Martha Won’t Be Coming This Year
With that in mind, there will be a few minor changes regarding the meal and decor, as outlined below. Please be aware of them, and adjust your schedule, your appetite and dress appropriately for the following agenda.
1) Our driveway will not be lined with homemade, paper bag luminaries. After several trial runs and two visits from the fire department, it was decided that, no matter how cleverly done, rows of flaming lunch sacks do not have the desired welcoming effect.
2) Once inside, please note that the entry space will not be decorated with swags of freshly picked foliage shipped in from Connecticut. Instead, we included our two Great Dane Boxer mix dogs in decorating by having them track in colorful red and green paw prints from the painted rug left by the doggy door.
3) The dining table will not be covered with expensive linens, fancy China, or crystal goblets. If possible, we will use dishes that match and everyone will get a fork. Since this is Christmas, we will refrain from using a mixture of various leftover birthday paper dinner plates, or the leftover Thanksgiving napkins, and our plastic cup collection.
4) Our centerpiece will not be a tower of fresh fruit and flowers. Instead we will be proudly displaying a hand-crafted, from the finest construction paper and pine cones, Christmas Tree. The artist assures me it is a tree.
5 )We will be dining somewhat later than planned. However, our daughter will entertain you while you wait. I’m sure she will be happy to share every choice comments she heard regarding all the seasonal comments shared with us by all those holiday shoppers who went a hunting in November. Please remember that most of these comments were made on Black Friday Eve as shoppers were busy gathering up all the Christmas joy, instead of being all snug in bed at home giving thanks for what use to be called Thanksgiving.
6) As an accompaniment to our daughter’s recital of these events we will be playing some Christian CHRISTmas music. Apparently we have to now give a warning for such things so as not to offend anyone.
7) A dainty silver bell will not be rung to announce the start of our Christmas meal. We have chosen to keep our traditional method of assembling when the smoke alarm goes off.
8 ) There will be no formal seating arrangement. When the smoke alarm sounds, please gather around the table and sit where you like. In the spirit of harmony, we will ask all the children to sit at a separate table. In a separate room. Next door. And I would like to take this opportunity to remind our younger diners that “passing the rolls” is neither a football play nor an excuse to bean your cousin in the head with bread.
9) The turkey will not be carved at the table. I know you have seen the Norman Rockwell image of one person carving a turkey in front of a crowd of appreciative onlookers. Such a scene may occur somewhere in America , but it won’t be happening at our dinner table. For safety reasons, the turkey will be carved in the kitchen at a private ceremony. I stress “private”, meaning Do not, under any circumstances, enter the kitchen to laugh at my husband and I and this very intimate and private tradition. Do not send small, unsuspecting children, or older, helpful grandparents into the kitchen to check on our progress. We have a very large, very sharp knives in our hands. The turkey is unarmed. It stands to reason that we will eventually win the battle. When we do, we will all eat
10) For the duration of the meal, we will refer to the gravy by its lesser-known name: Thickening Agent. If a young diner questions you regarding the origins or makeup of this hearty, stick to your ribs gravy, smile kindly and say that you know the answer, but it’s a secret that can’t be revealed to them until they to have advanced in their cooking abilities.
11) Instead of offering a choice among 12 different scrumptious desserts, we will be serving the traditional pumpkin pie, Pillsbury cookies decorated by beautiful little hands; no really! There also might be some desserts garnished with whipped cream and dog tongue marks. You still have a choice: take it or leave it.
That concludes our list of alterations. Again, I apologize that Martha will not be joining us this year.
No matter what though, even without Martha, we all can have a very