mrsveteran (mrsveteran) wrote,

Thanksgiving Day: Act II Scene II

My Mom and Nick always had a lot in common personality-wise, although it often manifested itself in different ways. Many years ago, one of the things they had in common was that they really liked things to be a certain way. It didn't really matter what the "thing" was, they had expectations of how it should be. Over time, they've both overcome this tendency, and can accept how things are.

Unless they're not feeling well.

No, if they're not feeling well, every small irritation can take on epic proportions.

Of course, I should point out that it's the same for pretty much everyone. You get too tired or sick and you get cranky. The sicker you are, the closer you get to Cranky with a capital "C", or even, dare I say it, "Grumpy." Admit it, you know you do.

Dad and I knew that a pre-prepared turkey breast and gravy (and maybe some Cranberry sauce, which, I think, almost every American has in their cupboard at any given time) was not How Thanksgiving Should Be. Thus, we had more than a few trepidations about the whole thing. However, this was our only choice, and so we were going ahead with it, come hell or high water!

"Where do you want to eat," I asked Dad as we drove along.

"How about Mimi's," he suggested, and we both cracked up. (Mimi's is in the same part of town as Honey Baked Hams.)

"Sure," I said, laughing, "that would be great...oops, wait, no, I need to get home and babysit my transfer thingy for work. How about Quizno's?"

"Quizno's it is," agreed Dad, and we drove for awhile.

Finally, we reached Honey Baked Hams. For brevity, I've left out the part where Mom told Dad to call them and make sure they had any turkey left, and Dad said he just had called them, and she suggested he call again and reserve one, so I called and found out that they had about a bazillion turkey breasts left, so don't worry. I present this information just so you know that SOMETHING was going right at this time, lest you think it was all doom and gloom.

We walked into the shop. "Ooh," I said, "Look! Dinner rolls!"

Dinner rolls were a part of How Thanksgiving Should Be, and of course, we didn't have any at home. Honey Baked Hams had a whole table full of them on the way in and the way out. They had egg twists, white rolls, and wheat rolls. I looked at Dad, inquiringly.

"Sure, get one of each!" he said cheerfully, and we continued another two steps into the store.

"Ooh," I said, "Look! Mashed potatoes! And pumpkin pie! Should we get 'em?" There was a refrigerator unit on the right as we walked in -- one of those glass-door ones that usually store soda pop in the 7-11's.

"Go ahead," said Dad, and I loaded up on garlic redskin mashed potatoes and the Cinnamon Pumpkin pie.

Dad looked at the pie. "Hm," he said a bit worriedly, "Cinnamon."

"I'm sure it will be fine," I said hesitantly. After all, pumpkin pie was part of How Thanksgiving Should Be, but "Cinnamon pumpkin pie?" We didn't know how that would go over. We gave each other a worried look, then decided to go for it.

We got up to the counter, where a large Native American young man greeted us cheerfully. (I only mention his race because of the sheer irony of a Native American serving turkey and ham to white people on Thanksgiving.) "What'll you have, folks?" he asked with a big smile.

"Do you have any of the turkey left?" I asked.

"Just the turkey breasts," he answered.

"Great, that's what we need. Let's get one of those."

"Do you want the two pound or the three pound?" he asked.

Um. I looked at Dad. Dad looked at me. "Could we see one?" said Dad.


He brought one out and explained to us that this was the three-pound, and it would serve so many people, and so forth.

"Hey, is it already sliced?" Dad asked.

"It sure is! And it has our famous Honey glaze on it," the young man said proudly.

Uh oh. Nick has always hated glaze. Dad looked at me in horror, then back to the counter guy.

"Do you have any without the glaze?"

The guy looked a bit shocked that we would even ask. "Well, no," he said. "I mean, we're 'Honey Baked.' The glaze is kind of our trademark, you know?"

"Well, let's have one of the three pounders anyway," Dad said bravely. "And one of the hams, too."

"Will that be it for you, then?"

"Yep, I think that'll do it."

"Okay, she'll take care of you at the register over there. Happy Thanksgiving!"

We thanked the young man and headed toward the register to pay.

"Well, this isn't so bad," I said to Dad hopefully. "I mean, we have pumpkin pie. We have rolls. We have turkey. I'm sure we have cranberry sauce somewhere. This could be okay, right?"

"Sure," said Dad, not quite sounding convinced but trying to put a good face on it. "Sure, it'll be fine."

We loaded up the car and headed across the parking lot to Quizno's, ordered, and sat down with our sandwiches.

"Hey, Dad," I said.

"What's that?"

"Is it wrong of me to hope that no one's feeling well enough to come over tomorrow and we can just sneak out and go to sushirob's and banshree's?"

"No, no, I don't think it's all that wrong," he replied soberly. "Heck, maybe I just won't feel well enough tomorrow, and I can call everyone and then you and me can sneak off to their place!"

"Yeah, that's a possibility," I agreed, brightening.

We munched our sandwiches for a few minutes. Suddenly, I had a thought. "You know, though," I said, musing, "if everything does go horribly, horribly wrong, that'll make a better blog entry! I win either way!"

"That's right, you do!" laughed Dad.

After we got home, I called sushirob to let him know the scoop. I found myself pouring out the story of the day (which by now, was beginning to feel as though it had stretched over two or three days).

"If it's three against one, why the hell didn't you guys just say the hell with your brother and go to Mimi's," he asked incredulously.

It was a good question. I thought about it for a minute. "Well," I said slowly, "I think it's because Nick has the grandson, and if you don't have Nick, then you don't have the grandson, so if you want to see your son and your grandson, then you kind of have to go along with what the son wants to do. It's sort of an inadvertent blackmail."

"What kind of ..." sushirob was speechless for a second. "That's the most messed up thing I've ever heard! I can't believe your brother would do that!"

"Well, it's not deliberate!" I exclaimed. "I'm sure it doesn't even enter his mind. He's not sitting around going, 'ha ha, I have the grandson so you must obey me,' or anything! It's just that Mom and Dad want the whole family to be together, and in particular, Mom wants to spend time with her grandson. It just sort of works out that way."

"Yeah, well, you guys still should have said 'screw it' and gone with the majority," sushirob said, unconvinced. "So, what do you have now, about twelve thousands words?"

As a reader of my blog, sushirob knew that I could not keep such a saga as this all to myself, and either had already written, or was in the process of writing, the whole thing up in the blog.

"More like three or four," I said. "We'll see how it ends up after tomorrow."

"Yessss," he agreed.

"So, basically," I went on, "depending on how it looks tomorrow, Dad and I may just crash your place. But we don't know yet -- everyone may be too sick to come over, or Dad may just decide that he's not feeling well enough for everyone to come over, but we're going to give it a shot here anyway. I assume you have enough food?" (sushirob generally makes at least twice as much food as will be needed by guests. It's just the way it works out. I figured Thanksgiving would be no different.)

"I think so, but it may be close," he said. "I could only get an 18-pound turkey this year."

"Oh, ONLY 18 pounds, huh?" I said sarcastically, "gee, that IS cutting it close."

"Well, the turkeys weren't that big this year," he defended himself. "Something like it was too warm for them to get very big."

"Once again, Global warming ruins another Thanksgiving dinner," I intoned.

I could sense his eyes rolling upwards. "Yeah, whatever," he said. "So, just call us and let us know what's up tomorrow."

"Okay, will do."


Meanwhile, Dad had decided to make the ultimate sacrifice. That's right: he was going to the grocery store for whipping cream (for the pie).

Let me emphasize that. He was going to the grocery store. On the day before Thanksgiving. At seven PM. God Bless that man!

A scant few hours later, he returned laden with bags. "Nick really likes to have smoked oysters on Thanksgiving," he said, "so I got some of those. And also, I got one of those pre-cooked turkey breast things in case he doesn't like the glaze." There were numerous packages of crackers and so forth on the counter.

"Oh, good idea!" I praised him. Man, Dad thinks of everything.

At around 9:30 that night (still, amazingly, the same day that I had discovered that the Claim Jumper was closed), I was exhausted from the events of the day, so I bid Dad a good night and went to bed.

I hoped I wouldn't have nightmares about the next day. We would just have to wait and see if what we had put together was close enough to How Thanksgiving Should Be to avoid Sundownerishness.

Would it be enough? WOULD it be enough?

[to be continued]
Tags: dad, family, mom, stories, thanksgiving, thanksgiving day: a drama in three acts

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