23 November 2007

As a child

The turkey has been eaten and we've disposed of the body. Tomorrow is trash day, after all.

The brother arrived in state (really, driving a rental Mercedes, which made all of us laugh) bearing gifts of Stone IPA and sunflowers. I put out food and more food, and cooked more food, and the smell of roasting turkey was as wonderful as it ever is.

Even the giblets didn't smell bad stewing away in their pot.

My dutch oven was destroyed in a small catastrophe last week, and I did find myself somewhat bereft. Down one pot, and it was more difficult to cook!

The daughter made cloverleaf rolls, the son ate an entire can of black olives except for the four I managed to grab. My brother and I were almost solely responsible for taking out a wheel of cheese. Around here, we like the collective names of things: murder of crows, pod of dolphins. I think this was a heart attack of cheese.

Two full boxes of Carr's crackers disappeared down the assembled gullets.

When I redesigned my kitchen, I wanted it to be a place of gathering since people always seem to end up in the kitchen. And so it was: the daughter came and went and the son, and the brother and the spouse and I chatted and snacked while I cooked. It was all very companionable. Every few minutes I forgot what I was doing and had to consult my list, but everything went into the oven when it was supposed to, and came out of the oven when it was supposed to, and we were ready to eat exactly two hours after I had planned to, which was about right.

It's entirely possible that this was the most perfect turkey I have ever cooked. It was juicy and tender, and the spouse was joined by my brother in ripping off the crunchy skin. Amazing what food is like when it is cooked with love.

We solved the problems of the world over dinner, after the brother offered grace, blessing us all and everyone, and most especially our troops. We are a military family, though few members have been career military, and those who serve hold a special place for us, always.

By the end of dinner, I had been elected president. Again.

We took a walk through the neighborhood and admired all the gatherings and the screaming children and the general happy mayhem.

Over pumpkin and mincemeat pie, eggnog and coffee, we planned our strategy for survival of the zombie apocalypse. Ultimately, we decided it all hinged on the beer.

When we were children, the best thing about holiday dinners was that our father would start telling stories of his childhood and his time in Africa. We hung transfixed on every word, and as we grew, we would ask him to tell our favorites: the time our uncle blew up our aunt's school bell with a blasting cap, about his chimp getting drunk on banana beer.

In the midst of strategizing the zombie apocalypse, my brother and I started talking about 28 Weeks Later.

"It was the soundtrack!" I told him. "I'd forgotten how effective the music in 28 Days Later was, and when I heard it again, all I could think was 'uuuuuuh-oooooooh.'"

"'Tubular Bells,'" he said. "I still can't listen to 'Tubular Bells.'"

"We have that!" the son piped up.

"Wasn't it you and E. who sneaked behind the drive-in and watched The Exorcist? I just remember you coming back in the house and both of you couldn't do anything but stare," I told him. And talk shifted to music, and the radio stations we listened to, and the crystal radio that gave us access to a brave new world.

All night, I watched my children hanging on our words.

Go listen to some good music: "As a Child" from the album 99.9 F by Suzanne Vega.

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