I have been dreading Thanksgiving ever since...last Thanksgiving, when my mother-in-law Wilma had a meltdown and accused me of stealing her grandchildren. (Evidently, I was being too attentive to the teenage niece and nephew.) I (BLAMELESS) apologized to Wilma, so the meltdown did give me the opportunity to be an example of maturity and control.
This year, I've been trying to think of some way I can acquire more of the Thanksgiving prep so Wilma won't be so stressed. I've been working on some way to phrase "For God's sake, let someone else make a turkey, it's not rocket science" so that it suggests "no one would eat a turkey you didn't prepare your own special way Wilma." While I was crafting the elusive magic phrase, Wilma slipped and fell while assisting her dog onto the couch. I appears he hand is broken, and she'll never have full use of her pinkie and ring finger on her right hand again.
When Gary found out he called and offered my services as cook. (Not as hostess - Thanksgiving always must be at the S_______ house.) Thanksgivings past, Wilma has only allowed me to bring green-beans-with-Durkees-French-Fried-Onion-Rings (which the S____'s call my "Special Green Bean Casserole," as if I had a patent on the recipe.)
Wilma said no, but she called Gary the next day and said yes. Gary freaked. He called my office and asked, nervously:
"Do you know how to make a turkey?"
"Do you not remember all the turkeys I have made you?
"No. Oh, God. Have you ever even made a turkey?"
"Yes, Gary, I have made quite a number of turkeys, and you frequently commented on how they were juicier than your mother's."
"I remember you made me a turkey leg once, twenty years ago, and it was raw. Maybe we should get some turkeys and spend some time this weekend making test turkeys."
"Test turkeys?" (Man, I spat those T's down the phone line. ) "Test. Turkeys. You want me to audition turkeys."
"Yes. That is, if the oven works. Does our oven still work? When was the last time you used it?"
To be fair, I have been Jenny Craig's bitch the last few months, but somehow, hmm, I know the oven still works. I said, "I just heated something up in it day before yesterday."
"But that isn't the same as cooking something! Can the oven cook things?"
"yes" I breathed "yes it can. what is WRONG with you?"
"I just know that Mom is disappointed that she can't make all the food again this Thanksgiving, and I want it to still be nice."
So, I have a plan. When I was five, my mom would have me give one stir to the cake batter, or one knead of the bread dough, and then all the credit for the dish was mine. "Mmmmm, Honey, this cake is so good. How did you do it?" That's my plan. Big Strong Gary puts the turkey in the oven, and brings the turkey out of the oven. It's his turkey.
I know the future. "Oooooo, Gary, your turkey is soooooo good. It's a good thing someone in the house can cook."