What in the world do you eat for Christmas dinner? Let me get all Jacob Marley on you and take you to Christmas Day, 1999. Hope you brought your appetite…
MEAL ONE: WEST FORK, ARKANSAS
That day I had lunch at my mother’s house, and although I can’t remember exactly what we had to eat, I do remember that lunch would have an ethnic theme(Mexican, Italian, Chinese). Sometimes it would be Finger Food Only, which has been popular enough to have been the conceit used for the menu for a while now. Regardless of the theme, there were certain general items that would spring up:
— The Overcooked/Undercooked Thing
— The Should-Have-Made-Twice-As-Much Thing
— The I-Got-The-Recipe-From-A-Friend-But His/Hers-Turned-Out-Better Thing
— The Holy-Shit-That’s-Spicy-Gimme-Another-One-Damn-I’ll-Crap-Like-A-Dragon-With-Colorectal-Cancer-Now-But-Those-Are-GOOD Thing
— The Wait-Where-Did-You-Get-That-I-Didn’t-See-It-In-The-Kitchen-Is-It-Good?-Well-For-Fuck’s-Sake-How-Did-I-Miss-That? Thing
— The Ham. My grandma always brings ham.
Another dining tradition: writing your name on your red Solo cup with a Sharpie so you don’t get it confused with another person’s cup. This gives me an opportunity to express my true self every year by writing something witty on my cup. And by “witty” I mean “a very thinly-veiled dick joke”.
MEAL THREE: FAYETTEVILLE, ARKANSAS
Meal three, at my father’s house, is Eureaka Pizza.
Sometimes on Christmas Eve, sometimes on Christmas night(as it was this night), we used to eat Eureka Pizza and Rotel dip with Scoops, a tortilla chip invented for the more impatient strain of fatasses, like me. Births and deaths and the wheel of time have made Christmas at my father’s home a bit more traditional, but in the past we conceded to being, gastronomically, overwrought with holiday food; the pizza was a welcome break. This was a time before Eureka Pizza got kinda flimsy, and I would always request a Barefoot Sally, their vegetarian option wonderfully overdressed with banana peppers. Dipping my pizza crust in cheese dip was a true sign of the holidays.
MEAL TWO: SPRINGDALE, ARKANSAS
This particular year(and I am lucky enough to say this was the only year) I met my partner for a mid-afternoon meal, secluded away from both our families at the little Chinese place just west of where Highway 412 meets Highway 71. We had been together two months at this point; still in that discovery phase that makes little clandestine meetings seem romantic and exciting. He had already learned to roll his eyes at my incessant use of chopsticks; I had already learned that he would eventually drop food on his shirt, just my mother seems to do. It was warm outside. I ordered beef with broccoli. And that’s all I remember, other than how thrilled my heart was to be eating with him.
Ok, my stomach was thrilled, too(have I mentioned I’ve lost 35 pounds?). In all three cases it was more about fellowship than food. I was blessed to have an abundance of both, and continue to count my blessings.
I know, kind of a tenuous connection, but still this bit of knowledge for the music part of your brain: this wonderful song appears, as is, on three different albums. Kind of. The New York kids in Department of Eagles first went by the name The Whitey On The Moon UK. The “UK” was there to keep people from confusing them with another band on the Left Coast, called(you guessed it) The Whitey On The Moon. Even though the band would change their name to Department Of Eagles, their first album was released as The Whitey On The Moon UK LP. In the actual UK, the album was released as The Cold Nose. Later a remix EP of “Sailing By Night”, with the original song leading the tracks, was released, called A Johnny Glaze Christmas: Classical Snatches and Samples a Go Go 2003-2005.
See? Christmas, right there in the title! And three things! Totally connected! You’re welcome!
[jeez, the next one will be better.]