Janet and I were for the most part happy to let the world pass us by. When it came to family holidays we, I guess you could say, were pretty lackadaisical. So you could also say that we ignored them, because we usually did. In spite of that, we did develop traditions but they were our traditions, not something handed down. For instance, Janet loves seafood, so rather than turkey I decided some years ago to take her to her favorite seafood restaurant, Pappas Seafood. Now we have at least four, maybe five Pappas Seafood restaurants within ten miles of our house. Those were not the ones that she liked. She liked the one in Webster which is halfway to Galveston. We got all decked out and drove to Pappas in Webster only to learn that Pappas is not open on Thanksgiving. We turned around and headed back to Houston looking for someplace open where we could eat and ended up at a Luby’s Cafeteria which is about two miles from our house.
The next year, some of us have short term memory impairment; I decided to take my wife to her favorite seafood restaurant, Pappas in Webster. Guess what, they had not changed their policy. We came back to Houston and ate at Luby’s. We both thought it was funny, so a number of times since, even though we now do remember that Pappas is not open on Thanksgiving, we will drive to Webster and then back to Luby’s. Up until the last couple of years, Janet loved to get out of the house for a ride so we still enjoyed the ride and the somewhat foolish running joke of a Thanksgiving tradition.
This year I turned down several invitations to join friends for Thanksgiving dinner. Most I told about the “tradition” and said that I wanted to do it again. Those that know me well probably knew that I would not be able to do it but they went along with the excuse. So I spent today in my pajamas except for one very brief period when I decided to have a cup of tea on the front porch. I pulled a pair of jeans over the pajamas. No, I didn’t take off the pajamas to sit on the porch. Dinner consisted of opening a can of tuna and eating it out of the can while I watched the news.
About five o’clock there was a knock at the door and there were two men on the porch that I did not recognize. It turned out that one was Martin from around the corner on Sunnyside. Martin’s father-in-law passed away a day or so after Janet.
In making the funeral arrangements it was mentioned that the funeral home would send a fruit basket to anyone that I wanted to say a special thank you to and I decided to send one to Marie Kilgore the neighbor across the street. Marie had befriended Janet the last several months and I was very appreciative for that. When the basket was delivered it turned out to be over eighty pounds of fruit. Marie insisted that I take some of it and she shared some with her neighbor Joe but there was still much more fruit than we could possibly eat. She had just told me about Martin’s father-in-law and mentioned that there were nine children in the family. I figured most of them would have kids so I suggested to Marie that we get a box and load up whatever she felt she would not be able to eat and take it to Martin. I imagined that the grandkids would have an easy time cleaning it up. In the process I met Martin for a few minutes on his front lawn.
I belong to has a Thanksgiving project titled Shoot the Bird where everyone takes gussied up food magazine photographs of the Thanksgiving Turkey and posts them to the groups gallery. I really did plan on driving to Webster and coming back to Luby’s where I was going to photograph the plate of dry sliced turkey and post it. Then I didn’t go so I didn’t figure I would have a Shoot the Bird post. I mean, like who wants to see a can of tuna? As soon as Martin left I scrambled to get a light set up and even went so far as to get out a tablecloth and place mat instead of using the usual paper towel. Even made a big decision to actually eat with a real fork, from the good silverware no less, instead of the plastic one I haven’t yet thrown away this week.
It was extremely kind of Martin and his family to remember me. It bothers me that even though it would have been difficult I did not follow through on the “tradition” but I am so happy that I did not go to Luby’s where not even the coffee is good. As you can see there was enough food for two people. It was delicious and I tried to eat it all at one sitting but just couldn’t make it. I can assure you, it will be gone before I go to bed tonight.