get to take a caloric bath in butter, cream, and cheese and then bust out of the oven cloaked as the super villain Cardiac Arrest, sumo-ing the shit out of your Dr. Atkins.
Even the green beans were rendered nutritionless under their blanket of coagulated bleu cheese and lard. In other words, best green beans ever!
My mom kept apologizing for using paper plates and plastic Solo cups. “I just didn’t have time to get everything ready this year,” she kept saying remorsefully. I had to continually remind her that we all appreciated the fact that she did this at all. And really, I was just happy to even be in her house again! I think this was only Chooch’s third time inside her house so he went hogwild. Before dinner, he and Corey rummaged through the box of ornaments and hung some of the ones my mom obviously felt were NOT GOOD ENOUGH, like the one I made for her in art class in 1988. (But the popcicle stick-framed photo of Corey sitting on Santa’s lap was hanging smugly from a bough!)
Here are some thoughts provoked by this hideous abomination to Christmas ornaments worldwide:
- For what reason did my mom bother to keep this? (If you say “love” I will argue!)
- My art is still at the 3rd grade level
- How has this not disintegrated by now and blown away to the sanctuary for molested tissue paper?
- You can tell that my inspiration was Boy George. I was really into Boy George. I wish Henry was Boy George.
I volunteered Henry’s cooking prowess for a side dish and dessert. I already knew that he was going to make Pioneer Woman’s turnip gratin that he made last year for our little grassroots attempt at Thanksgiving. (He used the poor man’s Gruyere again – swiss. I called “cop out” but he said he refused to pay $28 for cheese. Whatevelyn.) But I also knew that the dessert had to be something even more fabulous so I spent hours (at LEAST fifteen minutes) scouring online for the perfect pumpkin pie. I found one on some slutty girl’s food blog and instantly knew it was the one because it called for brandy. Any dessert made with liquor’s helping hand is my new best friend. So I wrote down all the ingredients for Henry and naturally he came home with ingredients for something totally different.
A boring sweet potato pie. Yes, it was good. But it wasn’t weird or classy or made with products procured from an oak pantry in France and it certainly wasn’t drenched with enough libations to make Janna pull down her pants and perform a puppet show with her ass. FUCK.
But you damn well know it was all “I made that pie” all night long.
Chooch was too busy setting up conference calls on his new iPhone, doodling on Henry’s face, killing zombies, and buying apps to pay attention to his surroundings, let alone give a shit about Henry’s fucking sweet potato pie. He did enjoy the dinner rolls though.
Photographic evidence that I have another brother. Ryan is 25 now and lives with our dad (well, his dad and my step-dad). He used to be my partner-in-stalking. Fuck, were we terrors. I wonder if he’s outgrown stalking people? I know I sure haven’t.
My family might be a little screwed up, (though isn’t that the central theme in most people’s lives?) but I still love holidays.