Boy oh boy, if ever a Thanksgiving could go wrong, yesterday at my house was the time. A total of thirteen family and friends started the afternoon in pleasant conversation. We were having an early celebration because as I proposed after the first round of cocktails and during the hordourves, that we could have dinner and then I was going to ask all participants to help put wallpaper up in the dining room. Given the blank stares, I reminded everyone of the Chinese Proverb “many hands make light work”, besides the obvious meaning of Thanksgiving of feeling grateful to be able to help out with people in need of a wall-papered room. “I have everything that’s needed”, I explained, “and the whole job with everyone helping should only take an hour or two.Once done, everyone can share the pride of a job well done. OK, just think about it while I refreshen your drinks”. Time passed, and with minor grumbles, the Thanksgiving Project began. We moved the dinner table out of the room, and I told those women that were wearing heels would not have to climb any ladders. My 89 year old mother-in-law, who adores me, was given the task of going to the garage and carrying in the paste, painter’s tape, level, stepladders, tape measure, drop clothes, sand paper, spackle, putty, knives, buckets, sponges, rags smoothing brushes and seam rollers. Some may be wondering why I would have an 89 year old woman to do all that, and my response is she is very alert and vibrant for her age, likes to feel “included”, she was not one of the non-family friends invited over, and mostly because she doesn’t like Port, which I served to all the others as we waited for her to finish her assignment. I also took into consideration her fraility by telling her to take her time. So all was good, until the conversation began between the sisters who they thought was their mother’s favorite. It started innocently enough but became more argumentative and boisterous very quickly. If my mother-in-law had been able to catch her breath enough to speak, everything could have ended right then, but that was not the case, plus because she had worn slippers rather than heels, I had her on top of one of the ladders smoothing a seam. The situation went from clamity to disaster as tempers rose, paste spilled, and paint brushes thrown.
I implored everyone to calm down by yelling “please come into the kitchen for some pumkin pie”, which thank goodness everyone loves, and peace was restored. I have a bigger mess to clean up today, but everyone went home from our Thanksgiving get-together feeling good about one another, plus deep down I know they are pleased that they know how to wallpaper a room. Just don’t do it on a holiday.