With the approach of Thanksgiving, my thoughts turn to my little sister, because one thing for which I'm always thankful is my sister's approach to life. She just keeps on. She showed her early promise the year my parents agreed to have Thanksgiving dinner at my aunt's (Pop's older sister, to be precise). To their dying day they quarreled about who had consented to go, each blaming the other, but we went. Aunt Clarabelle was the worst cook in the family and everyone knew it.
|random eBay offering of old|
pic of patient little girl with sausage curls
Alas, the car was fine. "We who are about to die salute you," Pop declaimed as he opened the doors for his ladies. And off we went to the land of pink silk lampshades and plastic slipcovers.
Pop wrinkled his nose as we stepped indoors, nothing smelled bad, but there weren't any enticing aromas either. I thought I detected Lemon Pledge. It's a bad sign when a meal is being cooked and the family dog chooses to hang out in front of the television.
The grown-ups were issued teeny cocktails, and Little Clotilde and I were offered a choice of ginger ale or prune juice. Aunt Clarabelle was a devoted reader of magazines, and she shared the information that the shortcut turkey tips, the stuffing recipe, and the creatively approached side dishes were all new to the repertoire this year. Pop looked around for a larger glass, humming. "Are you humming?"
"Oh, sorry, a tune from some opera just popped into my head and now I can't get rid of it, you know how it is..." Pop had a wicked grin that we always looked forward to, here it was and Little Clotilde and I were almost dancing with anticipation.
"Don't fidget, girls, what opera?"
At that moment Mom grabbed us by the elbows, one a side, and bustled us to the pink-and-gold powder room to wash our hands. She used the privacy to remind us again that we were guests, we would mind our manners, we would not poke one another, we would try to eat what was put in front of us without making awful noises, and each of us would find something nice to say or allowances would be withheld.
Aunt Clarabelle had been putting finishing touches on her platters and apparently Uncle Er wasn't an opera-lover, for no one seemed to have taken offense at Pop's humming, and we were waved over to the table. Silver was gleaming, dishes were shining, laden with - hard to tell. I recognized celery and olives and a bowl of throbbing homemade cranberry relish.
At the sideboard Uncle Er was trying to subdue a burnt pelican, which despite being dead, was fighting back.
And now for Little Clotilde: Big smile, cute little arms held out wide, "OHBOYOHBOY! Everything I don't like!"
This is a good place to stop.
Oh, right, Uncle Er. He disliked the name his parents had given him and chose one he liked better as soon as he could. Pop considered this ridiculous and refused to indulge Er by calling him by his new name, and Er refused to answer to the old one. To keep the peace, Pop just called him Er, and we children respectfully called him Uncle Er.
Just curious -- who holds the title of
Worst Cook in your house?
Worst Cook in your house?