Most Thanksgivings, I am worrying about who in the family is vegetarian this year and who is doing keto and who is on the meat-only caveman diet – stuff like that.
This year, I am giving thanks.
Things I personally am thankful for:
1. Hurricane season is almost over. (If we do get a hurricane this late, all thanks are off. Just saying.)
2. My place didn’t flood.
3. We got to talk about something besides COVID-19 for a couple weeks.
4. My roof stayed put.
5. After Ida passed, when it’s hot and dark and I am trying to decide which out-of-town relative to delight with my presence, my electricity comes back. (Of course, all the Gunches immediately move in with me. That makes 13 of us and one bathroom. Luckily, I live in an apartment behind my gentleman friend Lust’s Sloth Lounge, and the men wander over to the Sloth and use their facilities, so none of the potted plants in the courtyard get violated.)
6. That right after the storm, the Saints played in Jacksonville and beat Green Bay 38-3. We needed it that week.
7. That my mother-in-law Ms. Larda is back home and cooking gumbo and not in Cincinnati eating Skyline Chili.
I got to explain Number 7. Five days before Ida churned through, back when the sky was blue and we had nothing but COVID-19 to worry about, Ms. Larda put on her fanciest face mask and got on a plane for California to help her niece, Lovey Lee.
Lovey Lee is trying to break into show business, and she is scheduled to have a “procedure,” Ms. Larda says. She needs somebody to check her out of the hospital afterwards and look after her for a couple days.
“What kind of procedure,” I ask.
“It used to be called ‘surgery,’” says Ms. Larda. “Before that, it was called ‘an operation.’ But now it’s a ‘procedure.’ And I ain’t supposed to reveal no details.”
“Which means it’s either her face or her butt,” pipes up my grandchild Lollipop, who is way too smart for her age.
This particular niece’s full name is Lovey Lee Leghorn. If the name sounds familiar, it is because you are thinking of Foghorn, the chicken. Lovey Lee ain’t famous.
But she could be, any time, especially now, now that she got either her face or backside lifted.
But anyway, while Ms. Larda is gone, along comes Hurricane Ida, and does what it does, and Ms. Larda can’t get hold of nobody to see if we are okay because all our phones are down, and all she can do is watch Jim Cantore on the Weather Channel crouching next to a dumpster that blew over and yelling that it’s extremely windy.
When it’s time to fly home, she stocks up Lovey Lee’s freezer, leaves her with an ice pack draped across her face, or possibly sitting on it, and gets on the plane, trusting that, since her original ticket says it will take her to New Orleans, it will.
But no, when she gets to her layover in Cincinnati, she is informed the flight to New Orleans is cancelled. “There was a HURRICANE there,” the gate agent says, like it was news. Then she offers her a credit on her next flight with this same airline. Ms. Larda say they’ll hear from her lawyer and stomps off to find a motel.
The motel has a cocktail lounge, so she goes in there and grabs up their drinks menu, and sees a drink called the Vieux Carré. She orders it, and the waiter says, real prim “It’s pronounced View Carry.” So she tries calling us again, to come rescue her.
By now our phones are working, so when she calls, me and my daughter Gumdrop offer to drive to Cincinnati. We are hoping that everybody’s power will be on and all the Gunches have gone home before we get back.
8. All the Gunches have gone home by the time we get back.
And, if you are listening, God, I will give a lot more thanks next year if it ain’t like this year.