Home for the Holidays

There is a point in time when you can’t go home for the holidays. Your student days are over and trips to visit mom and dad are fewer and farther between. Going home for the holidays somehow denotes a kind of dependency most of us no longer enjoy. It means we are returning to the home of our youth and no doubt one’s childhood room. It is a nice state of affairs to return to such comfort and ease. Being invited for the holidays is quite a different matter. You are a guest in effect and not a resident. Who doesn’t want to spend holidays with one’s family, no matter where you are in life? That’s what holidays are all about. No one wants to be in a restaurant or with strangers. It is all about family first and foremost. If you don’t life close enough to be able to visit those crucial times of the year, you can appreciate the luck of those who do. While I have missed more than my share of holidays, I have also spend many wonderful evenings celebrating Thanksgiving, Easter, Christmas, etc. Then there were all those birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions like graduation. There are actually people who feud with family and never ever return home. I feel sorry for such types. When your parents start getting older, you will never be able to recapture lost moments.

Everyone has special memories of the best holiday meals when Uncle Toby spilled the wine or Aunt Sue got in a fight with Mom but they ended up kissing and making up. The food itself is something to conjure up fondly—all that home-cooked glory. The freshly baked bread from the best bread maker in the world (my mom). For some reason, I get elected to carve the holiday bird. Maybe I just do it right or dad hates the chore. Maybe it’s because I know how to use an electric carving knife with some grace. I don’t muck up the job and destroy the turkey with all kinds of messy, random cuts. Some people say their turkey looks butchered in the hands of an amateur. When I am in charge of serving up individual slices, I feel like a master of ceremonies at some kind of ritual banquet wielding the knife like a pro. Holiday meals have become a lot easier since mom bought a new carving knife of the electric kind. Dad used a regular sharp kitchen knife and it wasn’t a pretty sight surveying the results of his futile labor. Mom had to take over when things got realty strange and he would manually yank off the turkey legs since he was getting nowhere fast with the knife. With the electric knife, you don’t make mincemeat out of the holiday turkey. I realized this right from the start. After all, who do you think was the person who suggested mom get a new knife anyway? I didn’t want to attack dad personally and make him feel bad. Other people had that job. I did corner mom in the kitchen one Thanksgiving and it wasn’t long before the electric knife appeared in the drawer.