Thanksgiving dinner was to be an event during which the Hillbilly family put their best foot forward.
It was the first such holiday meal hostessed by Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. The #1 son was bringing along a friend from college. We picked up some clutter. Farmer H vacuumed and mopped and dusted. Probably in that order, unfortunately. Because every time I opened the microwave door (with TWO round drawer-pull handles!) I was rewarded with a bevy of dust bunnies raining from above. I figure Farmer H used that telescoping-handle round brushy duster, no Lemon Pledge, and swiped at the decorative rail along the top of cabinets. Thank the Gummi Mary, I did enough opening and closing to harvest all those bunnies so that none hopped into the food I had set out buffet style on top of the stove.
#1 said he would rather we used real dishes and glasses rather than Styrofoam trays and red Solo cups. I even bought napkins. Paper, sure. But we don't exactly have the linen kind with fancy carved holders. And still better than a select-a-size paper towel.
You might see where this is heading already...
It's not like we don our gay apparel and dine all formal-like. No suits and ties. No dresses. The Pony was in shorts and Adidas slides. But they were zip-fly, plaid shorts, with a navy blue collared polo shirt. It's not like he was in mesh athletic shorts and a t-shirt with the sleeves cut out. Farmer H, however, had been better-dressed for the opening night of the annual holiday basketball tournament than what he wore to the dinner table.
I looked up to see Farmer H uncapping those four two-liter soda bottles, and noticed his attire. "Um. What's that on your t-shirt?"
"I don't know. Water, maybe. From carrying the sodas."
"You drove them from your BARn refrigerator in the Gator. I don't know where water would have come from."
"I don't know then."
"You look like a bum who just rolled out of the gutter." Let the record show that Farmer H had on jeans and a cream-colored t-shirt with some kind of logo in red on the left side of his chest. I think the shirt was actually supposed to be cream-colored. I hope so. And there were splotches that looked wet from the chest area to his belly.
As we sat down to eat, I saw with horror that Friend was using a select-a-size paper towel to wipe his mouth.
"Um. I thought The Pony gave everybody a napkin when he set the table." I turned to my right to glare at The Pony."
"Oh, I gave him that. I didn't know if you wanted us to use these." #1 pointed to the triangle-folded napkin under his knife and spoon. Stop it. We're not exactly the Vanderbilts.
"That's okay. I have a whole package. Right there on the stool under the cuckoo clock."
Somehow, between talking of Friend's family and how the only embarrassing thing they could say about him was that he rolls his napkin (and perhaps select-a-size paper towel) up in a ball...and truly embarrassing tales of #1's childhood antics...talk turned to strip clubs. Okay. So perhaps I was the one who brought it up. All I remember is that we were talking about embarrassing things involving faculty and pupils.
"Remember that strip club out here on the highway? You won't, #1, because you weren't born yet. But your dad went there one time with a guy from our apartment complex. And some teachers went there, and were trying to go unnoticed, when a pupil who was a senior came strutting out to do her pole dance! They got out of there as quick as they could. They figured they wouldn't say anything about her, and she wouldn't say anything about them. It was not a classy place."
"It was a hole in the wall! Not like the Playboy Club. They had one of them at South County. Did you know that, #1?"
"No. How would I know that?"
"I knew that. When I was a kid and we went to the mall, we drove past it."
"Yeah. There's a Toys'R'Us there now." Farmer H is a keeper of history.
"Huh. It's gone downhill, then."
"Well, it has!"
"I remember going there with my buddy. You had to have a key, and he had one."
#1 looked at me, eyebrow raised. I nodded. Now we were going to hear about Farmer H's Playboy Club experience. No stopping that train once it's left the station.
"Yeah, we went in and sat down at a table. I was really impressed. It was nice. And I noticed they had laid out candy for us. I was thinking, 'This is classy.' I picked up that piece of candy and peeled off the wrapper and took a bite. That's when I realized that it was butter. But I had to act like I knew what I was doing, so I ate the whole thing."
I'm pretty sure Friend will remember this Thanksgiving dinner for a long time.