It has become a tradition for my Little Rib and me to spend Thanksgiving Day at Mike's house. Our friend is a superb cook. Actually his cooking is so good, his mom drives all the way from La Jolla, CA, to Las Vegas to join the banquet. Even his brother Lucky tags along every now and then. This year, however, Mike decided to visit his mom in California. It's rather strange as well as sad, since we simply love to be at his house on Turkey Day.
Last year's Thanksgiving was exceptionally amazing:
After spending almost two hours in the bathroom my Little Rib stood in front of me, spinning around.
»Can I go like this?«
»Sure. But you won't get very far.«
»I'm talking about my appearance, you idiot!«
»You look great, Schnuckie.«
»Thanks. You're not going to wear that old rag, are you?«
»That's my favorite sweater. Has been for many years!«
»Alright, do what you want. Let's go. I'm so hungry, my stomach hurts.«
On our way to Mike's house my Little Rib became anxious. »Do you think they've already started without us?«
»Naw, very unlikely. That's why we are going an hour early this year. I'm not gonna let them eat all the turkey breast again!«
»Exactly! And the gravy was gone, too. Those mashed potatoes were dry as desert sand.«
»Well, they were hungry and they couldn't wait any longer. You learn from your mistakes.«
We reached our destination.
»No need to ring the doorbell. Just go inside. Friends never ring the doorbell in America. You learn that from watching sitcoms.«
»Ok, I guess you have to ring after all.«
»It seems the doorbell doesn't work. I can't hear anything.«
»Happy Thanksgiving!«, the two of us shouted in perfect harmony after we had climbed through the bedroom window and stormed into the dining room. There they were: Mama Keiko, the lovely and petite Japanese Lady and her two sons, Mike and Lucky. Mike looked startled and he immediately hid behind his napkin. Lucky, armed with a long knife, was leaning over a huge turkey and froze. He reminded me of a little kid who got caught with its hand in the cookie jar. Keiko yelled something in Japanese, which I couldn't understand, of course, but I think I've heard something similar in a movie once about World War II from a kamikaze pilot right before impact. Our friends can be so funny; acting surprised as if they hadn't expected us.
»Please, don't get up, my friends« I said. We greeted everybody at the table, tapped Lucky on his tense back and gave Keiko a big smooch on the cheeks. A little embarrassed we explained to our host that we did prepare a special dessert but had failed to resist it around breakfast time. Then my Little Rib went to get us plates and forks and knives while I was on the hunt for some wine glasses. Sufficiently equipped we sat down at the table. Mike passed me the stuffing a little too courteously. I hate stuffing. Just the thought of what might be in it makes me woozy. And Mike knows that.
»No thanks.« I was already staring at the fat bird. Slowly Lucky came back to life. He continued his surgical incision with the long knife right around the white meat.
»YES! Turkey tits!« I yelled out loud. »On my plate, please!« I only like the breast. You can throw the rest away, as far as I'm concerned.
Having learned from her mistakes, my Little Rib secured the gravy. In a rush of self-confidence she ordered one of the two drumsticks, loaded her plate with mashed potatoes, demanded the green bean casserole, reached for everything that was on the table and used Mike's napkin to wipe the sweat off her forehead.
»Why is everybody silent?«, she asked quietly after her third seconds.
»You don't have to whisper. Nobody understands German here.«
»That's true. We have the advantage.« She giggled. »But seriously, none of them is saying a word.«
»Because it's so delicious. It makes you speechless and all you want to do is feast. Pour some gravy over my breast, please, would you?«
»Keiko looks so sad.«
»Yea, something is bothering her.«
»That's because she heard you say her name and she doesn't know what you are saying about her.«
»Oops, I didn't even notice. Thanks for paying attention.« She tilted her head in Keiko's direction. »Do you think that woman over there is in a bad mood?«
»Of course not.«
»Are you sure?«
»Keiko is never in a bad mood.«
»Now you said 'Keiko'.«
»I'll bet you she's in a bad mood.«
»Her?« I pointed across the table where someone was nibbling on a piece of bread in silence. »Never! Nobody is more relaxed and untroubled than Keiko. You can ask Mike. Or Lucky!«
»Alright, if you say so ...«
Lucky was fumbling on the bizarre looking skeleton of the turkey. For the first time that evening he opened his mouth: »Well, I guess the only thing left to do is ...«
»THE WISHBONE!« My Little Rib squealed in excitement and yanked the greasy bone away from the man of a potentially aggravated mother.
»On three, Schatz! One, two, THREE!« We pulled. She won.
»You're on a roll, Schnuckie! That's three years in a row now.«
She nodded proudly, closed her eyes and made a wish.
I craved a cigarette and stepped out on the patio for a moment. A cigarette tastes best after a great meal. Meanwhile my Little Rib laid down on the couch in the living room. Soon she started to snore. After my break I let myself fall into a comfy armchair, put my feet on the coffee table and dozed off almost instantly and peacefully. What a great evening!
I'm sure our readers can now understand why we are so disappointed that Mike doesn't want to spoil us with his cooking this year. Why certainly, we respect his wish to break with tradition and spend the holiday with his mom in California. He deserves to be spoiled every once in a while. Keiko is an excellent cook, too, I have been told. That's why we have to hurry. It's a five hour drive to La Jolla.