For flowers that bloom about our feet;
For tender grass, so fresh, so sweet;
For song of bird, and hum of bee;
For all things fair we hear or see;
Father in heaven, we thank thee!
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Where was Ralph Waldo Emerson when I needed him? LOL. Last evening, as I was getting out all the kitchen items I need to prepare Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday, I was thinking about Thanksgiving 1989, the first Thanksgiving Alan and I shared after we became engaged. Well, we had actually spent more then one Thanksgiving together, but it was as friends, this was our first as a real couple. we have known each other since we were teenagers, so there were several holidays spent together... but separate. Anyway, as actual marrieds-to-be it all seemed different somehow, it was now "festive," and I was invited to have the holiday dinner at his parents house, which seemed like it would be nice, because my family and holidays was never a good combo.
I arrived right on time, and everything was lovely. They had put up the Christmas tree in the living room, and you could smell all the usual holiday scents wafting from the kitchen. Yams, fresh baked bread, cornbread stuffing, and an assortment of pies. YUM. And then there was the smell of the turkey in the oven. YUCK! See, it had only been about a year since I had experienced the worst case of food poisoning in the history of food poisoning, and at the hands of my former boyfriend's mother no less, by way of what I imagine to have been a very pissed of turkey. Oh my, it made me tremble to think about it. How was I going to get through this dinner? Alan had told me I didn't have to eat any of the turkey, but I couldn't NOT have some of the turkey, after all, she made it herself, and it would have been rude... right? And she was a professional chef, so how dangerous could it be? Right?
When the time came, we all sat down to the table, Alan, his parents, Alan's aunt & uncle, two of my mother-in-laws friends from church, Alan's best friend, and his girl friend and Alan's brother Daryl and his fiance. It was a nice big gathering, and that seemed nice, as it would take a lot of pressure of me. the conversation was flowing nicely, as everyone seemed to take turns asking Alan and myself about our wedding plans, and honeymoon plans. We hadn't planned too much at that point, just the date and my dress had been decided on. That conversation flow went quickly. LOL. Before too long it was time for the arrival of what looked like a 65 lb turkey. I was really hungry, but with that turkey in front of me, all I could think about was...BARF. I must have been 9 shades of green. LOL. Then it happened... my future mother-in-law asked me to say GRACE. Oh no!
I am a Methodist. I was raised somewhat Baptist, and found out when I was 37 that I am actually Jewish. A fact my mother chose not to share with me. Sigh. But anyway, while I had spent a little time in church, and new what prayer was, I had never actually said grace. LOL. Now, here I am, in a room with people I felt I needed to impress, and no clue what to say. My eyes darted to Alan, who was sitting there beaming with pride, he was no help. It was clear he had no idea of the sudden onset of terror I was feeling. I was alone. Can I faint now... please?No, of course not, so I took a deep breath, bowed my head, closed my eyes, and jumped right in...
"Oh dear Lord, thank you for this wondrous day and the fine bird which gave up it's life so we could nourish our extending bodies. (Extending bodies?). And thank you for making it ok to eat these feathered friends of ours, these noblest of all birds. (Noblest of all birds?). For they are our friends sent by you and placed in the hands of ones, mothers, and fathers too I suppose, like this mother and father, who cook for their children and near children and the friends of children and their relatives, and of their bosses. GOD, I ask that you bless all their bodies, the people not the turkeys, well the turkeys also I guess, who again, gave up their young lives, their young but plump lives. And thank you for the hands and feet of the woman who prepared this meal, and her back also, which I am sure is sore by now, from all the preparations, thank you for the whole of her.(Whole of her?). (SHIIIIIIITTTTT!) Ummm...In YOUR NAME I PRAY... AMEN"
In my head, a rather LOUD version of "Turkey In The Straw" was playing. Why oh why hadn't I just gone for, "Rub-a-dub-dub, thanks God for the grub?"
I reluctantly opened my eyes, and what I saw was a table full of blankest faces you ever saw...which all erupted into a huge belly laugh of hysterics. ROFLMAO! It was funny, I knew it was funny, so I laughed also. We all laughed for close to five minutes. Mom put the turkey back in the kitchen, Dad carved it in there because the scent was really getting to me, and in fact, Mom had fixed Alan and I a pork chops, I just hadn't realized it when I sat down at the table. The only reason she had brought the whole turkey to the table, was because she didn't know that just the sight of the turkey upset me. LOL. I could have been more forthcoming about that, I was just wanting to be a good daughter-in-law to be. She and I laugh about that terrible prayer every year. We will probably call back east on Thanksgiving, to wish she and Dad a happy holiday, and I know she and I will be laughing together again. It's Thanksgiving.
PS If you are wondering about the title of this entry, that is how I pronounced "Happy Thanksgiving when I was a child." LOL. :)
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