November 15th, 1990
At home, England
I went to great lengths setting the table with the mish mash of china I’ve collected, going so far as to pull out the crystal glasses Nana bought mum and dad many moons ago. I cut flowers to a size suitable for table conversation and lit a few candles.
Before mum was even in the door, she was oohing and aahing over how good “the dinner,” smelled. I graciously accepted the chocolate gateaux and popped it in the fridge, inwardly feeling amused that she’d at least taken the time to tear the price from the Waitrose label.
I poured the drinks and we started in on the prawn cocktail, hoping my parents wouldn’t notice the absence of Worcestershire sauce, which, until this afternoon, I had no idea called for such.
Dad was first to finish, while mum was still in the midst of recounting the story of the Thanksgiving she spent in New York.
“Och, you’re going love it,” she gushed, smiling from ear to ear. “Wait ‘til you see the size of the turkey!”
“With the weather being as it is in Southern California,” dad mused, “I wonder if they’ll have it outside.”
“Oh, I didn’t think of that, I’ll have to check with David.”
Mum shook her head, dismissively. “It’ll be inside,” she stated. “Trust me.”
I topped up the drinks and cleared the dishes from the first course. Coming out of the kitchen empty handed, I smiled nervously and declared, “I have an announcement.”
I saw mum’s eyes dart to my stomach, prompting me to laugh.
“Mum! It’s not that sort of announcement! Honestly, what are you like!”
Dad, clearly oblivious, gave me a questioning look.
“I don’t have anything else for us to eat!”
I watched dad sniff the air.
“What you smell is a failed attempt at chicken cacciatore.”
Dad burst out laughing. “What happened?”
“I don’t really know, all I can tell you is that it’s in the bin. Totally unsalvageable.”
“Not to worry,” mum chirped. “It’s not about what’s on the table, it’s about who’s around it.”
“Get you,” I laughed.
Dad nodded his head and held up his glass. “To our wee family,” he beamed. “May you enjoy your first American Thanksgiving, hen.”
“Thanks, dad,” I smiled.
“Here here,” mum concurred.
“Cheers,” I said. “Can I interest anybody in some cake?”