We’re driving to New Orleans tomorrow to spend Thanksgiving with our two daughters. The younger one is still in college and the older one has graduated and stayed in New Orleans. Her boyfriend is a chef at one of the top restaurants in town and he’ll be preparing the meal for us and approximately twenty-five of their closest friends. The menu includes Roast Suckling Pig, Turkey with Oyster Stuffing, Sweet Potato Casserole with Apple Puree, and Cheddar Biscuits with Olives, among other things.
“Shall I bring a Green Bean Casserole?” I asked my daughter tentatively.
“No, mom, thanks. We’ve got it covered,” she responded in a tone indicating she saw trouble coming and was attempting to head it off.
As with most of the country, we’re approaching this most-American of all holidays with a great deal of anticipation and reservation. Where else but at Thanksgiving do you celebrate so much togetherness, love, and unresolved conflict around a big, heavily-laden table? Add a well-stocked bar to the mix and the potential for family drama goes through the roof.
I’ve promised my husband to be on my best behavior.
My daughter, when I talked to her last week, sounded confident and unconcerned. After all, she and Mason hosted a similar crowd last Thanksgiving and everything went off without a hitch, except for the deep-fried turkey which somehow got left in the fryer after someone broke out the Jamaican Qualude Shooters. We were not at this celebration but have heard the legendary stories of the charred turkey which was greeted (perhaps owing to the Jamaican Qualudes) with cheers and gales of laughter. Mason served it up on a silver tray.
I am determined that this year’s Thanksgiving will go off without a hitch, by God. I will help my daughter whether she wants it or not.
“Shall I bring the sterling?” I asked her.
“No, mom, please don’t.”
“Oh? Do you have enough silverware for twenty-five people?”
“Actually, this year I’m making it easy on myself and everyone else. I’m using throw-away plates, utensils, and glasses.”
“You’re using plastic? For Thanksgiving?”
There was a pause while I imagined my daughter rolling her eyes and making obscene gestures at the phone. Still, she majored in psychology. Her education comes in handy when profiling serial killers or dealing with passive-aggressive mothers. Her voice, when she finally spoke, was calm and detached.
“Actually, they make really cute plastic ware these days. It looks a lot like the real stuff. You won’t be able to tell until you pick it up.”
“Oh?” I said doubtfully. “Well, if you’re okay with that.”
“I am, mom. I’m okay with it.”
My husband, seated across the room, was slowing drawing his finger across his throat and shaking his head.
“Oh, all right,” I said to him later. “I won’t say a word about anything. I’ll just keep my mouth shut and drink Jamaican Qualades with everyone else and let Lauren and Mason handle everything.”
“I think that would be best,” he said agreeably.
We leave tomorrow for Thanksgiving in New Orleans. I have been meditating to ready myself for the occasion.
No doubt, my daughter is doing the same.