Saturday, November 24, 2012
a three-tevye thanksgiving
If traditions are merely repetitions of once-original ideas, our thanksgiving dinner was laden with traditions-in-the-making.
Never mind that we may do none of them in the future. And that some family traditions that one were -- such as, Pictionary -- just did not happen this year.
If nothing else, it was an eclectic Friday. Starting with Slumdog Millionaire. Even though the movie is well-written and cleverly filmed, it is probably not on the top of many holiday favorites lists. And the reception was mixed in our little group.
In an attempt to get everybody back on board the holiday express, we watched a portion of Funny Girl while the turkey finished its procession from poultry ice cube to dinner starring attraction. Not even The Streisand could upstage the bird.
My sister-in-law created an amazing meal that was characterized more by its basic nature. When I prepared holiday meals, they tended toward the exotic and just plain weird. Christie wisely avoided thse pitfalls with a moist turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, and home-made cranberry relish.
My mother brought a cucumber salad and her trademark sweet potatoes (no yams, thank you very much). Both fit right in with Christie's menu.
But even better than the food was the conversation and repartee. My brother kicked it off with a reading of his Thanksgiving writing project from third grade.
Not too long ago, a friend commented that my family is like a situation comedy family. And they are. In the nicest sense of that term. And we never worry about being cancelled mid-season.
We were then off to a new event for us. Christie read that there was to be a Sound of Music sing along at Bend's live production theater. That was all we knew. And enough for all of us to sign up.
A little background may help here. When The Sound of Music was released in the mid-60s, its Oregon home was exclusively at the Fox Theater in Portland. As a road show.
And just like a Broadway show, tickets were purchased in advance with reserved seats. It was the place where we took out-of-town guests. That alone was enough for the movie to have a special place in my memory.
It is also my niece's favorite movie. That surprises me because she is even a bit more cynical about life than I am.
With that bag of nostalgia slung over our shoulders, we headed off to the Tower Theater. To watch a very bad copy of the film with lyrics subtitles.
The idea was just as advertised. We were all to sing along. But there was much more. Like a bourgeois version of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, we were encouraged to participate in the film.
We booed the Baroness and the Nazis -- as if they had some sort of moral equivalency. We waved small white flowers while singing Edelweiss. New year's poppers were deployed for the first kiss between Maria and the Captain.
It was silly. And a lot of fun. My mother, who had not seen the movie in several years, seemed to enjoy herself as much as the rest of us.
In one day, we managed to visit the Slums of India, the music halls of Fanny Brice, and the Austrian Alps of the Von Trapps -- all while digesting one of the best meals I have had this past year.
That is a tradition I would not mind repeating.