My family’s eldest generation is proper New England society. They are a people of hors d’oeuvres– never appetizers– of daily cocktail hour, of Cape Cod summer homes; you say tomato, they say tomahto (quite literally). But when we all get together, the shenanigans begin. This Thanksgiving was no exception.
My parents were hosting, and there was a counter covered with hot hors d’oeuvres. So my dad, in his fine calligraphy, created a sign to indicate such:
I think the sign remained above the food for all of ten minutes. The first smart alec to relocate it chose an unsuspecting female cousin’s back. Amid cocktails, dinner, and snickers the sign migrated from my husband’s shoulders to my great-aunt’s butt to just below what my well cultured grandmother would call my bust. And it’s really not like me to cut short a good time, but I was a little afraid of seeing my elders go much further.
So I used the unwelcome, 82-degree Floridian “fall” temperature as an excuse to land the sign in its final resting place on the outdoor thermometer. I laughed a little at my unprecedented role as Guardian of Appropriateness.
And then out of nowhere and out of context, I heard an elderly female voice behind me bellow, “I smoke a joint every day!”
Evidently one family member had decided to spend a while on the bandwagon– no ordinary occurrence in a family of extremely social drinkers– but in place of Margaritas, she thought she might like to take up with Mary Janes. And, as one whose only experience with getting high was purely accidental, I was equal parts shocked and amused.
But what street cred I evidently lacked among my upper-crust, septuagenarian relatives, I made up for by being the resident tattoo expert. The unseasonable heat had lent itself to my wearing a tank top, so my large shoulder piece was visible to my extended family for the first time. I was prepared for disapproval, but I only got compliments and questions. I even provided consultation to a 70-something relative who was considering her first tattoo.
We discussed design, size, location, and pain level, and she seemed so thrilled at the idea, but then she asked me in earnest whether it would be appropriate at her age. And I decided right then that I would relinquish my short-held Guardian of Appropriateness title– I told her I thought it was great. Because I want to be just like these folks when I grow up.
They are Hot Stuff.
What did you do for Thanksgiving? Did you eat appetizers or hors d’oeuvres? And if I sent you the Hot Stuff sign, where would you put it?