It’s when we gather together to hear the Lord’s blessing…at least according to the song.
Going back into my Day of Gratitude archives, I pull one out of my hat.
I was with the Flying Dutchman back in 2005, and we went to East Hampton to have Thanksgiving lunch with an artist friend of his.
Sounds sweet, right? A nice long bus ride aboard the fancy Hampton Jitney…bags and bags of gifts and offerings since Thorn could never just graciously accept an invitation. He had what I call an Igor Complex. He rarely felt welcomed anywhere so he always had to show up laden with, over consumption, as if he were one of the not so wise Wise Men:
Dean and Deluca Basil and Lime Sauce feeds 18.
For me it was an awful lot of trouble to go eat.
I liked staying close to home. At that time, still spinning my rosary, I’d go to mass, pray…say thanks…then pop a bird in the oven.
But Thorn, who felt that was much too dull, insisted we go see Janet, I’ll call her, out at the beach.
Little back story:
She’s famous. I don’t know if you’d know her, but in the 80s she was one of the hottest modern painters around. She was right up there with De Kooning, Stella, Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns all hanging majestically side by side in the Museum of Modern Art.
Of course now, this is well over 20 years later and she’s no longer a household word which let’s say, has made her not the most congenial person to spend a day with.
She drinks. From the time she gets up till she eventually passes out with a Tiffany wineglass in her tinted hand. She still paints and lives on her many European royalties, but she’s basically now a 60 something year-old drunk who only talks of the good old days. It’s very sad, but once you get passed that part…and you do very quickly…it’s maddening.
Rather then truly being her guest, you’re more or less grandly, rudely received.
In other words…you’re allowed to kiss her paintbrush.
So we get there. Thorn of course, who also belongs in rehab, starts playing houseboy. Such an attractive role to see your boyfriend in. Oh yes, it really makes you want to rip his clothes off to give him a great big…
“More wine Janet?”
More wine? Just plug her into an IV of Merlot why don’t you.
“Susannah, do you mind peeling a few turnips?”
I didn’t come here to pare, dice and slice, but there I am with a beach towel wrapped around my pretty, new Agnes B. dress wielding a William Sonoma potato peeler.
I’M A FUCKING GUEST.
Sorry, that slipped out.
Suddenly all these people, much smarter than us, show up right when dinner is served. The table is now packed while Thorn and I are the designated servers. How the fuck did this happen?
Janet is holding court like a tipsy Catherine de Medicis saying things like, “Susannah dear, don’t forget the chutney.”
Chutney? I don’t even know what that is. I’m Italian.
Thorn, who I’m about to kill, is now so drunk that he’s sitting down no longer doing a thing to help. I am basically on my own.
Furious but from Connecticut, I continue to serve everyone…like being on the turnpike and not being able to turn around.
Hazel, just call me Hazel.
At the conclusion of this Waspy, bullshit meal, our hostess gets up disappearing into her bedroom before her parting remark of, “Susannah, tell me when you have the dishes cleared and dessert’s on the table.”
Ma, Ma…I need you…
“Janet, before you go…
it was very nice of you to invite me to your home and studio, but you know what, if I went to Sing Sing for lunch, they would have treated me better. So…let’s just say, I won’t be here when you emerge from your next…
Thanks Ma…knew I could count on you.
I took my beach towel, snapped and flung it across the table making sure it landed on Thorn, whose head was dangling in his plate like a very badly done beheading…grabbed my coat, and a turkey leg wrapped in one of her Porthos napkins that I still have since they’re 50 bucks apiece, and walked the two miles…not one but two, to take the next Jitney home.
Thorn and I didn’t speak for a good long while after that…we eventually did dragging out the inevitable for another four agonizing years.
And from then on, on every Thanksgiving, and this one will be no different I say…
Thank-you God…thank-you for giving me the strength to run no longer having a Thorn in my side.
I don’t serve drunks and addicts chutney anymore.
Them days are over.
Happy Thanksgiving to all…be happy…
no matter what.