So instead, I will talk a bit about something a random person from my past (which might have been Cheryl Evry, not sure) coined, "Happy Turkey Day." Yes, Thanksgiving is this week, and we're doing the same thing we do every year: offer our house to random friends who might have nowhere to go or where they would have gone would suck. The guest list expands and contracts every year. Sometimes it's just been CR, Christine, and myself. Other times we've had up to six other people. Many times we leave an invitation open to a friend who has somewhere else to go, but they are looking for a way out. Like those friends who have families prone to psychodramas. I mean, more than normal people.
I have already spoke of my past on this issue, and the only memories I have other than misery are few. If my mother was sober enough to make the big dinner, it was just us three, some turkey, some potatoes, maybe stuffing and cranberries. We'd cook the giblets and give them to the cats. I didn't even know of stuff like "pumpkin pie," "green bean casserole," and "sweet potatoes," because my mother never cooked those. I learned about them when I got much older, and started spending Thanksgiving at friend's houses. I never even knew cranberries came in a column of gelatin, my mother made hers from raw cranberries, that were stewed in something slightly sweet, and they went on the side of your plate and were eaten like one would eat a vegetable side. Of course, those Thanksgivings weren't a wonderland, either, since I recall most of them were eaten in silence, and when I tried to start a conversation, I got, "Shhhh... TV's on." TV was a small color TV on a windowbox at the end of the table, and it almost served like a revered guest.
The first, GOOD Thanksgiving I had was when I was 19. I was living with Bruce and Cheryl, and it was a blast. One day in late October, Bruce and I were shopping at Magruder's, when Bruce saw a sign that said, "Pre-order your turkey." We planned to have a lot of people over for Thanksgiving, so we went to the table, and they man asked "how many pounds?" We asked how big they got. "I dunno," said the guy at the table. "I don't have a limit on this sign-up sheet." So we said, "35 pounds," because we figured that would be way more than enough, and we doubted that a turkey over 30 pounds in weight existed. The guy at the table agreed, but saw our logic, and put down 35 lbs. A few days before Thanksgiving, we got a call that our 35 lb turkey was ready. "How big is it?" Bruce asked. "Thirty-five pounds, sir. Wow!"
It was 35 pounds. It was huge. It wouldn't fit in a normal roasting pan, and finally we resorted to taking two large disposable roasting pans, breaking the sides out, and making one big pan out of it. It took a while to cook, but when it did, the meat fell off the bones. It was tender, juicy, and wonderful. Our guests included Bruce's sister and her family. One of them was a kid was 13 (Kevin?) who we were told puts ketchup on "everything." I assumed that was an exaggeration, but no, he put it on everything: turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberries ... everything. He even brought his own bottle.
When I started dating Christine, I went to her house for Thanksgiving. She grew up to this HUGE family affair, like the kind you see in magazines. See, at the time, the whole family was held together by one dominant matriarch we all knew as "Nanny." Nanny was Christine's maternal grandmother, and the whole family centered on her. Many people thought she was mean and cruel sometimes, but I never got on her bad side (it was at Thanksgiving that she official approved of me, and said so to everybody), so all I have to prove that was stories from the past. When Nanny died a few years later, the family just fragmented and hardly any of them speak to each other anymore. Christine misses the huge gatherings a lot.
So that's kind of why we open our house to friends. We don't have a big family, and we like a lot of people, and we want to help out those who want somewhere to go where it won't be all formal, stuffy, and psychodramatic. "I don't want to cook a big meal if it's just three of us," she says.
This year, we've invited Anya and Matt (whose both sets of parents moved away this year), Bruce and Cheryl, Sara (Sawa), Brad, and Rogue. Plus if anyone needs us at the last moment ("My mother is driving me MAD!"). We're not sure if all of them will come, because some will come only if other plans fall through, while others have no idea if they are working over Thanksgiving or not. But the inivitation stands open.
In other news, I have been "hired" by a friend to help them rewire an old building in downtown Baltimore tomorrow to a modern computer network. It's more of an exchange for information and experience kind of thing, but I think I am getting the better end of this bargain. I have to connect some antique computer equipment (we're talking dot matrix printers the size of water coolers), older computers, and newer computers from three separate crude networks into one streamlines network on a new DSL line. The building I will be working in is like 120 years old or something. Some other claims to fame, it was used as a set in the Chris Rock/Bernie Mac film, "Head of State." I wonder if I'll meet any rats! This is charity work because the group I will be working with can't afford to pay anyone the $150/hr for a network dude, so it will be me and four other people trying to upgrade this network. But the experience will be very gratifying. I have ordered their supplies, so I hope they are there when I get there tomorrow...
This entry was originally posted at http://www.punkwalrus.com/blog/archives/00000294.html