Today is lovely outdoors. I walked Elliott and Petey and then went to B&N and Target. Where I discovered- when I am in good spirits, I love being surrounded by lots of people. Almost applied for a job at the B&N just so I could help others accomplish their Christmas shopping.
I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving. I just looked through some Thanksgiving albums on facebook and noticed primarily that every single person related to Paul Deiss has the most magnificent bone structure of all time.
Also, I will be dressing up any future baby I might have as a turkey. A whole turkey. With little turkey feet boots and the floppy red thingy on the head and stuffing and feathers. It will not be able to move and can then safely be propped up in a corner for the holiday season and not dealt with.
My Thanksgiving was very nice, as always. My mother and aunts all have the whole process down pat. And it has altered not a stitch as long as I can remember.
Always, I arrive an hour or so early to find my father outdoors doing some sort of manly yard work while he waits for the turkeys to fry in the deep-fat fryer. This year this portion of the day was a little extreme, as my father retired three weeks ago and didn't make it four days without becoming so overwhelmingly antsy that he had to find a little something to fill the time. Like uproot and remove every single tree from our property with his bare hands.
So he did that. My yard now barren. My mother furious.
And as I climbed up the driveway yesterday, my father is bearing down on me with the leaf blower going full bore. I notice that when I walk down Monument Ave., and there are crews of men out using leaf blowers, they will turn the blowers off if they see a pedestrian approaching and wait until said pedestrian has passed by before resuming.
Not my dad.
I receive a one armed hug and some sort of greeting that I cannot make out due to the 900 Rev Horsepower Blow Your Flesh Off Glory Hallelujah that is gunning in my ear.
I casually toss a greeting to Molly, our beautiful round fluffy dear Sheltie whom no one really cares about right now because of the puppy.
I don't see Jazz, my cat. Not unusual. Jazz is a hard, seasoned bitter old cynic who decided years ago that though she is fed and pampered quite lovingly each day of her life, she saw no reason not to effectively kill every creature in the woods behind my house smaller than she is for the past 15 years.
She's moving up though, as I am certain she is going to kill this puppy.
I find the puppy. Helpless waves of giggles and smiles overtake me despite my best efforts.
Oh my God the puppy.
Rather than socialize with my family, I spend the next twenty minutes flat on my bottom on the cement floor of the garage peeling a scab away from the under elbow of the puppy's left front leg.
Calling it "the puppy" makes it cuter in my head that calling it "Mya."
Jazz strolls by somewhere in here, delivers a stinging backhand to the puppy's face, and continues on her way.
So let's see. I go in the house, where my mother is, as always, clad in a crisp fresh cotton apron printed with things like irons and calla lilies. The parade is on the tv. Which I love. I keep thinking I want to go to that parade one year, but then after having lived in New York for a while, I think it would be horrible miserable furious experience. Might need to be in it one day instead. Doesn't matter much doing what. Could be me on a giant float made of cake and shaped like the grouchy Carebear.
My mother instantly asks me to put ice in the glasses.
Now. My duty, as well as my brother and various cousins' duty, all our lives has been to go around with a pad and pencil and officiously find out what everyone would like to drink. Then the ice bit was added to the job. Without fail, my mother suggests me putting the ice in the glasses a good hour and a half before the guests are due to even start arriving. I talk her out of this this year. I talk her down to half an hour. Which still meant the ice was 2/3 melted, but it's progress. As a side note, I also snap the dainty ice tweezers or whatever they are in half 15 seconds into the job. Threw them out.
The parade goes off and the dog show goes on. I become worthless to everyone for the next hour.
I wander around the house on commercial breaks eating the random snacks my mom has set out in the good cut glass bowls. This year, these are large mixed nuts (X), goldfish crackers (check), and these white chocolate peppermint drops with sprinkles on top. I clean out this bowl before anyone shows up.
My father and brother, meanwhile, are outdoors setting up the ping pong table in the garage. For that is what they do when company comes over. My mother is keeping busy removing casseroles from the oven, transferring the contents of the casserole dish into another dish, which I then begin to take to the table and am told that no, this is just the intermediary dish between baking dish and presentation dish. All this is beyond me. I ask why the extraneous dish. She says she wants to use her mother's china. I can get behind that. But it sure makes for a comical amount of dirty dishes.
At this point my Aunt Ruth, Uncle AJ, and cousin Adam arrive. Aunt Ruth is on my side in the kitchen, which helps. Instead of asking why there are four separate spoons allotted for the chopped chives, we just meet eyes and smile. Everyone makes a brou-ha-ha about the puppy.
Oh my God the puppy.
Then my brother's girlfriend arrives. Looking like a young professional woman. I think, great. This is what my father wants me to look like. Nice fitted jeans, a "TOP." A tasteful necklace, some ankle boots. X. I am looking a lot like a blind dizzy bag lady.
My Aunt Debbie and Uncle Glenn are every year late. Every year. And every year, they bring raw oysters that we then have to take the time to fry. This year, fortunately the oysters had been parlayed into a questionable "seafood" casserole. You couldn't identify anything by looking at it. Except bread crumbs and some gelatinous off taupe-colored ooze. It was good.
They bring my grandmother Rassie. Who of course looks amazing and is wearing what appears to be a brightly colored top from Forever 21.
I feel a little bit as though it would be nice for there to be another extremely old person or two at my family gatherings so my grandmother could have a cohort. It could happen. She is being ardently pursued by this randy bachelor with plaid pants and a red face named Linky at the assisted living facility. He can get her to crack a smile. Which is doing something.
My brother, myself, my cousin, and my brother's young professional sit at a smaller table in the room adjacent to the dining room. We like this because we are without fail all overtaken with severe giggles just overhearing the conversations in the next room and feel safer at a distance.
We like listening to them all say things to each other like, "what a lovely spacious room!" and, "so after dinner, I thought maybe a walk and then supper around five thirty or six?"
We all vow that we will not talk about things like that, which seem to be obvious POLITE CONVERSATION when we are in charge of Thanksgivings. I'm sure we will though, at least some.
This year the conversation was heavy on persimmons.
My brother stands up abruptly and spills my glass of tea all over the place. We spot the neighbor girl coming out of her house across the street and all make snide remarks about how large she has gotten. Mean. But I was speaking from experience. You shouldn't have seen me when I went to college.
My uncle Bert then slices the pecan pie into slivers the width of a tooth, which are thus next to impossible to serve out of the pie pan. Is because when asked what dessert they would like, every woman in my family and my Uncle Bert all say, "just a TIIIIIIINY piece. And I mean TINY. No no Bert- that's HUGE. I said TINY."
Except Uncle Bert. He does not say this to himself. I think secretly Uncle Bert actually likes his piece of pie to be visible to the naked eye.
Uncle Bert is great. Tall, handsome, smart, funny. He uses the expression, "squared away," which has made my brother and I giggle since we were little.
Everything is delicious. My mother is a fabulous host.
Right after dinner MY COUSIN Adam and I snap into the kitchen and begin efficiently and silently cleaning as fast as we can so as to avoid as much as we can of the largely ineffectual crowded melee that cleaning will become when everyone gets there.
Then the young professional's daughter arrives. My father immediately becomes the world's best candidate EVER for being a grandfather.
The puppy bites my face.
I put a Diet Coke in my pocket and leave.
My family is great. Kindest, most wonderful loving mother in the world, most wonderful smart father in the world, funniest aunts of all time, cousins that get my jokes, uncles that are all so funny and different. And my brother. He's pretty great too.
And the puppy.