Having completed the necessary and brilliant football picks (Panthers giving 1.5 to Dallas? Absolutely!) over java and a large bacon-cheese-egg-with wasabi sauce sandwich, its almost time to head over to brother Steve’s for the deep frying of the turkey. While he hasn’t confirmed that the noon start– and strict schedule adherence isn’t usually a strong point with him– cooking time has been cigar and an adult beverage time tradition for us for the last couple years.
The real tradition behind this article is the Drumstick for Glenn though, and for a significant number of years, pretty much everyone has gone with idea I’m going to want to gnaw on one. Its not usually the massive hunk it seemed to be ‘back in the day’, but it doesn’t seem like there are a dozen other items crammed on the plate that made its presence look so overpowering either. Dinner seems simpler now, and while its understood Mike will mention his le sueur pea concoction (like the cheesy, not enamored of the potato chip topping vs. crispy fried onion) being a specialty more than once, its easily balanced by the fact Steve usually has a couple good bottles of wine available.
About the drumstick as Tradition/Dammit, Again. For the sake of accuracy, it was actually a Christmas turkey, and Steve’s family had left for a ski vacation out west, and my folks were here in Charlotte from Tampa. Having parked near the garage instead of on the street, significant date and I came through the house from downstairs vs. front door, arriving in the kitchen just as a semi-shocking conversation between Mom and Dad came to a point.
Mom: Just cut the meat off and put it on the plate.
Dad: That’s Glenn’s drumstick that he always likes to chew on.
Mom: Ohh, I always *hated* that he did that!
That we’d arrived just in the nick of time to save Dad from having to stymie her willingness to hack the meat off herself was one thing; to hear she’d HATED– apparently for most of 45 years!– my chewing on the dark, juicy drumstick was more than just a little bit of an oh my! moment. If there’d been a tendency to eat like a pirate early on, it has still been something to kind of count on as mine. Dad having my nephew Ian deliver a small drumstick to me (“Grandpa said you’d really like to chew on this”) when Thanksgiving was being celebrated at a cousins house, is still something that comes as a really good emotional memory. Those two specific times when a certain ‘streak’ was imperiled and Dad came through, that’s deep stuff, and clearly what Tradition is about.
Long time family friend Mrs. Kline– who alternated major holiday dinners with Mom for years once they determined there was no sense making seperate ones when we’d wind up together later in the day– *guaranteed* her mashed potatoes wouldn’t be stiff (it was a fact in the past) when we got together last year, which shows how significant some holiday memories are imbedded. It was only mentioned once, but we can all smile about it (now).
It’s doubtful Mom will say anything one way or the other today, and hopefully Steve leaves one drumstick to the side, and nobody grabs it before me. Tomorrow might begin another tradition when I help prepare a holiday dinner at the Men’s Shelter, and at some point there will probably be a dinner with lasagna instead of turkey, but Tradition, lets go with that at least one more time.
Best wishes to all, including those unfortunate SOBs who have to work in retail starting at 6pm.