Babe and I ate Thanksgiving dinner with my son and his kids and also my ex-husband and ex-husband's new wife. Are we the picture of modern family or what?
After swallowing a mouthful of turkey and dressing, I said, "WalMart's got Cuisinart Handichoppers for five bucks on Black Friday. I'm going to buy a few for Christmas gifts."
My son the lawyer, stared at me like I needed a brain transplant.
"Mom, are you nuts? Don't even think of going to WalMart on Black Friday."
The grandkids from hell giggled. My son stared at me. "Do you have a death wish?"
"I most certainly do not," I quipped while the grandkids laughed even louder. "I have a wish to buy Cuisinart food choppers and I'm gonna."
He cleared his throat as though practicing his judicial expression. (He'll make a scary judge one of these days.)
"I'm handling a law suit right now brought on from last year's Black Friday sale. The poor woman got crushed and wound up in the hospital with multiple head wounds and a gunshot to her foot."
"She must have wanted a food chopper even worse than I do."
"Mom! These so-called sales inspire barbarity in people. Stores stock only a few advertised items and once they're gone, they're gone. Black Friday is just another word for stampede."
My eyebrows knitted together to form a big punctuation mark while I strained my brain to remember how many little choppers were on the shelf when I scoped them out. I saw four on Tuesday, but assumed the Wally World Worker Bees planned to restock before Friday.
"Tell me something son, did the nice folks slaving away at WalMart at least send her flowers? I think they should have, don't you?"
He gave me a look that said, I am pretty sure you did not mean to ask that stupid question, so except for this scary look I'm throwing your way, my lips are sealed.
Batting my eyelids, I tried to think of a way to move the conversation as far away from the subject of Black Friday as possible.
"Back in the day," I began, "the word crush meant something far different than it does today. It had nothing to do with holiday bargain shopping.
"Like, I had a crush on Paul Newman after sitting through his first movie fifteen times. Lucky for me, stalking wasn't an issue then, not that I was stalking him mind you, unless writing him letters every day begging him to divorce Joanne and marry me, qualifies."
Six pairs of drooping eyelids at the Thanksgiving table screamed Tryptophan Overdose.
"On prom night, I was afraid my orchid corsage, pinned to the left strap of my blue tulle formal gown would get crushed if I wore a coat over it. So what I remember most about my prom night is that I was so freakin' cold my skin came close to matching the color of my gown."
"What's a tulle?" asked one of the grandkids from hell.
"Some girl thing," his brother replied in a sleepy monotone.
"I decided to pin the orchid on my wrist so that when my date and I were dancing, it wouldn't, well, you know."
Babe looked at me like I needed serious therapy. "Crush your freakin' corsage," he finished the sentence and then rolled his eyes.
"Score one for Babe," I chirped. Heartened that nobody had yet fallen headlong into the sweet potato soufflé, I kept tripping down the road back to the Fab Fifties.
"Back then, the style was to wear five crinoline petticoats underneath a full skirt and starched stiff as a, uh, as a board. It took a lot of planning to avoid crushing them when sitting down for too long."
I saw that only one pair of droopy lids had made it to Siesta City, so the ol' wordsmith in me kept pulling crushing examples from my memory bank.
"After a few months when Paul Newman had not written me back, I had to admit he was not interested in divorce or remarriage. Well, you can imagine: I was totally crushed."
Fueled by boredom and candied yams churning in their overfilled, flatulent bellies, they fled the table en masse and tried to get through the small door at the same time. Alas, they crushed each other like leftover Christmas cookie crumbs.
The mass family exodus was a crushing blow to my ego.