Thanksgiving is a time for friends and family to gather around a bountiful table, express gratitude for blessings, and enjoy each other’s company – but not my Thanksgiving.
We had invited Cutlass and Bobo for Thanksgiving. On Wednesday, Bobo called and asked if they could bring Dot and Bob, a couple from New York City.
“I must warn you darling,” Bobo said, “they can be difficult but when Dot called a few days ago and said she simply had to have a few days in the sun, I just couldn’t refuse. She’s a valuable contact, an antiques dealer who has supplied me for years with the best decorating items I could possibly find at extremely reasonable prices. See what I mean?”
“Fun does not describe Bob. He has nerves of steel, essential when you’re managing millions, but he has trouble managing one woman – Dot. He compensates with buying her presents from Tiffany’s.”
“Of course, they’re welcome,” I said. “I’m sure they’ll add greatly to the dinner.”
A pause. “No guarantees but you’ll be doing us a big favor.”
“What does Bob do?”
“He’s a stockbroker on Wall Street – driven, all business.”
“I’ve never met a stockbroker. What fun!”
“Fun does not describe Bob. He has nerves of steel, essential when you’re managing millions, but he has trouble managing one woman – Dot. He compensates with buying her presents at Tiffany’s.”
Optimistically, I said, “We know how to tip-toe around the wealthy. Bring them!”
I hung up and told Max about Dot and Bob.
He raised an eyebrow. “They sound like two verbs.”
The evening of the dinner, our casa was aglitter with votive candles and flower arrangements. Vintage piano bar music played from the speakers. Our guests arrived. Dot was stunning, impeccably dressed in a red silk suit, a diamond pin on the lapel, shoulder length silver hair swept back. Bob was trim, had salt and pepper hair and looked distinguished in a gray suit and lilac silk tie with a gold bull stick-pin. We sat by the pool as Max popped open the first bottle of Veuve Clicquot.
“I adore champagne! Easy on the figure,” Dot said, flashing a diamond dinner ring. “Only 60 calories a glass.”
Max brought out the hors d’oeuvres – crab cakes with horseradish cream and porcini / pecan pate on toast points.
“Here goes the figure!” Dot said, taking a crab cake and nibbling at it delicately.
Cutlass took four of each hors d’oeuvre.
Max popped open another bottle – refills all around.
It was time to go into the dining room. Our house helper Carlotta had laid out the table – our best china and crystal, bowls of food. A perfectly browned turkey waiting to be carved sat by Max’s place.
“What a spread!” Bob said.
When we sat for dinner, Bob pulled out a smart phone and started clicking and swiping.
“Put that away, for heaven’s sake!” Dot said. “It’s Thanksgiving!”
“Not Thanksgiving in Tokyo,” Bob said, still staring at his screen. “How do you think I can afford those Tiffany presents?”
“Oh, please, Bob! It’s not going to be one of those evenings,” Dot said.
“Not if you don’t ride me, deeeeeeeear!”
I felt ice forming on the bowls.
We passed the food. Bob kept clicking and swiping. “Just a quick text,” he mumbled. “I’ll eat in a minute.”
Dot took a scant sampling of the food. I could see her fuming.
Cutlass dug into each bowl with relish. “Thanksgiving is the one day I don’t count calories.”
“And it shows,” Bobo said.
Cutlass stopped smiling. “You mean I look fat, don’t you. I looked stunning at Scorpion’s Halloween party as Marilyn, didn’t I, Sylvia?”
“You’re always stunning!” I said, hoping to save the dinner. Remembering the blonde wig and white halter dress size 18, it was a teensy white lie.
“No more champagne for you, darling!” Bobo said, reaching for Cutlass’s glass.
“Don’t you dare! First I’m too fat, now I’m drinking too much. What’s next?”
Bobo pulled back.
I leaned towards Max. “Better start carving the turkey. Too much champagne, too little food.”
Max sat back with his arms crossed, grinning. “Let’s not carve it. In a few minutes, they’ll tear it apart.”
I gave Max a dark look and said through gritted teeth. “Start carving!”
Cutlass fumed. Bobo looked hurt. Dot threw dagger looks at Bob who was still texting.
There went my perfect Thanksgiving! Does Hallmark have a 911?
I said, smiling and trying to sound light hearted. “Buen provecho!”
Cutlass shot me a look. “I have no appetite!” With that, he threw his napkin on the plate and walked out. Bobo followed.
Dot got up and said, “Don’t leave without us!”
Bob looked up and yawned. “Did I miss anything?”
“Yes, they’re all leaving.”
“I’ll guess I’ll go, too,” he said, getting up to leave. “I had a great time.”
Tears brimmed in my eyes. “I should see them out.”
Max touched my hand. “It’s the perfect Thanksgiving. When you come back, we’ll pop open another bottle and enjoy this scrumptious meal. Cheer up, my dear, this means more tiramisu for us!”
TOMORROW IS THE FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF www.sylviasaltwater.com We’re excited about giving away the original art from “Myrna Sings the Blues” to one subscriber and commenter. The winner’s name will be drawn from my sombrero and will be announced next week. Good luck subscribers!