I don’t know if I would rather have one holiday feast with our combined families under one roof or two get-togethers at two locations and keep the families separated. There are good and bad points to each.
When we started talking about Thanksgiving plans months ago we talked about each scenario. Linda offered to host both families at our house on Thanksgiving Day. Of course she knew who would be doing most of the cooking and pre-party cleaning… ME! However, each of our sisters wanted to host separate events this year for reasons that I won’t go into here. So to keep peace with everyone, it was decided that we would have her family’s gathering on that Thursday and my family’s on Saturday. Menus were planned and arrangements were made.
I was happy because it cut down on my work considerably. The housework was not really a factor because I would have the house cleaned regardless of whether we were having a houseful of people or it was just Linda and I. Cooking would be immensely simpler as I would only have to prepare one or two dishes for each meal (I couldn’t very well attend empty-handed now could I?).
Also, with the meals being hosted at someone else’s house I didn’t have to worry about having to entertain the ladies by appearing in some kind of feminine apparel. So I was ready to relax and enjoy the holiday. Of course you know that things would never be that easy for me, don’t you.
On Sunday before her family’s get-together, Linda informed me that she had volunteered my services to her sister and I was to ‘report’ on Wednesday morning to assist with house cleaning. I tried to find out from Linda if she had talked with her sister about Darryl’s visit, but Linda would not tell me. I know that they talk often on the phone and have shared many things throughout their adult lives. I just hoped that this wasn’t one of those things that they had shared.
When I got to Julie’s house Wednesday morning she greeted me with a hug and a sincere thanks for being able to help out. “I just hate all of the preparation for these things. I’m ok when the people are here. I just hate cleaning and the set-up.”
We got started with Julie handing me a well-worn waist apron without saying a word, just assuming that I would wear it, and worked together all morning. I must say that the house certainly need some ‘help’ and I could tell that Julie was not the most thorough housekeeper that ever lived. As lunchtime approached Julie said she would fix us something to eat while I kept working. I had just finished the bathroom when she announced lunch was ready. We sat down and enjoyed a light and simple lunch.
“How was your friend’s visit? Did you guys do anything special?” Julie inquired. I had my mouth full and was able to take a moment to think about my answer before saying anything.
I decided to keep my answer simple and not give too much detail, hoping that maybe Julie would reveal what she knows. “It was good to see Darryl and catch up on what’s been going on with him. We had dinner in two nights and he took us out one night,” I volunteered. Julie replied with a ‘that’s nice’ and then changed subjects to talk about what we needed to do to get the house ready for the next day. All of my worrying about what she knew or suspected and she just glossed over the subject. So maybe she didn’t know anything about Darryl and Linda. If she did, I was sure that she would have been either teasing me about it or digging for more details. Since she did neither I gathered that Linda hadn’t talked to her after all. It looked like I dodged that bullet.
The afternoon was spent setting the table, getting serving dishes ready, and a final walk-around to make sure the house was ready. With that completed, Julie thanked me profusely and I was on my way home.
I could make up some exciting story about the dinner being a constant embarrassment for me but, fortunately, the ladies took over Thursday morning with cooking and I was left out. I almost complained but decided not to rock the boat. I was drafted into clean-up duty after the meal was over, but even that was done without any comments made or an apron appearing for me to wear. I asked Linda about it on the drive home, wondering if she had said something, but she assured me that she hadn’t. She wasn’t sure why I had been excluded from the pre-dinner prep or why the subject of ‘
There was still my family’s dinner yet to come.