I’m full. And I’m on some kinda tryptophan high that’s making my eyes point in two different directions. What’s that you say? Thanksgiving was what? The day before yesterday??? Well then why do I still feel like a small Asian man after a hot-dog eating contest?
Okay, maybe – and this is just a theory – but, maybe, it’s because I haven’t actually stopped gorging on turkey and potatoes and pie and biscuits and corn and pie and stuffing and gravy and sweet potatoes and pie and Jell-O (which I made sans prefab box and so turned out to be lacking the “oh” factor, so I call it Jell-meh, instead). Oh, and pie. I mean, I really have no idea, but that could have something to do with why I feel like a bloated walrus…ya know…just maybe…
Can anyone tell me when, exactly, this holiday turned into a raging feast of butter and cream and hydrogenated oil? I mean really, do you think that was the original intention? Like, I just can’t see those cute little Pilgrims (wearing sailboat hats made from newspaper) and the Indians (in their grocery bag vests) sitting down and eating like four months worth of food in one meal. And that, my friends, is what I have done in the last 36 hours. Four months worth of food. 36 hours. I’m pretty sure if the they saw me throwing back 237,000 calories in one sitting, our forefathers would haul my jiggling butt out to Plymouth rock, pop me with a musket, scalp me, skin me, and tan my hide to make shoes and crap. And I would deserve it.
So anyway…This year, we had a little Thanksgiving soiree at our house. The first real dinner party we’ve had in more than 2 years. It was so fun for me, so cool to plan and prepare for. El Chupacabra and I realized that it’s something that we really miss.
We had people over all the time in the states, eating, drinking, talking, hanging out until wee hours. Either that, or we were doing the same thing at somebody else place. We spent countless nights sitting around the table at our house, or on the neighbors front porch, or under the arbor and grape-vines at our friends house, or – ooh, one of our most beloved activities – in the hot tub, mingling cigar smoke with steam, talking and looking for the perfect combination of body parts submerged in the too-hot water and body parts exposed to the too-cold air. Eventually, we all found our individual sweet spot and then nobody would move for ages, until the men would suddenly jump from the hot-tub and cannon-ball into the freezing cold pool in a bizarre mix of male bonding and masochism. (By the way, if you have never seen El Chupacabra do a cannon-ball, you have not lived.) It was over wine glasses and coffee cups and through mouths stuffed with tri-tip and cheesecake that passed the intimate details of our lives. That’s how we laughed together, teased each other, encouraged one another. Ultimately, that is how we fell in love with each other. It was the romance of deep and lasting friendship. Which is, maybe, why I feel today as though I’ve been through some kind of divorce.
Making new friends is a lot like dating. But with less awkwardness. And with more clothes. But you still go through all the same phases. First you look for visual appeal, then you hang out in the general vicinity, watching, listening…lurking…to establish if there are shared interests, sense of humor, chemistry, whatever. And then comes the hard part – the invitation. This comes after you’ve both at one time or another done the whole “We should totally hang out sometime.” but before anyone has actually set said time. You’ve just been flirting with the idea of being *gulp* friends, but now it’s time to see if it could actually work.
It goes something like this “Hey, a couple of people are gonna hang out at my house on Thanksgiving. You should totally come. I mean, it’s not gonna be any big thing, just like a few people and some turkey and stuff…but you should come…you know…if you want…” If your potential friend says they can’t make it you might feel relieved because you’re actually kind of nervous that things might not “work out” between you. And if they can come, you go ape-crazy making everything perfectly perfect so you can blow it all off when they walk in the door, “Oh, that? Pshhh, that’s really nothing…I’ve been building scale replicas of 12th century churches out of hors d’oeuvre foods since…like…yesterday… Can I get you a drink?”
And so that is how we ended up having a Thanksgiving dinner party. Kind of. And it was really fun. And there was WAY too much amazing food. Which resulted in WAY too many left-overs! Which is why I am currently, three days later, eating a turkey-mashed-potato-stuffing-cranberry-and-gravy sandwich that is approximately 9 inches tall. And why my entire house smells like a rendering plant (it’s something to do with copious amounts of fats and proteins being broken down in the gullets of male species. The smell is….indescribable….).
But the cool part is that after the last “goodnight, let’s do this again soon” was said, and all the tupperware was filled up, and after all the dishes were put back in the cupboards, and the dogs were allowed inside to lick up all of the crumbs from a feast well-eaten, after all of that, El Chupacabra and I schlumped onto the couch together, exhausted, and he said “That was really nice.” And he was right, it was really nice. Nice to chat and laugh and eat. (And eat and eat.) Nice to learn a bit more about someone else, to see more of who they really are, to hear about where they come from. This is how it began with every single one of my very dearest friends. Like a first date. Except, minus all that fretting over to-kiss-or-not-to-kiss.
I wonder what kinds of friendships were forged around the first Thanksgiving table? If maybe a settler wife and an indian woman connected over corn cobs and game birds and junk. And if the guys compared notes about, like,..man..stuff. They probably never got to smoke cigars together in a hot-tub, which is pretty tragic, but I bet they had other kinds of fun getting to know each other as the years passed. And then they could be like, “Hey, brother Henry, remember that one Thanksgiving, when that one chick ate so much we took her out to Plymouth rock and shot her full of musket balls? She was bleeding mayonnaise or something, right?? Haha…good times, good times.” You know, or whatever. The point is; Friendship = Good times.
Oh hey, speaking of mayo and stuff, does anyone know how to clean butter, grease, and gravy fingerprints off a Mac keyboard? I’m just wondering.