You have to know I would have a Christmas story for you, and it is completely true and authentic as all the rest of my family stories have been. It was my neighbor, Laura, today that reminded me of this and said, “Jen, you really must blog this” so here I am and here’s the story:
Once upon a time, there was a Christmas when I was in my later teens and my mother decided to do her one and only dinner party. It wasn’t even a large dinner party, but when you read what happened, you’ll understand why she said, “Never again”, and stuck by that.
So many of Mom’s friends had hosted these wonderful, and sometimes even lavish Christmas dinners for their friends. As the years went by, Mom got a case of the guilts and knew she really had to do the same. Mom had never had any kind of party at the house and so, understandably, she was very nervous. She decided to make it a very, small dinner party for 8, and if it worked, she’d make it larger the following year. She made lists, she planned, she made invitations, she plotted out the menu so that there would be no mistakes, and she made our family recipe for the best darn eggnog in the entire world. Invitations were mailed and everyone rsvp’d with a yes. Mom was smiling and thinking, “This is working out so easily; yes, I can do this”.
The night of the party arrived and Mom was looking like an absolute dream as she greeted the guests and showed them into the living room. She had set up a beautiful table with lots of gorgeous Christmassy bites to eat and a giant punch bowl full of the essence of nog to die for. Our pets had been secured in another room so as not to sit up and beg for morsels. Everyone remarked how beautiful the house looked and how beautiful Mom was. She was beaming. The guests all made their way to the eggnog and settled themselves into the sofas and chairs and conversation was sparkling. Mom was glowing and checking the progress of her giant standing rib roast and all the side dishes she’d done from scratch. Yes, everything was timed perfectly. Her last trip to the kitchen was to pull the roast out of the oven, platter it and set it on the dining room table to rest for the next 10 minutes before carving. The dining room was bathed in candlelight and all of Mom’s best dishes were gleaming in readiness for the feast. She went back to the kitchen to assemble the last of the meal and asked me to get something she needed from upstairs. As I was getting ready to bring this back down to her, I heard this blood curdling yell and I almost fell down the steps trying to get to Mom. There she was in the dining room, eyes almost rolling back into her head, as our cat had broken out of the secured room, smelled the roast, climbed a cabinet, and flown in mid-air to land right on top of that roast on the table. He was growling, hissing, and fighting that piece of beef for all he was worth. We saw him roll off the table with the roast still in his grip as the guests all ran to the room. It was pure pandemonium! The roast was ruined and Mom told Dad to head to the store and find something, ANYTHING, to feed everyone. Off he went and returned with 2 packages of …….get ready…..hot dogs! Mom was dying a thousand deaths but had no more choices. Now, at this point, the guests are so good natured that they are laughing and saying they’ll never forget this evening, but, that wasn’t even to be the end. Mom cooked the hot dogs and yes, put them on a platter in the hopes they’d look like a roast. Everyone got their plates loaded with anything they could find and were still laughing over the situation, when all of a sudden, our Irish Setter comes barreling around the corner, into the dining room and skids right into the wall. The poor dog gave out a YELP and headed for the kitchen where once again he couldn’t make the corner and fell into a cabinet. He jumped up and ran towards the living room and smack dab into the TV and toppled it to the floor. As we all ran to the living room, there was our dog, a crumpled mess in the Christmas tree and drunk on his hind end. It seems that while we were in the dining room, old Rusty had broken free after the cat did and he’d made his way around the living room drinking up all the eggnog. Well, everyone stood there with their mouths open and in shock at this sight, but the next sound just topped the cake. It was the retching sound of a dog getting ready to give all that eggnog back. There is nothing to do but end this story here as all the guests decided it was a very good time to call it a night. As for Mom? There was never, ever another party in this house. As for the dog? I never saw a worse hangover. As for the cat? The next day, he still had pieces of that roast hidden in the oddest places and you could hear the faint, rumbling sound of growling if you happened near his territory.