Monday, November 28, 2011
At some point during my teenage years my grandmother (on my father's side) decided to take charge of Thanksgiving dinner. "To save my mother work," was the excuse. But my grandmother lived in a small apartment and didn't know how to cook, so taking charge meant eating Thanksgiving dinner at a restaurant and she would pay for it. The nearest restaurant was on the first floor of her apartment house. A cold, cavernous room at the best of times, on Thanksgiving it was almost empty, except for a few lonely widows or widowers or others who lacked family ties. The waiters were stiff, the menus were stiff, the napkins were stiff, and as a result the conversation was stiff. Actually, we were afraid to raise our voices for fear an echo would come roaring back at us, like a Bush man's boomerang and knock us dead. And of course there were no left-overs. (The custom of taking home what you couldn't eat in a baggie had not been invented yet.)
Nowadays when my brother and I have families of our own, and we are together on Thanksgiving, I wait for him to give me the high sign, and while others linger over their coffee and pumpkin pie, we sneak into the kitchen to enjoy our ritual of picking at the carcass.