Thursday, November 27, 2008

conscientious objector

Although I have a thousand stories about her. I don't have all that many that specifically pertain to thanksgiving. A couple predictable ones- the time the oven door failed and launched the turkey across the kitchen floor while it was being basted comes to mind. The mind hearkens back to the jello dish that got nicknamed "aluminum salad" for reasons that indicate a possibility of inadvertent metallic contamination. But today's tale is one in which I have more of an active role than was usual.

It was Thanksgiving Day, 1964, and as had been customary, after our own holiday dinner we would head over to my grandparents for leftovers and dessert. My Mother, on this particular year, was exhausted from preparing her own feast and did not feel like attending. She explained her reasons to my father in front of cute little toddler me, but made no admonition that these were not to be shared.

Here I digress. At my grandparent's gathering, it was customary for the daughters to help serve and the daughters-in-law to clean up. Mom referred to it as the in-laws and the outlaws, and her adherence to the policy was tepid at best.

My father, my brother, and I crunched through the snowy driveway up the stairs and into the kitchen of the old farmhouse. The cast iron stove was blazing and the room was toasty warm as we unbuckled our galoshes on the red and yellow linoleum floor and removed our heavy winter coats. Grandmother greeted us with a big smile. "Where's your Mother?", she asked. "She stayed home", I blurted out. She said she didn't want to do the dishes".

It's a good thing I was so cute.


Willym said...

And have remained so but probably deserved a smack across the back of the head for that one.

Birdie said...

I learned quickly but not quickly enough that certain things must not be said in earshot of a preschooler. They not only repeat it, they do so at top volume at the worst possible time.

Lovely memory of your mom, Jeff. She's smiling as you remember.

Al said...

Love it!

BigAssBelle said...

ah, your mother was a kindred spirit of mine. i detest ~ have always detested ~ family gatherings where the men lounge around and the women cook, serve, clean up, while the men lounge around and lounge around and lounge around. kick ass lily, you were well before your time in '64 ;-)