Sunday, November 30, 1997

Pass Them Pickles!

Good Morning!

I wanted to sit down and type out a journal of our Turkey Day festivities so everyone could read about all the fun that they missed over at Granny's house.

Let us begin about 6 miles short of our destination...

The directions that I had received instructed me to take a right turn at Willy's Boobie Bar off California Street and enter onto Chimychonga Canyon Road (something like that - I didn't write them down, I simply made a mental note). Wouldn't you know it, as we were turning the corner at Willy's, the car started acting up, so Mo and I volunteered to go inside to find help. It only took us 4 hours to locate a qualified mechanic named Cleetus to assist us...ok ok, that's not true; 2 hours.

We made our right turn on Chimychonga Canyon Road and continued straight ahead as per directions in my mental note. We were supposed to continue on until we came to the stop sign, then immediately across the intersection, would be, should be, Theresa's house. Chimychonga Canyon Road doesn't have ANY stop signs, nor does it have any signs advising you that "You Are Now Entering Mexico". We traveled on for about 10 miles through a labyrinth of orange groves and finally decided that we had missed a turn. The road signs indicating speeds in kilometers per hour gave us our first clue that we MAY not be where we were supposed to be. We noticed a bunch of folks playing in the river and found that odd, since it was a bit chilly on this 26th day of November. That's when we realized we were crossing over the Rio Grande River into Mexico. The people weren't playing in the water, they were breast-stroking to the States! Time to turn around!

We called Dan (Theresa's Dad, sometimes known as Dean (ask Mo), Phil, Bart etc, etc (ask Tess) and asked for direction to:

1. The States
2. Their House

Finally, after a tour through Napa, Silicon, and Carmel Valleys, we arrived at their house.

I didn't want to park in the driveway because I didn't know who all hadn't arrived yet, and besides, there wasn't any road signs indicating the proper street name so we could have been at Arlo Ledbedders house. Anyway, I parked along the side of a gully (along the passenger side) and forgot to mention that little bit of information to Mo. Well as he opened the door and stepped out - he disappeared! Immediately! "Where is Mo", Liz asked? That's when we saw 10 little fingers holding on to the bottom of the door panel, white knuckling the armrest. "I'm here Darling" came a voice from below the car. Mary and Liz elected to disembark on the drivers side, you know, the side level with the rest of the surrounding terrain. After a quick check to see if anyone had been watching, Mo scrambled back up the bank and brushed himself off. "Whew", nobody had noticed his Thanksgiving Aerobics Display. They may have, however, notice Mary, Liz, and I rolling in the middle of the street laughing and simultaneously trying to prevent ourselves from peeing. We had in fact, arrived.

Once inside, Theresa introduced us to her father, Dan - sometimes known as Dean, Phil, Bart, Cleetus, Mike, John, and Bartholomew. We're starting to get nervous here because we don't want to address him by the wrong name so we all huddled together for a quick discussion. Mo decided that he would go with "Dean", Liz elected "Phil", Mary thought about "Tess's Dad" and just as I was making my decision, it began to snow!?!? I spun around to see what was going on as I noticed Theresa was preparing the mashed Taters. She was talking to Dean, Phil, and Tess's Dad while doing this and didn't realize that she had pulled the electric hand mixer out of the gigantic bowl of taters. We had little white puffies from ceiling to floor, and everywhere in between. No problem with spilling a little; there was enough in the bowl to feed the USS Eisenhower. THEN, the turkey stuck his water head out of the oven door! That's when we went back to our discussion huddle. This turkey, that we thought was an ostrich, was at least 35 pounds and resembled an oversized medicine ball. "How are we going to eat this Ostrich", we thought aloud? There were the 4 of us, Dean, Phil, and Tess's Dad, Tess, Victoria, Carrie (Tess's Sister) and Amelia (Tess's Mom). There was enough Ostrich, correction Turkey, to feed 40 people and there were only 9 of us.

Let me back up for a second. When we first arrived, Nobody was home except Phil, Dean, and Tess's Dad. As we were approaching the front door (still not sure if we were at the right house), Theresa drove up. Now we were confident that we really were "there". Mo finished cleaning himself off and was successful in getting the mud off the side of this face that he had used as a jet ski down the slope. Then, we went in.

Ok, where were we? Oh, Carrie was the first one of Dean's, Phil's and Tess's Dad's daughters to join us after we arrived. To listen to her talk, you would swear that it was Tess. I had made this mistake once before while on the phone and I said in a deep voice, "Little Girl you want some candy"? Keep in mind that I'm thinking it's Tess. About 3 minutes into my charade, I started to wonder if I had the right Tess because she would have definitely known it was me, and THIS Tess didn't! How do I get out of this phone call without just hanging up and scaring here? That's when I said I was Mary's husband "Jim". Anyway, they sound identical and I didn't give any candy away.

A few minutes later, Amelia walked in and after introductions, she told Phil, Dean, and Tess's Dad to "load 'em up". Huddle time. "Where are we going"? "WHO DAT"? And from Mo " SHEEEEEEEEEEEEIIIIIIIIITTTT"! Tess informed us that we were headed to Granny's so... "To Granny's House We Did Go".

Another Side Bar: Once when I had been standing outside with Dean, Dan, Phil, and Tess's Dad, Mo had come out to join the two of us. He needed the keys to get something out of the trunk so I tossed them to him and as he approached the car, a rose bush grabbed his Johnson and thorned him! Mo let out a holler so loud that I thought he had blown the back of his under-shorts loose. I couldn't say "Hey Mo, how's your Johnson" or nothing, so Dean, Phil, Tess's Dad and I made small talk about the weather while Mo un-thorned his monkey. Ask Mo! It's True!

Anyway, we all loaded up. Mo took a running start and broad jumped the gulley. After a short drive back through the labyrinth, we arrived at Granny's house. Getting into the driveway was a little bit of a trick. We had a 4 hour drive ahead of us back to Vegas that night, so I wanted to park close to the exit so I wouldn't have to interrupt the party to get Cleatus and JimBob (now remember, we don't know anyone here and Tess keeps giving us these fictitious names trying to set us up) to move their trucks. We thought that Granny's real name was Unice. As I turned into the driveway, someone else had started to back up, so I too backed up back into the street. They left and again I pulled into the driveway. Again, someone was leaving so I, again, backed up into the street to let them out. This same event repeated itself 5 more times and finally 20 minutes later we got to park and got out of the car. No accidents disembarking this time and we were now at Granny's House.

Granny has a big lot and a big house. We noticed that there was a gathering toward the end of the driveway and we were off to investigate it. Huddled around a small fire were about 15 people all laughing and talking. Sitting atop the fire was a large caldron (about the size of a small nuclear smoke stack). We had arrived just in time to see the "dunking of the turkey". The chef explained it to us novice's as he completed his lay-up for a slam dunk into the pot. "What you do is", he said, "is take a LARGE pot and fill it up with peanut oil, leaving enough room inside for the displacement of oil once you put the turkey in. Heat that oil up to about 450F and after its reached that temperature, tie that turkey's legs together and sling it on up into that pot of boiling oil. The oil temperature will reduce to around 375F. Cook that there turkey for three and a half minutes per pound". Let me tell you - That's the BEST Turkey I've honestly ever eaten.

Off in the background we heard this Georgian accent "My name is EILEEN, with a R, making it REILEEN! You know my Deddy (Daddy southern style) wanted all his kids to be named with an R, so I'm REILEEN!" Huddle Time!

Let's meet Granny. Into the house we go dodging stuffing and dinner rolls. There she is, Granny sitting on the sofa monitoring the festivities taking place in her home. Don't get me wrong, Granny is a SUPER lady, she just doesn't mess about when there are things that need to be done. Tonight, she'll make sure we all get pickles! Soon after we meet Granny, we're introduced to the other 30 people in the house, collectively we remembered all the names for about 1.2 seconds and just decided, for simplicity, to make up our own names. There were lots of Dan's and Reileen (with an R).

Granny announced that it was time to be seated for dinner. The bathroom sits just across the hall from the grand eating room, so as I opened the door I discovered that I had no where to go and ended up waiting until the crowd gathered into the dining area. That's when I noticed the Mo and Liz and Mary had left me a seat next to Granny. Again, Granny is a great lady, she just doesn't play games and I knew that I was well within reach of a wooden salad spoon if I got out of hand. As I sat down and transferred the weight of my slim physique onto the chair, I felt as if I was going to end up on the floor. These aerodynamic chairs were designed to mold to your behind for comfort and no one had thought to mention that to me. I could see myself falling and taking the whole 30 place table with me and into the laps of all those on my side of the table. The chair held and Granny didn't have to knock my eyes crossed with that wooden salad spoon.

I risked a quick glance at Granny as she sat observing the crowd settling into their chairs. Things weren't moving quickly enough so Granny hollered "hurry it up, let's eat!" I knew I was already seated so at least I wouldn't be the first one to get walloped. Granny then announced that it was time to pray by stating, "Ok, we're gonna pray now, you don't have too, but we're gonna pray!", at which point we all bowed our heads. I opened my right eye, only to see that Mo had opened his left and there we sat staring one-eyed at each other. I almost got the giggles but held my breath till I nearly passed out. I wasn't gonna be the first one beat with the salad spoon; hopefully it would be Mo.

After Grace, the Redland's California 245th bomber squadron entered the room in the form of 5 large turkeys; each having been prepared in a different manner. There was a roasted turkey, peanut oiled deep fried & slam dunked turkey, smoked turkey, broiled turkey, and beer canned turkey. It looked as though 5 Volkswagen Beatles had been placed upon the table where we sat. Thirty-four of us would have the responsibility to eat these turkey's to the bone! And we did.

To accompany the turkeys, were loads of various cranberry dishes to include cranberry salad, cocktail, J-E-L-L-O, gelatin, and so on. Liz had already made us well aware that she wasn't a cranberry eater. About that same time, Granny told me to "Pass the Cranberry to the right". Liz ate 3 helpings! Honest! There were several large dishes of stuffing, green beans and, let us not forget the mashed taters that Tess had decorated the house with. There were also 2 or 3 large platters filled with pickles and olives. Granny made sure that there was at least one being passed around the table at all times. To look from above would have probably appeared like a game of hot potato or something as we all learned to eat with only one hand, while passing pickles with the other. Each time Granny had us pass the dishes around, we prefaced the hand-off with "Granny said to try this"! The four of us were Cranberry-pickle eatin' wild women.

During dinner, Reileen (with an R) taught us all how to properly hold our dinner-ware. Her husband is Irish and since they had been married for 10 years now, she had decided that Americans took much to much time transferring knives and forks from hand to hand preparing to shovel food into our mouths. Reileen (with an R) didn't take much time at all, half that turkey got transferred...SLAP...Mary just edited a little bit of my story.

After we had all eaten the equivalent of a French Fried Winnebago, we spread out a little by moving in to the living room or outside to the patio. We were confident we wouldn't have to eat anymore so we got a little braver and didn't rely on the buddy system as much. Granny is now back in the living room holding audience, and we all dutifully filed in and paid our respects. Tess had given us some background info on Granny so we were careful, as she is a wild woman of eighty something years.

Soon, Mo and I had wondered out onto the patio to cool off a bit. Tess and Reileen (with an R) had joined us and we were chatting away. Tess and Reileen (with an R) had gone back in for a bit and were replaced with Reileen's husband (let's call him) Dan (with a D). Come to find out, Reileen (with an R) is giving Tess a quick lesson on English slang. They returned and Reileen (with an R) asked Mo when they would be leaving to head on back to England. Mo answered "on Saturday Morning" they would fly out. Reileen (with an R) then asked if it would be a direct flight from Las Vegas or not. Just as Mo stated that they would have a delay in Chicago, Tess yelled out, "Right you old WANKER"! Mo almost swallowed his beer bottle. Judging by Tess's reaction to Mo's reaction, she hadn't a clue as to what she had just said, and there stood Reileen (with an R) and her husband Dan (with a D) falling over each other laughing hysterically. After removing the beer bottle from Mo's esophagus, he stood there and tried to figure out:

1. How did she know?
2. Where that fit into the conversation?
3. Why a delay in Chicago classified him as a Wanker?
4. If Granny had heard the commotion and was enroute with her salad spoon?

Liz and Mary soon joined us after hearing the commotion and joined too in the laugher. Shortly after, Liz and Mary put Tess into remedial Wanker-calling training.

Next, Reileen (with an R) demonstrated to the crowd how long her hair was. She told Tess that her hair was much longer than Tess's and to prove it, had the both of them stand back-to-back. Everyone noticed but no one said, that Tess's hair was a good 2 inches longer. You see, we were afraid to because Granny had lent Reileen (with an R) a sweater so she wouldn't be cold. We weren't sure if Reileen (with an R) and Granny were close or not and didn't want to tempt faith.

Mo goes to the bathroom.... During a pause in the action, Mo decided that it was time to go and wipe off the beer that he had spit all over himself at being called a Wanker. Within two minutes he was back outside and very wide eyed. Liz had a bit of concern on her face and asked him what was the matter. A nervous Mo just patted her hand and said all was fine. Later, we found out that the light switch cover was an illuminated Jesus that Mo hadn't noticed on his way in. While Mo was doing his business, he felt as though he was being watched and looked around. That's when he noticed that Jesus was staring at him. It only took him less than a minute to wipe the wall and mirror clean where his aim had gone off a bit.

It's time now to head back to Vegas. On the way home, Mo and I took turns driving while the others slept. unbeknownst to them, the driver slept too! I drove first and soon after Mo, Mary, and Liz were asleep, I slept until we were 100 miles from the border. Then I woke up and pulled off the highway to give Mo a chance to sleep behind the wheel. This was only supposed to take us 3 hours to get home and it took us 5 1/2. We stopped off in Primm, which is the border town of California and Nevada, to have a cup of coffee. We just wanted to drop a couple of quarters in the slots and soon successfully lost all of our money in less that 20 minutes. We then headed back out to the car and eventually reached our destination of 1824 Camino Carlos Way, North Las Vegas, Nevada.

What a fun trip that had been. All of us TRULY enjoyed ourselves. Dinner was Fantastic and we have all talked and laughed about how fun it was.

Happy Thanksgiving 1997

© Otis Aviation 1997

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

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