At the end of a long holiday, I always find myself remembering that exact moment in the movie Parenthood where Steve Martin is headed off to coach a game after he's found out an unexpected baby's on the way and Mary Steenburgen says: "oh Gil, do you have to?" And his response is, "My. Whole. Life. Is. Have. To."
It's a ridiculous comparison of course. In that movie, everyone is juggling raising kids, and elderly parents, and grandparents, and multiple unintended pregnancies, and Keanu Reeves as a baby daddy. I only have parents -- whom I love dearly -- all four of em. They're not a burden, they're a pleasure to spend time with. It's just the Holidays I hate. Detest, in fact. The way I see it is this: I had a rare day off work; and there was a Closer marathon on TNT; and, because of Thanksgiving, I didn't get to watch it. I work hard. I'm tired. Sometimes, I just want to lie down. Also, because I'm the best equipped hostess in the family -- by a long shot -- I wish they'd all come HERE. (And then I could watch The Closer, AND cook a four-star dinner...AND play music IIIII like, and not stooooopid Christmas tunes.)
The first glitch of the day was on arrival at the buffet table: WHAT? No fuckin' deviled eggs?! That is an implicit contract in all holiday meals centered in a clerical setting of any kind: there must be deviled eggs. As I told the priest when he asked what was wrong, "think the wheels are comin' off the cart here, Padre."
The upside is, this being an Episcopalian extended-family, they do make alternative libations available.
And they've fallen prey to the same fate that has befallen most organized religion: the new conviction that it is ok to bring store-bought food to community dinners. It isn't. It never will be. Growing up, every grandmother and mother had a signature dish, and was expected to bring it. My grandmother, Nell, and my Aunt Helen's mother, Lucy, had decades of dueling dumplings. This was only resolved -- to some degree -- when my Aunt Helen married my Uncle Don, thereby uniting the two clans....and more importantly, the dumplings. By then, Lucy had died, but her legacy is preserved in the title, used by both sides of the family: Lucy-Dumplins.
The Thanksgiving meal was about 50/50, which is a fairly good average --- several store-bought desserts, various breads from various bakeries (this is acceptable); and the rest was mostly the standard fare of broccoli casserole, green bean casserole, creamed corn, etc. Once I realized there were no fuckin' deviled eggs, I went foraging and was somewhat mollified to find: chicken 'n dumplins and cheese grits, and I quickly sat down with the tranny who brought them and made fast friends -- s/he sent me home with leftovers -- God love 'im/or/'er.
These are a couple pics I snapped across from the Church. I can't wait to see what's up at The Coming Soon Museum .