We survived Thanksgiving. Kinda sorta. It was loaded with the usual turkey, cornbread dressing, oyster dressing, oyster chowder, pecan pie, banana split cake, pumpkin pie, and everything else the family could think to request. But a holiday around our house would be incomplete without sharing some vignettes. Consider yourself warned.
The massive influx of children with their noise and activity spread to the dogs. It got quiet (for the first time since six a.m.) around eleven at night. Just quiet enough for me to hear a metallic strumming sound coming from the other end of the house. Bring. Brinng. But it was dulled, almost like a harp strummed with the strings deadened. Bring. Brinng. Then a rapid, almost desperate bringbringbringbringbring. I was exhausted, but this sound was strange enough, and drove me crazy enough, to get up, trudge down the hall and investigate. It wasn’t hard to locate. A furious paced bringbringbringbringbring drew me straight to the source.
Our blue heeler male was trying to dig through the metal grate door on the golden lab’s crate to get her out. Liberate her. Spring her from jail. Take her out dancing. Oh, just great. And that was totally sarcastic. She ‘s coming in heat. again. Muttered dark threats as I crammed Winter into his own crate for the remainder of the night. It’s pathetic when looking at a wiggling wet nose and pair of pleading black eyes peering at you from behind bars puts you thisclose to indulging in one of those “Neener, neener, neeeener” choruses as the latch snaps shut. Yes, exhaustion has the power to turn us all into strange folk.
We cheated and dined out while chasing down Turkey Day ingredients. I’m not proud of it, but I came close to running Hubby down with the wobble-wheeled shopping cart I got stuck with. All I wanted was to get things done and over with so we could go home. HE wanted to inspect every item. Weigh. Squeeze. Sniff. Compare. My left eyebrow went up when he tried to change the menu mid shopping trip. The other one joined it when he had the audacity to make suggestions for preparation. As if a man who ordered spicy chicken at the Thai restaurant — then shook red pepper flakes atop it, and then nearly gave himself carpel tunnel wringing the black pepper mill before he thought it suficiently sprinkled, only to shake Tabasco sauce over everything as an after thought — had any business offering culinary instructions.
Heard the kids laughing hysterically. The kind of laughter that makes you smile and just have to go see what’s causing all that joy. As I neared the knot of children clogging the hall I heard the tortured gagging of a cat trying to rid himself of a fur ball. Nothing funny enough to warrant maniacal giggling. But then I noticed each gag had the strangest echo. Didn’t understand until Hubby stumbled past me in a rush, eyes watery, face a sickly green, doing some pretty impressive gagging of his own. Was I sympathetic? No. I joined the herd of laughing, pointing children hot on his heels. He bolted inside the bathroom and shut the door, slamming it right in my grinning face.
Over the course of a few days, I noticed our grandson’s dog, Smokey, was spending an inordinate amount of time on his back under the coffee table, legs splayed like an overcooked turkey, wagging his tail. I couldn’t take looking at him like that any more, grabbed him by the back paws and slid him out from underneath it. Nearly screamed when his lips stretched in a grotesque pink stringing line from the bottom of the table to where I’d skidded him to a stop on the area rug. It took a moment, but as soon as I got over my shuddering fit enough to realize he hadn’t yowled in pain, I looked closer. Understanding dawned.
Proper methods for gum disposal would be the subject of the next family meeting, with the adamant declaration that stuck to the underside the coffee table is not one of them.
We had our traditional bonfire with marshmallows. We’ve done this often enough that I gather together a collection of water containers to place strategically around the fire pit. Invariably someone always catches a marshmallow on fire, and mistakenly tries to ‘wave’ it out in the air. Next thing you know we’re diving for cover to avoid flaming marshmallow, slung to land God knows where. Hubby still moves pretty quick. But then a glob of flaming goo splatted on the back of a jacket is wonderful incentive.
But my baby sister took the cake when we talked about being thankful and needing to dismiss things that don’t really matter anyway. Our mother always encouraged us to live life, view it with wonder, and be our selves to the fullest. She’s even managed to do so from beyond death. When our mom died she requested a particular song to be played as her casket was wheeled to the waiting hearse. The most memorable part of the refrain is “If you get the choice to sit it out or dance . . . I hope you dance!” It has carried a special meaning for us ever since, her own continuing encouragement every time we happen to hear it. Baby sister posted a Thanksgiving message that ended with:
“Think I’m gonna go dance now. But I gotta warn you. I’m white and Baptist, so it might not be a pretty sight.”
I had to laugh. And all I can say is, “Dance, baby! Mama’s watching and loving every minute of it!” With that said, if you’re ever given an option, I hope not a single one of you ever stays in your seat.