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Monday, November 28, 2005

Technical Fowl

Before our holiday guests arrived Thursday, my little family hurried around getting things cooked and cleaned. The kids cleaned their rooms, helped peel potatoes and chopped celery and onions, and fought over the food processor. That's a nice, safe game, huh?

After I cleaned the bird, Mr. Lane stuffed it while offering perverted commentary. "Oh yeah, turkey, I am so gonna stuff you. Who's a dirty birdy? Say my name bitch," he said while offering the fowl spankings and enjoying himself a little too much.

I promptly kicked him out of the kitchen once that job was done. I was afraid to see what he might do with the turkey baster.

Our guests arrived with their arms full. Mom, Anita and her daughter, Angie and her two kids all carried something covered in foil. Because the guys didn't come with my sisters, this was the very first Thanksgiving in my life, where football was not on the TV. It was weird but nice not having all of the "Fumble!" shouts from the living room.

After Mom searched for the hidden tape recorder and came up empty, she finally settled in. She yelled at me for leaving her accident out of the last post. I didn't exactly forget that happened, I just don't like thinking about it because I can see it all over again. Not a pretty picture .

She was more than prepared for my cooking failure. Either that or she was a boy scout in a past life. She brought a ham, stuffing, an apple pie, a pumpkin pie, olives, cranberries and told Anita to bring a cake. Angie was off the hook because she is still recuperating from her accident. My brothers were with their families and Mary was cooking her very first turkey at her house. According to her neighbors who I secretly interviewed, "Nuttin' smelt burnt."

Mom seemed surprised when she breathed in the cooking aroma, and said the "gamey" turkey smelt like a "regular" turkey. She took a peek as I basted the 24-pounder. She proclaimed it even looked like a "regular" turkey. I think she said it was a "Nice looking bird. Too bad it's probably gamey."

Growing up we always had frozen, grocery store turkeys, instant mashed potatoes and frozen or canned vegetables with our Thanksgiving Day feast. When Mom found out our turkey was coming straight off of the farm, she wasn't thrilled.

It isn't like I walked over to the farm introduced myself to the turkey and said, "Tom Turkey, come with me." I couldn't see one walking around and then eat it the next day. But, Mr. Lane could. Like my sister Angie says, "I don't wanna know my food." And that's why husbands were invented.

Mom became concerned when she saw me steaming fresh asparagus and broccoli. "Lo, why go through all that trouble? Just nuke them."

Anita gave me the look. The "Lo, it's a holiday. Don't kill Mom," look. So I shook my head and continued to burn my arms with the steam. I guess she probably expects me to cook exactly like she does, since she was my first teacher. I'm officially married to a farmer (again), how can I justify frozen bowling ball birds and canned veggies? I can't.

Mom also curled her nose up at the pot of potatoes on the stove. "What's this?"

"Potatoes. When everything is just about done, I'll mash them."

She then gave me the raised eyebrow look. You know the one I'm talking about. Her face was exactly the way I remember mine and my siblings' faces when we would catch her in the kitchen making some funky looking casserole.

It dawned on me. Mom had a shit load of people to feed. Any shortcut she could find, she used and became accustomed to. Hell I probably would too. Just the potatoes alone took me and Lane 1 almost an hour to peel. Who has that kind of time with a house full of people?

Finally, all was said and done. Tummies were full and Anita (the helpful, wonderful, prettiest sister) was doing dishes. Angie was goofing off with Mr. Lane talking about Angie's asthma, epileptic, black-eyed crazy self and something about pink and stink. Who knows, maybe those two crazy asses will run off together and become rappers. The kids were playing. Mom was still acting like a guest, complaining that she couldn't smoke without the door open. I know, I'm an evil daughter wanting my sister Angie to be able to breathe.

Tomorrow, maybe I'll tell you about my guests who mysteriously became ill overnight. Maybe.