As we came into Mary's house, the sight of many young people busily preparing to receive guests greeted us. Mary has five sons. Five! Sons.
We deposited our own gifts of a beautiful flower arrangement, my "pikes" (remember?) and some veges that needed to find another home (I liberated them from Park who got too much free food from a charity organization) in the kitchen. Mr. M., Mary's husband, was putting last touches on his creation.
When the table was finally set, we sat down around it. Young men (including Sonny) were in another room, enjoying their privacy from adults. Mary's youngest son, Daniel, is nine years old; there is a ten years' gap between him and his older brothers. They came in one by one and introduced themselves (it was a trip through the Bible, because all of them have biblical names). There was no sign of Daniel, until I heard some people's laughter and noticed a piece of a blanket that quickly disappeared around the corner - Daniel under it, feeling shy, was doing some reconnaissance before entering the room.
To say that Mr. M. did his best for us would be a gross understatement. A huge platter stood in the middle of the table with rows and rows of various sushi prettily arranged on it. Smaller plates with slightly seared tuna and sashimi surrounded it. A beautiful bawl of salad with spring leaf mix and thin slices of red radish was a sight to behold. On a side table was spiral-sliced ham (cooked in their oven), chicken, mashed potatoes and asparagus. The dishes on the table were very pleasing to an eye with their unquestionably Japanese simplicity of form and patterns.
I was worried about Park. He is biased against the Japanese, and usually doesn't touch their food. He behaved, though, eagerly munching and praising the cook. Taka and I were in culinary heaven, especially, him, because he loves it when Japanese food is made properly by Japanese. We shamelessly plucked one piece of sushi or sashimi after another off their resting places and stuffed our faces, until an idea occurred that there is also some exquisite ham to try, and we'd better save some room for it. You should've seen it! The edges of every slice were blinking and oozing in delightful glaze, the aroma was warm and inviting.
A conversation jumped from food to sports (the boys were watching football and, time to time, reporting score to the parents). Talking gradually became more interesting than the food, and we turned our minds away from the beckoning platters, except sometimes thoughtfully tapping our stomachs as if checking for any available space in them and furtively picking our teeth behind guarding hands.
Mr.M. is not only a gifted cook but also quite a philosopher. He knows surprisingly a lot about American schools and politics. We all had something to add to a discussion, so it continued for a couple of hours. Finally, Park, who was visibly bored since he could not monopolize conversation and played with his IPhone for the last half an hour, declared that Roberta was tired and it was time to go home. She seemed startled by that statement for a few seconds but complied and ruefully smiled at us. We didn't even get to have the desert.
At home I put away the loot or food that we brought with us from our friends' house. Both cats were of an opinion that they were reprehensibly overlooked in the whole Thanksgiving feasting activity, so I let them have a few pieces of my precious ham (my own, my precious!). When Taka raided the refrigerator and brought back a plate of food, they were right on top of him. And just like that, with a plate of leftovers in front of me I knew that our THANKS-HA-GI-NUKAH-VING was over.
|Hmm, thinks Chickie, I thought there would be more food!|