Monday, November 22, 2010

It Must Be the Whiskey Talking

The holidays at Chez Airedaleparent can get, in a word, ugly. Last Christmas found me drinking steadily beginning around noon, with the meal due to hit the table around five o'clock in the afternoon. Since I'm the primary cook for this deal, it wasn't pretty, and also since I largely gave up drinking after my little romance with Mr. McAlcohol in college, it was exceptional. Something was definitely wrong when my best friend phoned about two o'clock and I hissed, ominously: "You'd better get over here now, I've been drinking since twelve!"

She and her husband showed up very shortly thereafter, both wearing concerned expressions.

I don't remember exactly what had transpired, but there's a good chance that it was either some criticism of the food preparations by one or more parent and/or complaints from my sister, who only dislodged herself from her iPhone between phone calls from a particularly needy girlfriend to swipe Dad's bourbon. My brother-in-law basically hid in the family room watching sports and keeping a low profile; ever since the year that SFU barely lost its Thanksgiving football game in the final seconds while I cursed and waved a paring knife over my head, he avoids me while I'm cooking.

One of the mitigating factors is that Dr. Airedaleparent decided to accuse me of giving his precious Maker's Mark (if you know your bourbons, then you know it's overrated, anyway) to my friends, after he found an empty fifth in the kitchen trash. I glared at him, pointed to the doorway, and ordered him out of the kitchen with the following threat: "I did NOT serve your bourbon to anybody. Go ask your other child where it went, and furthermore, if you want to eat sometime THIS MONTH, you will get out of here and let me finish cooking!"

As far as I'm concerned, having dealt with this since I reached the legal drinking age, it's strictly Bring Your Own Bourbon at the Chez- because I don't want to be yelled at. Fat lot of good it did, right? Seriously, I'd rather cart a fifth of bourbon back and forth from my home sixty miles away than answer to these accusations.

If you're thinking that this sounds like a lot of liquor, this is the South. We drink on all major holidays- today, for example, being the one known as "Monday". The day begins with Bloody Marys (I'm allergic to tomato juice, so I don't drink in the morning) and escalates to beer by midday, followed by bourbon just before supper, and concluding with three or four bottles of Riesling during the meal. The catch with the wine is that Daddy can drink two to three bottles by himself, so we drink like a bunch of fish to keep him from it.

A few years ago, at the wedding of a friend's son, Dad, who was about seventy-five at the time, was out in the parking lot drinking with a bunch of my classmates. The only thing he could remember later was "The bottle had some kind of a bird on it," and it wasn't Old Crow or Wild Turkey. I figured out by process of elimination that the Twins, a former Secret Service Agent and an Air Marshal, had come up with a bottle of Fighting Cock. I don't know which bothered me more: that my father delivered those two (the age difference), or that they didn't know better about their whiskey. It's scenes like these that have prompted the flurry of comparisons to $#*! My Dad Says -the eponymous dad being another crusty old doctor from Kentucky...

I love my parents. I know that the holidays we have are numbered, but that doesn't change the fact that a lot of alcohol helps make "togetherness" a bit more palatable.

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