Magnificent!

This year, we gave up.  No one was willing to host a holiday meal for the entire clan on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  Rather than completely throw in the towel, we went for neutral territory – one of the local All-You-Can-Inhale buffets.

Timing was critical – to avoid crowds, we targeted 2:00pm.  Not only between the lunch and dinner crowds, but also during the telecast of a major college football rivalry that was sure to keep many folks home and glued to the sofa-television combo.  It worked.  Plenty of room to accommodate a crew of ten.

Originally, Mom had picked her favorite restaurant – Golden Corral.  Nice enough, if your idea of fine dining involves a metric ton of breading and vats of hot oil.  On Wednesday, she changed her mind and had us assemble at an “upscale” Chinese buffet.  The use of the word “upscale”, however, is relative. 

For the most part, it was a pleasant meal.  i’d reminded my Mom and sister, S, that if they really want my brother T and his wife to come around more often, perhaps they shouldn’t bitch at them to call and visit more often.  Often before saying “hello”.  Much to my complete amazement, neither Mom nor S said a snarky word about it… 

My brother noticed.  As Mom, S and their crews piled into cars and headed out, the first thing he said to me was “It was really nice not to get yelled at for a change!”  Progress, perhaps…

The big buzz at the table was all about the most exotic item on the salad bar – the pickled baby octopi.  “Gross!”  “Yuk!” and “You’re not going to eat that, daisyfae, are you?”*

While chatting with Mom last night, she acknowledged that it was very pleasant for a family gathering.  Seemed that no one had hurt feelings, no overt drama, and there were no tears involved.  But she brought up the exotic fare on the buffet one more time for good measure…

Mom:  The food was good, but the octopus on the salad bar hurt my appetite!  I don’t know why they don’t keep those separately!  I might have been able to eat a little more if those things weren’t sitting right out there when I walked by…

daisyfae:  Ummmm…  You still ate three plates full of food, plus two bowls of ice cream and a piece of cheesecake.  i think you got your money’s worth…

Original illustration from “Charlotte’s Web” – image found here 

* i ate the sushi, which grossed out the entire table except for my brother’s wife.  She decided to try some after seeing the enthusiastic response by the rest of the clan to my ‘bait plate’… i did not, however, eat the octopus.  i like my meat and seafood processed beyond all recognition, thankyouverymuch.

When timing doesn’t really matter.

Happy Thanksgiving!  You’ve got lung cancer!
 
A few people have said something along the lines of “really rough to get such bad news right before Thanksgiving”.  After giving this some thought, i’ve decided there is no particularly good time to find out you have a life-threatening illness.

Sunny day in May?  Dark, dreary and blustery cold day in February?  Columbus Day shopping holiday?  National Lung Cancer Awareness Day?
 
Although not nearly as grim of a diagnosis, i got verification of breast cancer on December 26th, 2006.  That was only because the doctor refused to meet with me on the 24th, Christmas Eve.  When i pressed him, he danced around the availability of the biopsy results, and said something like “I wouldn’t want to have you worried about it over Christmas”.
 
Hey, Nimrod!  i was already worried about it, right about the time i got the call for a follow-up mammogram.  What’s under the fucking tree is about the last thing on my mind this weekend…
 
Let’s weigh out the timing of the news that was delivered to my Mom today.  Probable Lung Cancer vs Dinner at Golden Corral*on Saturday?  You know what?  Once we left the doc, she was feeling pretty good, and asked if we could go to a new Chinese food buffet instead.  She was fairly upbeat once she started telling me about all the different things they have at that new place…

My family does not waste away.  We can eat through any crisis.

As far as a medical update on Mom, the pulmonary doc was being a bit evasive, telling her that the PET scan indicated some metabolic activity that indicated that the mass in her lung is likely to be lung cancer.  But without a biopsy, there is no diagnosis.  Next stop?  Needle biopsy. 

But first?  The buffet…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

 * Given the last two years of disaster, we agreed to meet for a Thanksgiving meal at 2:00pm Saturday on neutral turf:  The trough at the Golden Corral All-You-Can-Shove-Into-Your-Gullet Buffet.  Yum.  When i laid out the family plans, with the backdrop of Mom’s cancer, to my sister in Florida?  She offered to fly back to The Park to join us – but i assured her it wasn’t necessary.  Then we laughed our asses off when she asked her partner “Hey, you wanna fly 2,000 miles to have lunch at Golden Corral? I don’t think we have any of those down here.”