A Tale of Holiday Meal Shopping
:::::: THANKSGIVING ::::::::::
Now, this Holiday is wonderful, no doubt. Generations lovingly reunited around a groaning board filled with delectable fare and sweet treats that families look forward to all year long..... Traditional things... Harvest and home.... warm fires and full bellies and football and pumpkin pie and the bright promise of the Holiday Season.
But there is something that no one talks about.....
A secret, only whispered about in pantries, foyers or coat closets. An annual event that horrifies men, or any sweetheart, significant other, or spouse of the non-cooking sort.
It brings nightmares to even the strongest....and keeps them from the joys of football, beer and Hickory Farms Summer Sausage until this dreaded task has been completed.
It is……….. THE LIST :::cue ominous music:::
You can recognize these desperate Pilgrims easily....and you can sympathize with them...but only THEY can fulfill this mighty quest...alone.... with only meager, minimal help along the way.
Husbands...boyfriends...cousins...neighbors, even nephews are sent, Thanksgiving morning, with the threat of failure looming dark above their heads. For failure will mean Shame... Disgrace...... and Worst of all......No Football.
The bleary eyed stare reflects balefully in the fluorescent glow of Supermarket Aisles across the country... like lemming... they go......they must get THE LIST.
This List contains all the items Mom ...Grandma...Sweet Heart…Honey...darlin'-in-law, kitchen maestro ....forgot at the store the day before, when she got all she thought she needed to produce this prodigious Holiday Feast.
And if he fails at getting EVERYTHING on this list, exactly as specified, Shame and Horror, the curse of snacklessness, shall befall these trepidatious sojourners.
They will be doomed to walk these aisles, haunted... as half men...for they cannot return home without every one of these precious, precious things.
I strolled the aisles confidently. I had no list. I was safe. And I watched these poor menfolk, like zombies.. lost in a world of starkly lit gustation....not knowing where these items were...wandering in a harried daze... pale lips… frightened eyes...worried brows... not daring to ask for direction because, as Men, …. they cannot.
I managed to help one lost soul. He was looking for cranberry sauce.
He was big, burly, manly. Wearing a football jersey and a similar expression, I would guess he might bear if he'd been sucked up into an alien mothership.
Fear. It makes them panicky and flighty.
I gently pointed him in the direction of the small cans that would save his life.
He was grateful for only a moment, then blinked nervously, looking back at me with a lost pleading stare, "There are different kinds? I see different kinds here..I..."
Jellied and whole. Light, sugar free, Low sodium. He was sinking.... lost in the visions of what would happen at home if he brought back the wrong kind. ::lightning crash FX::
I kindly, and slowly, so as not to frighten him further, suggested he get one of each, or a few. I didn't dare point out the fresh cranberries in the produce aisle. I didn't want to need a defibrillator on aisle 9.
He gingerly scooped up his small prizes with bear-sized paws, gratefully blinking misty eyes.... it must have been a speck of dust.
He left happy, buoyant, going to the light at last. The checkout line.... full of hope and glory.
15 items or less!
And the promise of football....and praise.. and beer... and football...and turkey dinner with all the trimmings.... and football. For he had conquered :::The List::: This day, good reader, he is a Hero.
There will come a Season, when he may not be strong enough…. not have fed enough.... is too old to keep up....and he will be taken down.
A proud buck...finally stilled... in the baking supplies aisle.
I wish you all a Happy Hearty Thanksgiving.....don't forget...The List.