“Now it’s time for me to make my impression felt
So sit back, relax, and strap on your seat belt”
“Nuthin But a ‘G’ Thang” Dr. Dre
My mom and I just had/are having? The best Thanksgiving ever. I don’t know… I can’t get rid of her. (I’m not trying) It is 8 o’clock on Sunday morning and she finally woke up. She never sleeps this late.
The week before, I was worried because I asked her what she was doing for the holiday. She said, “Your brother is working.” That is not what I asked. Getting a straight answer out of her is like trying to nail Jello to the wall. I told her I was asking a week early because she always waits until Wednesday night to ask if I want to go to my brother’s house and gets upset when I say no. (I don’t want to be stuck at my brother’s place for four days.
She thought it was funny…. etc… She asked if I wanted her to come to my place, “Sure!” I guess she did have plans. She immediately said, “Great, I can bring all the stuff down Wednesday and stay the night and your brother can come down after he gets out of work. I didn’t like it but, hey, it’s only one day, not four.
My mother loves holidays and cooking all the food. Wednesday she kept me updated by text as she packed her car. She was warning me she would be a little late. Late? It’s 11am the day before. I can’t remember; I think she got here around 2pm and that is when the party started. (No, no drugs or alcohol)
I started busting her balls about the Turkey breast still being frozen and her trying to kill me. She told me the instructions gave it 1-3 days to thaw. After nailing her to the wall, I found it had been thawing for 3 days.
She came prepared, but in her usual fashion. She forgot half and remembered half, but she had the essentials Ziploc bags with a dozen plastic spoons? She bought me small glass Sea salt and and Pepper grinders. The kind you find at the grocery store for a dollar. Good for me but I don’t know why she thought I was lacking. I opened my closet and showed her my doomsday prepping situation, which included a pound of salt and a container of rough ground pepper.
I say I busted her balls, but that is what we do and she likes it because she knows she is a little fucked up but she is on top of her game, she just plays by different rules. I was in rare form. I don’t think she was prepared. I had been texting her all year about what I had been doing but editing myself so she wouldn’t worry. But there was no pretending in person. It was fine because I have been in a great mood and I kept her laughing non-stop. She likes laughing loudly and tears were coming out of her eyes and she couldn’t catch her breath.
I don’t remember many of the specifics. I kept her laughing up past her bedtime. The first was peeling the potatoes. She brought a peeler from home and also bought me one from Walmart; it looked like a toy, I said, what is this? “Barbie’s First Potato Peeler?”
Finally got Chinese Food I’ve been craving since Covid started. Feng Shu. I found it when I googled Chinese food near me and it was the only one in town. It had rave reviews on Yelp but it shared a building with Dunkin Donuts, It really is fucking good. They don’t cook until you order and it is ready in 15 minutes and now they have a plexiglass Covid window. We were waiting and my mom had set the 15 minute time on her phone, it went off at the same time owner was yelling our phone number. We were slow and she got pissed and threw the bag through the window. My mom and I were laughing about Seinfeld and calling her the Chinese food Nazi. We spent $40, stuffed ourselves silly and only ate less than half.
She went to bed around midnight and I didn’t want to sleep but thought maybe I should. I opened my eyes not believing how well I slept, went to the living room and it was 2am. I tried to be quiet but woke my mom up and I got her laughing about she is the one to do that at 3am and I can’t get back to sleep. (long story)
I starting telling her how I had to wait for the store to open to get my “eye opener coffee” and I wanted her to try a small cup. Then I wanted to stress the whole “thing” I got going on with the lentils. “mom, mom, look, what am I doing?” I’m measuring out a quarter cup of lentils and a cup of water. “See? I got it down to a science. You think I was kidding? I’ve been doing this every day for 5 years! See? Setting the timer half hour. Then 20 minutes to cool and 10 minutes to eat. I never put this much effort in to eating anything! I never miss a fucking day! Do you think they taste good? They taste like dirt!” “I thought I was doing it to lose weight, I didn’t know anything about what they do for my brain until I googled, “Why do they call mac n cheese comfort food?” I didn’t want to know about asparagus and spinach and… lentils? Fucking lentils?
I told her I don’t do much googling but after eating 2 pounds of Brussel Sprouts like potato chips at midnight, you know, “Stupid me” Lentils came up again! I’m telling you I ate so many Brussel Sprouts they were falling off the plate and I was picking them up off the floor and eating them! I’m not googling shit anymore! I’m just going to eat whatever crazy shit I feel like eating at the time. She thought it was hilarious but she finally got I was serious. I told her I’m not a health nut. Some mornings I go straight to the store and buy 2 greasy sausage and egg sandwiches no problem but I still cook and eat the fucking lentils.
My brother (Buzz Killington) showed up Thursday and my mom cooks her whole life but she is having trouble since I kept her awake the past 36 hours laughing but she is still on top of it. I kept checking in and setting the timer on my phone to remind her, she was staggering around looking confused, but doing pretty well. The good thing was my brother kept his comments to himself and actually had a good time and had to leave early.
I kept her up late Thursday laughing but let her go to bed. I stayed up, I remember talking to myself and laughing in the kitchen. Thinking she is where I got my sense of humor. The funniest thing I kept thinking about was people my age at meetings. The most common concern was how to tell people you don’t drink? What is this high school? I came up with a good answer, “alcohol can have plenty of fun without me.” Then I ate all the chinese food and went to bed laughing.
I woke up in the morning and didn’t hear my mom. I was really afraid I imagined the whole thing. I’m thinking, watch me walk to the living room and nobody will be there and the room will be full of empty beer bottles. Nope. She was sleeping in.
Friday she woke up for a bit and went back to sleep. When she woke up her phone alarm went off and she said it is set to remind her to get out of the house before my fucking brother gets home from work. She is on vacation at my house! It was raining and we kept laughing and I told her how I felt like there was something wrong with me living in this fucking town, I gotta get out of here… when I go to another town people are friendly and smiling and acknowledging I exist.
I had her so daffed out telling her about the store still left in Exeter from years ago and we were going back and forth until she started asking me about if I remember the laundry place next to Woolworth’s. I said, mom, you are remembering things from before I was born.
Saturday we went to Plum Island Wildlife Sanctuary. We’ve been doing it for years but she really loves it now since her sister got her into bird watching. I like it too, we’ve been daytripping there since I was a kid. It’s beautiful. (Daytripper? I remember telling her how everyone loved the Beatles when I was a kid but I was the only one in first grade who knew what they were singing about!) She is a trooper, we drove out to the end and she got out of the car and walked 20 minutes to the ocean. It was below freezing and she was wearing a light jacket. I stayed in the car.
On the way out we saw a group of people with 3 foot long telephoto lenses trying to get a picture of one bird in a tree. We kept driving and saw a flock of at least 30 of the same birds and pulled over and got good pictures with our cell phones. Too funny.
She came up with the idea to get beach pizza (Square slices and “extra cheese” is a slice of provolone. It’s really good. (Childhood memory) We sent to Tripoli’s and she thought we would stand out in the cold and order at the window. Da Fuq? No, let’s go inside they have desserts. Really? Box off eight and two slices of carrot cake. Oh yeah! She said she didn’t know you could go inside, I told her she has to get out of her car once in a while.
Meanwhile, back in the world. This morning she asked if I wanted to go for breakfast at Red’s and see what it is like. Sure… She looked up the menu online and read it out loud, when she got to the “Everything omelette” I said, “That’s what I want, let’s go!” She said, “You know me, it takes for ever to make up my mind, I would rather know what I want before we go.”
We parked and she wondered if she should wear a mask, I said, I don’t think so, you know where we are and she started laughing. “Somebody might punch you in the face.”
They sat us in a booth, the waitress brought us coffee and asked if we knew what we wanted, I told her I do but she (my mother) might need some time. My mom surprised me by knowing she wanted French toast. But the waitress threw a wrench into the works by asking if she wanted powdered sugar. My mom wasn’t expecting that and looked to me confused, I thought oh, no it’s going to be another hour long decision. I told the waitress to stop asking questions and she said, “Okay, I get it, French Toast with powdered sugar. She asked a few waitress questions and if we wanted jelly on the table? I said, I didn’t know it was that kind of place… ha! She got the joke! (I’m thinking, this is why I go out in the real world, I get ghosted for making G rated jokes on dating sites… I don’t want to bang the waitress but it was more fun than saying, “No, thank you.” )
The guy behind me got up to leave and my booth slid across the floor, pressing me into the table. We went off again, posing hypotheticals, (Hostess asks, “Would you like a booth or a table?”, “I don’t know? Which one is bolted to the floor?” Or “Would you like a chair with wheels or would you rather be seated in a stationary position?” etc.. ) I don’t know, shit’s funny, we were the only ones having fun in the place and we were the only ones not drinking. People need to fucking relax.
The food was pretty good and she saw saw a kid with a Patriots jersey and talked about the game being on today. I went off on my rant about people thinking I’m a bandwagon fan and I have to tell them I started watching them 40 years ago on a 13 inch black and white screen filled with static because we were using rabbit ear antennae and we were lucky to get channel 6 out of Maine. It was the only way to watch a game because they sucked so bad the affiliated station in Mass. did a 60 mile media blackout to force people to buy ticket and go the stadium. People may be tired of seeing them win but I say, I watched them suck for 20 years every week hoping they would win at least twice that season, I am having fun watching them win for 20 years.
I said I tell people about life before the internet when they had to print the Boston newspapers at 11pm so they could be delivered to stores by 5am and you could only read about what happened in the first 7 innings off the Red Sox game because it went on until midnight. I tell people I knew how many hits every player had the night before and added them to the stats in the morning paper and kept track of their batting averages and that is how I taught myself percentages. People look at me and ask, “Percentages?” WTF? She was dying!
The waitress asked if we wanted to take anything home and my mother was seriously considering it even though the only thing left on the table was one and a half sausage links. I stopped her and said, yeah, I can imagine looking in the the fridge and seeing those. That got the waitress started about having leftover sausage and onions and how she doesn’t really like it but she cooks it once in a while and as she walked away, she looked back at my mom, “I don’t even know why I bought it that day, I must have been in the mood… ” OMG! I almost slid under the table.
My mom grabbed the check and started calculating 15% in her head, I threw $30 on the table and told her to leave $10 for the tip, it’s worth it because she laughed at my stupid jelly joke and then she made that joke to you about the sausage. She looked confused again, “Sausage joke?” I couldn’t believe I had to explain it to her, “Sausage?”, “not sure why I bought it?”, “Must have been in the mood?” Then she got it, I don’t know how she missed it, that is her kind of joke, then she was laughing so hard she was crying and told me she wet her pants! I said, is that why I have so many stories to tell? I am the only one who keeps his eyes open?
Out in the parking lot. (This is what I bust her balls about and she knows it is funny) I asked her if she parks so crooked so she can find her car in the lot. She said, yeah that’s why I bought such a small car. We go in and I pointed to the cars on both sides of us and told her, it worked they are parked as far away as possible.
Anyway, she went home. I am still laughing.
I left so much out. The best part was none of us have good silverware. She had to bring some from her house so there would be enough for three of us to eat. We joked about she had to keep it separate because my brother would count it and make sure she brought it home. He did! He sorted through my kitchen drawers and asking where what came from where.
As we were leaving breakfast I asked, what is wrong with our family? You were just thinking about spending $1000 on a new phone you don’t need but you will go to yard sales and negotiate a price on used forks!???
I joke about her but she is not senile. She has been off her whole life. She had trouble cooking for three Thursday but her summer job was at a camp cooking three meals a day for 600 kids. AND, she had to have a regular meal, a vegetarian meal and gluten free. Her kitchen crew was exchange students and half of them spoke little to no English. He bosses fucking loved her because they did not have to give any thought to the kids being fed. She made the menus, ordered the food, cooked it, assigned jobs to the workers depending on who could speak English and who could translate, etc… Also extras like 100 bag lunches for kids going on a day trip on top of the regular schedule.
I also kept thinking we get along so well because we take life so seriously but we also recognize how completely fucking ridiculous it is!