Saturday, November 27, 2004

Turkeys all around

Thanksgiving is a pot luck. In the past, Julie and I have each brought something to lighten the load on mom who would cook everything else. Julie usually brought the green bean casserole, I usually brought the Lay’s potato chips and beer. Can’t have Thanksgiving without chips and beer for the Cowboys game. Sometimes I even brought a can of bean dip.

But last year Julie informed me in her uppity tone that I would need to do better. It became my job to bring the turkey and something other than chips and beer. I had stopped at Kroger’s on the way to Dad’s place and picked up one of those rotisserie chickens and a pumpkin pie from the deli. I guess I underestimated how far the little, golden-brown bird would go.

“Your son is an idiot!”

My dad, “Julie, you’re too old to be calling your brother names.”

I snickered.

“Why are you laughing, boy? I didn’t say she was wrong.”

Needless to say this was my year to redeem myself. Julie wasn’t taking any chances. In fact, she didn’t even give me my grocery list for the day. Jasmine showed up Wednesday night with a fried turkey from a local smokehouse and a big dish of sweet potatoes.

“Your sister emailed me last week. I forgot to tell you.”

Damn women were plotting behind my back. The hell with it. I don’t give a damn. I grabbed the chips and 12-pack and we met everyone at Dad’s place Thursday morning.

Jasmine was her usual confident self. She hugged Julie and her husband, then Dad and Kadybug. I don’t have much to say to my brother-in-law. He’s a good sort, treats my sister right, but he’s a bit over my head. He speaks in metaphors and quotes Frost and travels all over the world giving lectures. We’ve finally gotten to the point where I feel comfortable staring at him through awkward silence after he’s said something particularly profound that doesn’t make a lick of sense to anyone other than my sister. He uses words like “indeed” and “thus” on a regular basis as opposed to “shit” and “fuck” like my scholarly ass. And he bewilders the fuck out of my old man who can’t comprehend a man who has never changed his own oil or doesn’t have the upper body strength to break the nuts when changing a tire.

My uncle was there, along with the neighbor who’s too old to remember we aren’t his blood kin. My cousin and her husband showed up with their demon spawn who quickly recruited Kadybug into their shenanigans. The meal was loud and raucous with children fighting and crying, my dad and his brother arguing about who the next cabinet member to leave will be, my cousin and sister ripping Scott Peterson to shreds, and Jasmine and my brother-in-law discussing Sylvia Plath and other morbid poets from times gone by. I shoveled stuffing into my mouth and wondered how long it would be before someone asked me, “So Jay, have you knocked anybody up lately?”

Surprisingly, nobody asked.

My cousin tried to convince me I wanted to buy her ancient, fucking sway back horse for some ridiculous sum of money while my uncle persisted in trying to find out if Jasmine's mom is as good looking and single as she is. The children managed to provoke the neighbor's cat up a tree while my brother-in-law repeated jokes by some transvestite comedian he was partial to. My old man offered to climb the pole outside and splice into the neighbor's cable so the kids could watch TV, but the neighbors were not only armed with shotguns and an 8th grade education, but also pissed about their cat.

Just your average family get together.

Ah, shit. I'm watching my niece right now and just heard the splintering sound of a glass ornament meeting it's demise followed by, “Uh oh. Uncle Day, come ear!”

I dared the masses Friday morning. My, wasn't that an adventure.