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Inspirational Reads

Pruny Fingers Do Not Fond Memories Make

November 23, 2009

So, this is the week in which Americans, living up to our cultural stereotypes, begin to prepare for days of celebrating the largesse of our agricultural endeavors in a manner most gluttonous: by eating until we want to puke, laying on a couch, putting a hand in our pants Al Bundy style, and falling asleep in front of a football game.

As much as I like to eat, you'd think that Thanksgiving would be one of my favorite holidays. This is not so. I don't hate Thanksgiving, but it's about my fifth favorite holiday, ranking behind Easter but above Memorial Day.

I realize this is about as Unamerican as you can get. Since I'm a simple creature (boobs, bacon, good!), the reason I dislike the holiday is pretty simple, as well. I fucking hate doing dishes.

Now, I'm sure I'm not the only one who did this growing up, but we would pull a multi-meal Thanksgiving. It wasn't just the Thursday that my family worked their way toward the third ring of Hell, but we took in the entire weekend to celebrate the harvest. Thanksgiving wasn't just a day to celebrate the goodness that God or whatever the hell deity was tied in with Samhain in my house. No, it was a motherfucking experience. An extravaganza of culinary delights, if you will.

On Thursday, we'd go to my grandmother's house. This would be my paternal grandmother. Now, my father suffered mightily from middle-child syndrome, and as such he was the consummate dutiful child. Since I was his oldest son, this meant that, by some sick and twisted application of the associative property, I was the dutiful grandson. Never mind that I wasn't the oldest--though I certainly was the wisest and handsomest--I was still the one roped into standing there with my father washing up the dishes from our holiday repast. *shudder* I've seen things done with gravy that are unfit to discuss in polite company.

It wasn't just the rinsing and drying and stacking and putting away of dishes that got to me. No, since my father needed to impress, I was also elected to help scrub the kitchen down. If it wasn't clean and dry enough, my father was whipped up into a Drill Sergeant-like furor. The towel would crack against my ass and I'd be back down on the floor, hands-and-knees aching, using the toothbrush to scrub up every last drop of wayward gravy.

Where was my mother during all this? In the other end of the house, discussing how awful the dinner was with my aunt. My uncle was passed out in a recliner, football flickering on the television. My cousins and brother were in the back of the house, playing board games (one thing grandma definitely had was an abundance of board games to entertain us). So, it was just me and dad, working KP.

Friday would roll around, which meant that we would have our second Thanksgiving meal, at home. After my maternal grandmother had died, we invited my grandfather to come eat with us, which he was all too happy to do. Usually, somehow, my aunt and uncle would also show up. Again, we'd sup and fill our guts full to bursting. And, after everyone was finished eating, while they were sitting around the table, still licking the sauces from their fingers and smacking their lips in fully congratulatory style, celebrating that they were, in fact, better than the potatoes and dressing that they had just devoured, my father would begin gathering up the dishes. Since I was the oldest child, I got drafted into helping. *sigh*

My mother and my aunt would retire to the living room, where they would sit and talk about how great the dinner was. My grandfather would join them. My uncle would pass out in a recliner, football on the television, another hapless victim of tryptophan's vicious soporific effects. My brother and cousin were off playing video games.

This left me and my father to do the dishes. Our kitchen was tiny, and so we had no dishwasher. And, after all, we were gracious hosts. Make some coffee, pour some wine, and clean these dishes up. While everyone else celebrated and enjoyed themselves, I stood in the kitchen, a damp towel over my shoulder, my fingers slowly absorbing the scalding hot water which I used to rinse the soapy dishes. I'd stack them in the drying rack until it was full, and then I'd wipe them off and put them away. My father still scraping and scrubbing the dishes clean in the sink to my right, I would look out the window and wonder just what part of the holiday was supposed to be happy.

You better damned well believe that, when my wife and I were looking for places to live, we found one with a dishwasher. That way I could load it up after the dinner was finished and go pass out in front of the television while football flickered at me, fully reveling in the over-indulgence of the day. More importantly, my fingers weren't all pruned up. Now, that's a happy holiday in my book.

18 comments:

Ed Adams said...

We use paper plates for that very reason.

Just Another Momma said...

The hubs feels the same way. I cook he cleans it up and he hates Thanksgiving for it. We have a lot of people and even more dishes . . . He'll be more motivated to fix our dishwasher after this holiday I think! lol

Elliott said...

The dishwasher was a Godsend, but there are always those pans that just won't fit. My entire childhood was spent alternating washing and drying duties with my sister.

adrienzgirl said...

My husband doesn't mind the dishes so much. He does ask that we use paper plates though. We buy the large thick plastic "nice" ones for Thanksgiving.

Steam Me Up, Kid said...

I'm the dish doer too. Fuck Thanksgiving.

carissajaded said...

I'm not a fan of Thanksgiving either.. The dishwashing doesn't really bother me, mostly because by the time it's time to do the dishes, I'm outside playing football. I don't like it because my grandma doesn't let me eat ketchup at the table...

words...words...words... said...

I've never been particularly fond of Thanksgiving, mostly because I don't enjoy most of the traditional Thanksgiving foods.

Since I'm away from my family, Thanksgiving usually consists of sweatpants, football, and either pizza or steak. Which actually means that maybe I DO love Thanksgiving.

BeckEye said...

Wait a minute. The men are supposed to retire to the living room and watch football. I know this, because I always go there with them. Washing dishes is for suckas!

Adam L. said...

I think my wife would literally kill me if we didn't have a dishwasher in our house.

As for Thanksgiving, we rotated houses with aunts and uncles, so the hosts were the on dish duty (and luckily for us, we rarely hosted). This time around we're in Chicago with my brother, who does not have a dishwasher, so I'm guessing everyone's going to contribute.

I'll be contributing by bringing plastic plates and bowls and paper napkins. :-)

Nej said...

All the women in my family would cook the meal (except grandpa, who did the turkey). Then, when we were all done eating, the women would ALL do the dishes. Small kitchen, many women.....ugh!!!!

We are hosting turkey day this year...and I've been hemming and hawing about using the china, or opening a package of Chinet. We have a dishwasher, but the china has to be hand washed.

The Chinet is winning out. :-)

Amber Tidd Murphy said...

I attend two Thanksgiving dinners and do zero washing or drying.

If it gave me dishpan hands, I wouldn't like Turkey Day either.

Scope said...

Oddly, I think Thanksgiving was the one day that I wasn't on dishwashing duty. My mother would just fill the sink with dishes, let them soak, and then do them when everybody else had passed out.

June said...

I am the shopper, baker, turkey stuffer, peeler, clean in between dishes, masher, drink refiller, mop up the floor and when it's all over I get to clean up the fucking mess and your whining about a few plates you had to dry and put away???

I'm sorry, a little bit of "I have busted my ass to serve you a great meal" rant.
And ya' know what's in it for us that put on this great show?? Men who retire to the couch and release lovely gusts of wind from both orifices.

Heather said...

At least your father helped! From age 9 to 16 had to do the dishes everyday, the holidays were the worst. I was sent to the kitchen to do the dishes, I would be standing there and crying the whole time. Seemed like my mother used every dish in the house! Being the oldest has it's huge disadvantages!

Samsmama said...

You did dishes? My dad and brothers (and any other male in attendance) pulled major disappearing acts as soon as the last bite was consumed. My poor mother, seemed like she was in the kitchen all freaking day! I suppose her revenge was being diagnosed with MS. Now that lazy handicapped lady sits on the couch while I do it all. Well played, mama. Well played.

Will Shannon said...

Wanna know how I got out of helping with the dishes?

Simple. I learned how to cook.

Eric said...

*standing in line at the southern cafeteria* The lady asks, 'I know it's fish, do you want gravy on that?'

Pfangirl said...

Yay for dishwashers I say. Particularly after big holiday meals... Curiously though, my father has developed an unusual, strangely impatient habit: no sooner do you load the dishwasher than he'll pull all the plates etc. from there and put them in the sink to handwash.

Speaking of extended holiday celebrations, I've been the situation for the past 6 years of eating 2 big meals on Christmas Day (hot lunch & supper), as well as a big dinner on Christmas Eve as well. That requires careful planning and physical training.