December 11, 2017

 

Oort Cloud Oddities: Aunt Mary and the Pumpkin Pie

 
 
 

Thanksgiving was on a Thursday this year.

I mention that because it's become a minor point of contention between my mother and I. When November rolls around and discussions of what to do for the holidays come up, I always ask, "What day is Thanksgiving this year?" She responds with a date, and then I ask, "What day of the week is that?"

She will invariably explode, "What do you mean, 'what day is that'? Thanksgiving is always the last Thursday in November!"

"Always?"

"Always! I've been telling you it's on a Thursday for [fifteen/twenty/twenty-five] years now!"

"Huh. Who decided that?"

"I don't know, it's just the way it is!"

"Well why did they pick a Thursday? I mean, it seems kind of arbitrary to me."

"Thanksgiving is always on a Thursday. Holy Thursday is always on a Thursday. Good Friday is always on a Friday. Easter Sunday is always on a Sunday. Mother's Day is always on a Sunday."

"Huh. Mother's Day is always on a Sunday?"

She always changes the subject when we get to that part. The last few years the conversation has become more of a ritual, but there's still a lot of exasperation on her part because it was only about three years ago that I actually remembered Thanksgiving really does fall on a Wednesday every year. Thursday. Whatever.

This year, we did the same thing we do every year. Get together with the mellowest family members for an entire day of cooking, nibbling, watching football, and napping. We save the high-powered, energetic and/or ill behaved relatives for other holidays. Thanksgiving to us is for taking turns in the kitchen and then spreading out in well-fed blobs around the fireplace or the television, in no particular order. Sure, when the turkey is done, there is a generally concentrated event of eating, followed by an equally concentrated event of falling asleep where we sit, be it in front of the TV (my dad), at the dinner table with a half-chewed mouthful of turkey (my daughter), or halfway in the refrigerator with a face buried in the produce crisper (me). But dinner is really just the most coordinated part of an entire day spent doing the same thing. This year, as I was thoughtfully chewing my way through yet another one of my mother's banana cream pies, I was inspired as to which story to tell this week. I had been contemplating a tale from my husband's side of the family, about the rise and fall of the 55 MPH pig. But then I got to thinking that a lot of my columns talk about people and animals in contention. The dog urinates on me. My grandfather nearly blows up the neighborhood trying to kill a nest of ground bees. My husband's grandfather and a chicken get into a no-holds barred battle to the death. Yes, on this day characterized by the eating of innocent birds, I felt moved to relate my other favorite holiday story. The one wherein my mother strikes a blow for cats everywhere. An animal rights story for Thanksgiving, if you will. It's also part of the reason why we pick this one holiday a year to hide from the relatives. It starts with a pie.

My mother makes epic custard pies. Banana cream or pumpkin, they are ethereal and divine, which is amazing because my mother claims to loathe sweets. Her pies are in high demand throughout our family, and once upon a time, the pies could lure our relatives to come from out of state to visit us on Thanksgiving. One of the last years we all got together, my uncle and his wife were sitting in our living room. My mother had several magical pumpkin pies cooling on the enclosed back porch. We had three cats at the time, one of whom was an evil mastermind. He snuck out onto the back porch during the last pie check and had just enough time to eat a perfect circle out of the center of one of the pumpkin pies when my mother caught him. The pies were too good to pitch just because a cat nibbled on part of one, so my mother cut around where the cat had touched, discarding any part that had come in direct contact with cat lips, figuring she would save that pie for immediate family.

She returned to the living room, followed by the (rather smug) cat. Seeing the cat inspired our then-Aunt Mary to relate what she felt was a horror story, about how disgusting it was to have animals inside the house. Mary had just been to a bridal shower where she absolutely refused to eat any of the cake because -- you guessed it -- they had walked into the kitchen only to see the cat nibbling the icing at one end of the cake. During the course of the story, my cat (the dumb, good natured one) had wandered over to sniff Mary's leg. As she wrapped up the story, she looked down and gave my cat a ripping good kick to shoo it away. At that moment, Mary became "immediate family".

My mother smiled beatifically and asked her if she would like a piece of pumpkin pie.

Mom had the most lovely expression on her face as Mary raved about how delicious the pie was. Indeed we were all somewhat surprised at how well the visit was going, until after they left and my mother confessed her sins. Mom is certain that she will do time in Purgatory for her actions, especially because even now she cannot come up with one iota of remorse, but I'm not so sure. I told the story again as we walked with one of the other mothers in the neighborhood, and she agreed with me that there was more than a little justice dished out that Thanksgiving Day.

"That reminds me," our friend said. "I still have no idea what we're going to do for Thanksgiving. What day of the week does it fall on this year?"

"Thursday!" Mom exploded, giving me an incredulous look to see if I had set her up. "It's always on a Thursday!"

"Huh," said our friend. "Always? Who decided that, I wonder?"

I gave my mother a smile as she sputtered, trying not to dump her irritation with my decades of spaciness on our innocent friend. I don't think she'll have to pay for the pumpkin pie incident in the afterlife. She's a mom. Anything she's due, she's already got back from me in spades.

Ain't family grand?

Comments and "cat-licked" pie recipes to alexandraqueen1@hotmail.com

This article first appeared in the Manteca (Calif.) Bulletin

Article © Alexandra Queen. All rights reserved.
Published on 2004-01-17


0 Reader Comments
Add your own comments!
The Piker Press moderates all comments. The commenting policy can be found
here.
Name

Email

Comments




In the same series:

Oort Cloud Oddities: Who wears the dress in this kitchen?
Oort Cloud Oddities: Shoe sizes
Oort Cloud Oddities: A Woman Who Likes Football
Oort Cloud Oddities: Alternative Pest Control
Oort Cloud Oddities: Bathrooms
Oort Cloud Oddities: Art is suffering
Oort Cloud Oddities: James Lick's Monument
Oort Cloud Oddities: Efficiency Kitchen
Oort Cloud Oddities: Bird Flu
Oort Cloud Oddities: Ford
Oort Cloud Oddities: Women's Equality Day
Oort Cloud Oddities: Spring Horoscopes 1
Oort Cloud Oddities: Name Branding
Oort Cloud Oddities: Florida Pizza
Oort Cloud Oddities: Off the Path
Oort Cloud Oddities: Coffee Feng Shui
Oort Cloud Oddities: Family Travels
Oort Cloud Oddities: April 15
Oort Cloud Oddities: Skidmarks and Gay Cowboys
Oort Cloud Oddities: Birthday Worms
Oort Cloud Oddities: Pizza Parent Pain
Oort Cloud Oddities: Sharkey the Impaler
Oort Cloud Oddities: Internet Birthday
Oort Cloud Oddities: Fourmyle and the Hat
Oort Cloud Oddities: Cupid and the Tomkitten
Oort Cloud Oddities: 50 is better
Oort Cloud Oddities: Smarter Clothes
Oort Cloud Oddities: Worm Guy
Oort Cloud Oddities: Scary Workout Videos
Oort Cloud Oddities: 2005 in review
Oort Cloud Oddities: Kentucky Fried Christmas
Oort Cloud Oddities: Gross Gifts
Oort Cloud Oddities: State Slogans
Oort Cloud Oddities: Black Friday
Oort Cloud: Pot and Brain Growth
Oort Cloud Oddities: Naughty Wasp
Oort Cloud Oddities: Cats Hate Winter
Oort Cloud Oddities: Potty Helmet Laws
Oort Cloud Oddities: Foraging
Oort Cloud Oddities: Two-Stroke Engine Man
Oort Cloud Oddities: Corrupting Games
Oort Cloud Oddities: Spinach!!
Oort Cloud Oddities: Talk Like A Pirate Day
Oort Cloud Oddities: Mutant Mice
Oort Cloud Oddities: Beer and Football
Oort Cloud Oddities: Dragonfly Swarm
Oort Cloud Oddities: Miss Plastic Surgery
Oort Cloud Oddities: Hydrophobic Felines
Oort Cloud Oddities: Forum Fonts
Oort Cloud Oddities: Astrological Hair
Oort Cloud Oddities: Martong Theme Restaurant
Oort Cloud Oddities: Axing the TV
Oort Cloud Oddities: Hempopotamus
Oort Cloud Oddities: Growing Pains
Oort Cloud Oddities: British Sporks
Oort Cloud Oddities: Night of the Living 'Do
Oort Cloud Oddities: Stuck in a Tree
Oort Cloud Oddities: Picasso
Oort Cloud Oddities: Finger Food
Oort Cloud Oddities: Safe Surfing
Oort Cloud Oddities: DIY Therapy
Oort Cloud Oddities: Steroids and Baseball
Oort Cloud Oddities: Mrs. Mike
Oort Cloud Oddities: Oscar Birthday
Oort Cloud Oddities: Gift Enema
Oort Cloud Oddities: Cry Room
Oort Cloud Oddities: HMO blues
Oort Cloud Oddities: FishinFoo
Oort Cloud Oddities: Squid Eye
Oort Cloud Oddities: Cantina
Oort Cloud Oddities: Beese
Oort Cloud Oddities: Health Care
Oort Cloud Oddities: Squid-Eye Love
Oort Cloud Oddities:LibraryDay
Oort Cloud Oddities: Yeast
Oort Cloud Oddities: Fantasy Playoffs
Oort Cloud Oddities: 2004 In Review
Oort Cloud Oddities: Kid Rock Dog Farts
Oort Cloud Oddities: Rainy Day Raiders
Oort Cloud Oddities: Birthright Pie
Oort Cloud Oddities: Bruce-Free Thanksgiving
Oort Cloud Oddities: Napoleon
Oort Cloud Oddities: Meaningful Books
Oort Cloud Oddities: Viking Sanchez
Oort Cloud Oddities: Halloween Costumes
Oort Cloud Oddities: Key Ring Synergy
Oort Cloud Oddities: Mohawk Mommy
Oort Cloud Oddities: Clerihews
Oort Cloud Oddities: Learning Poetry
Oort Cloud Oddities: The Genesis of Gender
Oort Cloud Oddities: Sightseeing
Oort Cloud Oddities: Movie Merchandise
Oort Cloud Oddities: Lotion
Oort Cloud Oddities: Writers Online
Oort Cloud Oddities: Clothing
Oort Cloud Oddities: Summer Movies
Oort Cloud Oddities: Cheap Summer Travel
Oort Cloud Oddities: Galapagos TV
Oort Cloud Oddities: The Horse Whisperer
Oort Cloud Oddities: Nazgul Gardeners
Oort Cloud Oddities: Peevil Knievel
Oort Cloud Oddities: Body Image
Oort Cloud Oddities: The Pickle Jar
Oort Cloud Oddities: Ground Squirrels
Oort Cloud Oddities: CAPTCHAs
Oort Cloud Oddities: Zombie Infection
Oort Cloud Oddities: Haiku War
Oort Cloud Oddities: 2004 Campaign Advice
Oort Cloud Oddities: Child rearing
Oort Cloud Oddities: Hemingway
Oort Cloud Oddities: Clarence Darrow
Oort Cloud Oddities: The 55 MPH Pig
Oort Cloud Oddities: The Mommy Voice
Oort Cloud Oddities: Extreme Hobbies
Oort Cloud Oddities: Presidential Candidates 2004
Oort Cloud Oddities: Free-verse Neanderthal
Oort Cloud Oddities: Coffee Shop Offices
Oort Cloud Oddities: Mad cow
Oort Cloud Oddities: The Enzo vs. the Metro
Oort Cloud Oddities: Real Estate Crocs
Oort Cloud Oddities: Christmas Gifts
Oort Cloud Oddities: Bodice-Rippers and Football
Oort Cloud Oddities: It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Oort Cloud Oddities: Aunt Mary and the Pumpkin Pie
Oort Cloud Oddities: Eat or be eaten
Oort Cloud Oddities: New Year's Resolutions
Oort Cloud Oddities: World Beard and Mustache Championships
Oort Cloud Oddities: Grandpa Queen and the Chicken of Doom
Oort Cloud Oddities: Night of the Satanists
Oort Cloud Oddities: Uncle Buddy
Oort Cloud Oddities: Mes de los Muertos
Oort Cloud Oddities: Weapons of Mouse Destruction
Oort Cloud Oddities: Pride comes before a wet pants leg.
Oort Cloud Oddities: Celebrity Relationships
Oort cloud oddities: The rise and fall of the gastropod Mafia
Oort Cloud Oddities: The Devil's Agent
Oort Cloud Oddities: National Nude Recreation Week 2003

Other articles by Alexandra Queen you might enjoy...

Unfit Mother Goose
Eternal Monday Afternoon
Growing Up Wrong
Isoflavones and Black Cohosh
WikiWikiWebster 07
&#%*in' Harvest
Rain, Rain Go Away.
Riding in Cars with Cherries
Peek of the Week 333
Raccoon Mansion
Blair Witch Snail Swap Project
With No Announcement
Monkey Business
Peek of the Week 285
Heart Brake
Food for Thought
Peek of the Week 244
Red Shirt
My Friend Clucka
Peek of the Week 229
Peek of the Week 224
Random Comic
Lichloved 88
Review: Death Race (2008)
Lichloved 87
Lichloved 85
Lichloved 86 - Bonus!
Lichloved 84
Lichloved 83
Lichloved 80-somethin' Synopsis