Wednesday, November 21, 2012

there's no place like home for the holidays

I'm not a big "holiday" person. I don't hate the holidays, I just don't get caught up in the harried, plan-making and obligatory get-togethering that normally comes with end-of-year festivities. My wife — who loves that kind of stuff — usually makes the arrangements and I just accompany her (sort of like an attentive puppy or a clothing accessory).

For the past several years, we have been invited to Thanksgiving dinner at my wife's brother's house. He lives just outside of Atlantic City, so given Mrs. P's affinity for casino games, it was like a bonus. My brother-in-law would go all out, proudly reigning over his kitchen, preparing and checking and orchestrating a lavish vegetarian Thanksgiving dinner. Soup, salad, rolls, fresh vegetables were served, as well as the crowning glory of any traditional vegetarian Thanksgiving meal - the tofurky (a softball-sized pre-fabricated mass of tofu, spices and seasoning stuffed with a savory, rice-y mixture). It is way better than it looks, though hardly a substitute for real poultry. My wife (not a vegetarian) would happily forgo actual turkey flesh and join the rest of the herbivores, because my brother-in-law's feast was just that good.

Sometime in October of this year, my mother-in-law told my wife that she received an invitation for Thanksgiving from Crissy, my brother-in-law's spouse. While very nice, Crissy is a wee bit on the — shall we say — "quirky" side. My mother-in-law had to decline the invite. She and my father-in-law planned to spend time with GG (my wife's 102-year-old grandmother) at the assisted-living facility where she resides. Afterwards, they would return home and have a quiet turkey dinner for two.

My wife speaks with Crissy regularly, talking about work and life and our children (their 4 year-old and our 25 year-old)  — but no mention of Thanksgiving ever crept into recent conversation.

Three days before Thanksgiving, my brother-in-law called and my wife answered the phone.

"Hey!," he began, "Are we going to see you on Thanksgiving?"

"Thanksgiving?," she replied, "No, we weren't invited."

He laughed. "No, really. Are you guys coming?"

Again, my wife repeated, "We weren't invited. I'm not angry or anything. We just didn't get an invitation."

Suddenly the sound from the phone became muffled. My brother-in-law had slid a hand over the mouthpiece. Mrs. P heard the garbled noises of a barely audible side conversation. She was, however, able to make out a few words — "invite" "sister" and "dinner" were some of them. The audio returned to normal and my brother-in-law said, "Well, okay, happy Thanksgiving." and he hung up.

We're having Thanksgiving dinner this year with my wife's parents.


No comments:

Post a Comment