Ray and I got into LAX at a reasonable time on Thanksgiving Day without incident. When we got to his mom’s house, he sat and chatted while I took a quick nap. That afternoon at around 4:30, we all got tidied up and went to the Edendale Grill for a Thanksgiving meal.
Ray’s mom just turned ninety-one. Ambulatory is not a word that comes to mind if one were to describe her. I was a bit edgy getting her into the restaurant with her walker until we finally sat down.
The atmosphere was quite pleasant. Mom sat on one side of the table while Ray and I sat on the other. I was getting hungry and started to examine the menu. It was one of those prix fix menus where you could have this or this or that for an appetizer and so on. Since it was a special day of eating, I decided to be carnivorous. I started with a sweet potato soup (yum) and moved on to a pork dish that came with your standard Thanksgiving dinner accessories such as green beans, mashed potatoes and stuffing—the latter being disgusting.
Stuffing is the number one comfort food of all time. It’s supposed to be soft and pillowy with rivulets of gravy oozing down the sides like a foodgasmic waterfall. (My mom makes a killer Scottish stuffing. It’s good for your coat.) This goop had crunchy nuts in it and a dollop of cranberry sauce on top. Blek! There is nothing worse than soft and pillowy with the occasional crunch topped of with the tart, sweet taste of cranberries. It’s an assaulting cacophony of taste and texture.
I was a bit annoyed by this but knew my desert, pumpkin mousse, would make up for it. I finished most of the meal and ordered coffee. There was this annoying straight couple next to us. She was manipulating him on what he was going to eat by saying things like, “I bet I can guess what you’re going to eat. You’re going to start off with the salad.”
I heard that and actually felt myself getting gayer.
He, on the other hand, with his loud mouth, talked about his “project” and the fact that he was having struggles with “The I.A.” (I.A. is short for IATSE which is the labor union representing technicians, artisans and craftspersons in the entertainment industry). He was a rather interesting sort. You know that guy who’s not really attractive but has an English accent so he becomes kinda hot until you realize he’s just a typical LA transplant dressed in black spouting out his vapid opinions? Yeah, he was that guy.
The waitress—who was adorable and very attentive—showed up and produced our desserts. I picked up my spoon ready to take that first bite when Ray’s mom said, “I’m feeling kind of tired” and proceeded to slump forward in her chair twitching a little bit. Annoying Ms. Thing next to us then blurts out, “Oh my gosh, is that the dessert—hey is she OK?” Ray calmly explained that it was pumpkin mousse and yes, his mother was prone to mini seizure and would be fine. He crouched down next to his mom. She didn’t appear to be responding and the people in the restaurant started looking over one by one. Ray asked me to fetch the wheelchair in the trunk. I was instantly filled with a sense of urgency. While holding the dessert spoon in my hand my brain went into overdrive:
“Fuck!” I thought, and quickly tried to snag a spoonful of the mousse only to hit my upper lip and get a teeny tiny bit in my mouth. I got up and made my way out to the valet. When I came back with the wheelchair, one of the restaurant’s staff informed me the ambulance had been called. I got back into the dining room and Ray’s mom was still slumped over and out of it. She now had the full attention of every single person in the room.
A gaggle of emergency personnel came in with a gurney and whisked her away. Ray paid the bill and left it on the table next to my full serving of pumpkin mousse. I saw it from across the room sitting there. Fucking stuffing.
Outside, Ray’s mom woke up and was not too happy. The ambulance took off for the hospital. Ray and I followed along in the rental car. When we got to the emergency room, she did not have the right information in her purse—like her Medicare card, so we had to drive back to her house and get it. I stayed behind at the house while Ray went to give the hospital the correct information to check her out and bring her home. The two of them returned at 11 PM. Thankfully, mom was on her feet and back to normal. Ray and I went to bed and got up the next morning at 5 AM to fly home. The flight was without incident.
I can’t say the same for Thanksgiving dinner.