Well, it is time again for the annual trek to "Grandma's House" for the first of the traditional holiday get-togethers. We are all looking forward to the mostly edible meals, the guilt trips about why we don't come home more often, and the list of illnesses and disasters that have occurred since the last time we made the journey.
I can't wait to get to my mother-in-laws house tonight so she can tell me how sick she is and ask in a not so subtle way if I would cook the dinner for tomorrow. I will say,"sure, no problem," and then while I am trying to get everything ready for 10 to 14 people, she will be standing right behind me telling me how I am doing it wrong. Or, the alternative to all of this is the bringing out of aluminum foil wrapped packages and bowls from the freezer where she froze the rest of the dressing she made a month ago, or last year, or a couple of years ago, that just "needs to be eaten" because it is "perfectly good". "Why, there is nothing wrong with" eating food that has been in a 30 year old freezer that may or may not keep the proper temperature, regardless of power outages.
A little story about all of this. When my husband was growing up, he thought it was normal to be violently ill at least once a year, sometimes twice, with a "stomach flu". He thought it was just something going around and it wasn't any big deal. Until he got married and moved to Texas. It is funny how he never got the stomach flu while he lived down there. After the divorce, he moved back home to go to school. Again with the stomach flu. Then we met and got married. Wow, no more stomach flu. Amazing. I was finally able to convince him that his mother tries to poison everyone with her cooking. So now, it is kind of funny to watch him wandering around with his plate(tiny dinning table so we all just eat wherever we can find a seat) trying to find out of the way trash cans to dump his food.
Now at my Dad's, meals are always a little bit different. It won't make you sick, but it is rather far from traditional. Last year for Christmas, we had pizza. Granted, they were very good, but hardly traditional. Last year for Thanksgiving, he had a fish fry. With the turkey his wife made him cook on the side. Fried, of course.
My mom always does the traditional thing, Turkey, Dressing, 2 or 3 veggies, bread and a couple of pies to finish things off. We are generally so sick of turkey and dressing that we don't want to see it again for at least a year.
And the best part of all three of these meals is the conversation. We get to hear everything there is to speculate about who is sick, in the hospital, going to have surgery, who is in jail, who should be in jail, who is (as my mother in law so delicately puts it) fornicating, babies born, who died, job statuses, the state of various computers in as many various houses, and maybe someone actually gets around to asking us how we are doing.
And we actually drive almost 3 hours to get to enjoy this wonderful holiday season. Twice. After all, Christmas is just around the corner.