Friday, November 10, 2006
A Nutty Thanksgiving
Hey folks, Angie here again. I had forgotten how nice it was to have my boy here as Thanksgiving approaches. I'm so excited; I've already started planning the feast. Boy, oh, boy is it ever going to be a good one. The pressure is on to make it the best ever, if only to make up for last time. I don't think Frank has been home for Thanksgiving for five or six years.
Back then he brought a girl with him from Chicago for a week-long visit. What was her name again? Suzanne, or Sharon, something like that. One of those big city types, with a cell phone hanging from her ear at all hours of the day. She was nice enough, but right away I could see she wasn't "wife" material. She was just too frilly and fancy for my Frank, Jr. How would she be able to keep house and cook with those nails?
Then, on the big day, I confirmed what Frank Jr. should have suspected all along. The girl just wasn't cut out for small town life. While the guys sat around the TV, watching football, we women bustled around the kitchen, discussing gravy methods and new cranberry salad recipes while the turkey baked in the oven. Sharon, or whatever her name was, bless her heart, was doing her best to stay out of the way. The potatoes were bubbling quite nicely, and I cracked a window to let some of the steam out of the room.
I'd been feeding a squirrel whom I'd named "Nutty" all autumn from my kitchen window. His favorite snack was peanuts, and I'd buy them whole in the shell. I loved watching him nibble, holding the peanut in his little front paws and standing up on his back haunches. He'd sit on my windowsill, munching away and watching me work. Naturally, squirrels get hungry on Thanksgiving too, and when he saw all the hubbub he hopped up on the windowsill to get his daily handout.
I smiled and headed toward the pantry, where I kept my stash of squirrel goodies. I reached my hand into the brown paper bag and pulled out a handful of peanuts and was about to turn around when I heard a blood-curdling screech. I screamed and simultaneously threw the whole handful of peanuts up into the air.
"What?" My heart pounded.
Sharon's hand was clamped over her mouth and she stared at the windowsill, eyes wide in horror. "What was that?"
I laughed. "Silly, that's just the squirrel I've been feeding. He's harmless."
All the other women in the kitchen scrambled to pick up the nuts, doing their best to suppress laughter.
Just then, Frank, Jr. appeared in the kitchen and put his arm around Sharon. "Mom, what have you done now?"
"It was just Nutty, that's all."
He scanned the floor, assessing what must have been twenty or so peanuts tossed all over. Then he took on that parental tone he inherited from his dad. "Mom, this is no time for puns."
"You named that thing?" Sharon's peaked skin had started to show a little bit of color. In fact, she was getting downright red in the face.
Frank gave me another look of disapproval as she stalked out.
I didn't really see what all the hubbub was about. It was my windowsill and my kitchen, for goodness' sake. "What?"
He shook his head and followed her out into the living room. I peeked in a little later and found her snuggled up next to him and looking at the TV, eyes glazed over. Poor thing probably didn't know the difference between a pass and a run.
I knew right then things wouldn't work out between the two of them. A mother can't say these things out loud, of course, but she knows.
For all you future mother-in-laws out there, remember the squirrel test. If things get nutty when a cute little critter shows up on your windowsill, then she's not the girl for your boy. By the way, I have a few squirrels around here you can borrow. Nutty ended up being a female, and her lineage has had tons of babies. It's getting to the point where I can't afford that many peanuts. Thankfully, they started coming around to the back door, because they wouldn't fit on the window anymore. So, if you need a squirrel, let me know. I'm sure we can arrange a way to transport one or two.
Now, I'm off to the grocery store. My list is long: a turkey, olives, evaporated milk (low fat), peanuts ...
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