Remember that crazy phrase that went around a while back, “you might be a redneck”? I snickered right along with everyone and never, not once, associated myself with any of the redneckisms I ever heard. Tonight, as I lie in my bed at the miserably dark hour of 6:42, bloated, salted and sugared, in elastic pants the day after Thanksgiving, I’m seriously starting to question that maybe I didn’t listen hard enough.
Yesterday at our Bastards Thanksgiving day, things started out beautifully. I had several tables seating between six and eight, all laid with my mother’s sterling, multiple generations of crystal and china, napkin rings, candlesticks and flowers. Lovely music played. I wore an antique Bavarian crystal necklace and earrings, my mother’s gold bracelets and had clean hair. My house was in order, animals removed from the kitchen. It smelled heavenly. Things went along swimmingly as friends arrived, hugs were had and drinks were poured. Folks stepped out onto the front porch to admire the beautiful day. Then, I heard it, that incongruous shout back into the house, “Hey, y’all, come outside and watch. There’s a kid riding the sheep around the pasture and that big ol’ emu is chasing around a wiener dog”. Things just went right on downhill from there. I blame the Goose. Not the Golden one this time, but the Grey. One particular couple, you see, arrived at my house bearing not only two casseroles and a banana pudding, but also adult jello. I’m sure someone yelled out something about showing a body part at some point. I am hoping it wasn’t me.
What is it about holidays that never end up the way we envision them? Does anyone’s? All week I dreamt that my first home Thanksgiving would be a House and Garden worthy event. When a kid walks into the house with filthy feet holding a hen and proceeds to thrust his hand into the dinner rolls, something has gone astray. Chippendale chairs ended up outside in the yard and someone lit a fire in the fire pit by pouring gas directly into it and shouting “watch this”, accompanied by much verbal abuse and encouragement. We told story after story of growing up. Bunch of inbred folks that we are, we all married someone from high school and we all know everyone who is anyone from our hometown and are more than willing to talk about them in their absence.
I only hope my mother couldn’t see any of this and was busy elsewhere in Heaven supervising dinner done correctly.
In the paper today, I saw that a woman had been arrested for stabbing someone at her dinner table with a meat fork. No one who saw that headline can possibly blame her. I’m sure the woman had a dream day in her mind and the poor man just used the wrong utensil or, like the kids’ table at my house, failed to use even one. Nor did any napkins at that table come out of their rings and the glasses remained clean so apparently no one there drank anything or wiped their mouths. Although I have asked repeatedly, my son claims not to know how the consumption of dressing and gravy was accomplished without a fork.
Tonight, as I lie here, fat and sad that yesterday’s laughter and golden sunshine is over, I am answering an email from the editor of a paper who wants to come over tomorrow to photograph my pig, Babette, and this, more than anything, has caused me to question the sophisticated life I’ve always believed I was living. Unless this pig can land the cover of Vogue or Veranda, I’m going to have to believe there might just be a problem here, not redneck, but possibly…tacky? But just like the fact that I saw one of my friends yesterday make the decision to eat cake with an olive fork, I’m going to chose to ignore it.