Hello again from Mountain Mecca & Hippie Heaven!
We are holiday sluts. I’m not particularly proud of that fact…but not particularly ashamed, either. Wherever in the world we are, and whomever we find ourselves with, we always seem to manage to leech on, (quite unintentionally, I swear), to someone’s holiday celebration. This month? Deep fried turkey dinner for Thanksgiving at the home of ESP Tim and Carrie.
It’s not the first time we’ve batted our lashes and used our, “we’re all alone, we have no family, no children, and if you don’t take us in we’ll end up eating a tin of Spam and crying ourselves to sleep” faces in order to get invited to some special family celebration. I’m beginning to think we could keep our grocery bills down if we started widening our cultural boundaries. “Kwanzaa? Oh yes, we’d love to come to your Kwanzaa party! Um…will there be food? Yes? Great!”
Another tactic which has worked well for us is the “Surprise Visit”. “It’s Easter? Really, why we had no idea. We were just in the neighbourhood and thought we’d pop in. Well, yes, we realize we live 850 kilometers away but…hey, is that ham? Mmmm!”
You can also plant ideas in the heads of children…they’re so easily manipulated. “Hey E, wouldn’t you like to have turkey dinner with Aunty Princess and Uncle Prez? Wouldn’t that be fun? Why don’t you ask Grammy? Go on, that’s a good boy!”
Left to our own devices, Prez and I celebrate holidays in ways that are less than traditional. Two years ago we had our Xmas on a beach in Bahia de Los Angeles; it was a real Hallmark moment. We collected clams for dinner, I read a book, Prez rescued some beached squid, and Emily hunted mice. Then we all held hands and sang carols around the cardon cactus. (Well, I might have dreamt that last bit). The Xmas of 2004 found us stuck in a rented basement suite in the city. Prez was busy working on a new business and I was working almost every day at Mega Book Store, so our plans for the 25th involved a lot of sleeping. Oh sure, we spent the morning visiting friends and vicariously enjoying the whole Tree-and-Presents thing, but by noon we were back home. We dragged our camping mattress into the living room, gathered a stack of DVD’s, started the T-bone steaks marinating, and spent the better part of the most wonderful time of the year watching movies, eating, and napping – Feliz Navidad!
Now, it’s not as if holidays and the traditions surrounding them have lost all meaning for me but…um…well, actually they have lost all meaning for me. Can you blame me? Last week I was at Save-On Foods and they’ve started putting out their Xmas consumer goodies, (Yes, October 1st and the Xmas stuff is already appearing, sigh). There was a display of advent calendars; you know the ones that have sparkly, snowy holiday scenes on the front and Xmas-themed chocolates inside? Except one of the calendars had a picture of Spiderman on the front and a big sticker exclaiming that this calendar was good from December 1st to January 1st! So…uh…they lost me there. What? Isn’t the whole idea of the advent calendar for kids to count down until Xmas day? What’s with the extra seven days? And where does Spiderman fit into all of this? Has Santa retired? Will children now have to extract their presents from a sticky web which Spidey slings down the chimney? I mean, he wasn’t even wearing a Santa hat in the picture, there wasn’t even snow, or reindeer, or one of those Coca-Cola polar bears!!! Yeesh.
I’m thinking of starting my own line of advent calendars. They will be good from July 5th to January 16th of the following year. On the front, I’ll have a cute cartoon picture of Karl Marx and Britney Spears playing Twister. The chocolates will be in the shape of random objects – couches, stethoscopes, turnips – except for December 25th, which will have only a note that says, “Don’t you think you’ve had enough chocolate? There are people starving around the world and you’ve got nothing better to do than to stuff yourself with sugar? Merry Xmas!” And I’ll advertise the whole works with big yellow stickers: “Xmas calendar! Now good for 176 days!” Wal Mart, 19.95, they’ll sell like hotcakes.
I wish I was kidding about that last part.
We do enjoy holidays, that is to say Prez and I enjoy any opportunity to get together with large groups of people we love, to eat and drink and laugh and tell stories, but you could rename Thanksgiving, “Flooberdub”, and hold it in January and we’d still feel the same way about it. And I’d say the same thing about Xmas, New Year’s, Halloween, Easter, Valentines, etc. etc. They’re just days; it’s what we make of them that gives them meaning. For example, last night, one of the guests at dinner was V, a lovely young woman who moved to Canada from Czechoslovakia. We got onto the subject of Xmas and she explained a traditional Czech Xmas dinner consists of fish and potato salad. “I always thought it was a really special dinner until I came here and made it and people were like, ‘That’s it? That’s all?’” she told me, a little wistfully. (No, you won’t find Prez and me hanging out in Czechoslovakia trying to bum Xmas dinner any time soon).
So how was Thanksgiving, (aka Flooberdub), dinner with our friends? Fantabulous! I must say, deep frying a large bird is a very manly way to cook! When’s the last time you wore safety goggles to cook a turkey? Huh?! Carrie, (I’m desperately working on a nickname for Carrie before we leave), stuffed us with, well, stuffing, and a host of other treats. BJ brought her famous rosemary potatoes and two, (yes, two!) pies. Prez and I brought…um…us. (We can be quite entertaining sometimes, that has to count for something, right?). I was introduced to Cornelius, the cute little Corn Snake which ESP Tim & Carrie’s two boys have as a pet – he was very handsome! And ESP Tim was up to his usual tricks, it seemed like every time I turned my head there was a new alcoholic beverage on the table. “Gin and tonic? Wine? Chocolate Chip Cookie liqueur? Scotch? Mulled wine? Absinthe? Screech?…” I’m not coming back to Nelson until they build a Betty Ford Clinic and a Jenny Craig clinic side by side!
Yes, we are disillusioned and cynical, but luckily Prez and I are also highly addicted to over-eating turkey with good friends. And while we will likely continue our wild ways, drifting from holiday dinner to holiday dinner, selling our souls for an extra helping of mashed potatoes and gravy, I like to think we will also help to make the lives of our hosts a little brighter by…um…er…uh…
“Hey, is that ham? Yummmm!”
QUESTION: What would you do for a turkey dinner?
Until next week, I hope this finds you healthy, happy & lovin’ life!