We tried, but, as usual, failed to escape Thanksgiving.
“Let’s go to Sam’s,” I said to Mary when the subject came up, “and have a large pizza with cranberry topping.”
It’s not that we are antisocial — we do care for our relatives, but when they’re foregathered all at once it can be overwhelming, especially if you are — as Mary often is — the designated cook. (I, being the designated joyful one, have an equally arduous task.)
She was let off the hook somewhat this Thanksgiving, having only to make three shepherd pies and turkey soup for 14 for the day after.
Somewhere she heard that roasted turkey might turn out better if cut up a bit. The butcher advised against it — with reason as it turned out, for the various parts ended up unevenly cooked, some hardly at all. Which got her to worrying so about salmonella that she was ready to chuck everything and start anew with a whole new one.
“See, I told you I didn’t think I’d be very good company this Thanksgiving,” she imagined herself saying to her siblings as reports of salmonella poisoning began to come in.
“Salmonella Mary. . . . It has a nice ring to it,” I said. “And you alone will be left to inherit your mother’s estate.”
Gavin, our son-in-law, a chef, among other things, who, even though he was still in mourning for the Broncos’ recent last-minute loss to the Patriots, rallied to reassure her that everything would be all right.
“See,” I said to Mary this morning. “I ate a turkey sandwich last night, and I’m still . . . aaargh, aaargh, gasp, gasp, oh, Jesus, oh my God! Still . . . still. . . .”
I quickly got up from the floor because I didn’t want to overdo it. “Still here!”
“Okay, you can taste the soup now,” she said a while later. “And tell me if it needs salt.”
I dipped the spoon in — gingerly, eyeing her carefully, inasmuch as I was reluctant to take leave of my that it was very savory as it was. As was she.
“I don’t know what I’d do without you,” she said brightly.
I, of course, was happy in the knowledge that she still likes having me around. . . . At least I think she does . . . for most of the time . . . for much of the time, anyway . . . in small cathartic doses then; let’s leave it at that.