Heartwarming Family Traditions

Look, I hate to keep picking on my mom, but if she keeps handing me blog topics on a silver platter what can I do?  We’re meeting my parents and an assortment of friends and family for dinner tomorrow night, and exchanged a couple of back and forth emails about who/where/when.

Apparently my mom’s primary concern was if Dan and I would be able to wend our way to the restaurant without adult supervision.  She called me the other day and said that she had printed out Mapquest directions, and did I want her to fax them to me?  I can’t make this stuff up–it just lands in my lap.  I’m going to have to find a way to gently break it to my mom that what I do all day is sit at a desk and work on a computer.  The kind that has the interweb and Mapquest. 

My mom is younger than springtime, so we are not going to dinner at some ridiculous time, like 4:30.  We’re not in Florida after all!  We will be eating fashionably late at 5:00.  The sun won’t have set yet, so it will nice to all be together as we usher out the Sabbath in the ancient Jewish crab eating ritual.  Did you know that all crabs and other shellfish consumed in the state of Maryland are considered Kosher?  Just ask anyone in my family, they will confirm. 

In the meanwhile, as I gazed into my crystal ball this evening, I started to get a clear picture of how tomorrow evening will unfold…

As I’ve mentioned before, my mom fully expects me to be the entertainment for the evening at any gathering.  So the very minute I’m in the door it will be “do a funny thing!  Be funny!”  Then she will announce to the entire restaurant “That’s my daughter.  She’s funny.  She’s going to be funny any minute now.”  That puts a lot of pressure on me.  Fortunately, as clumsy as I am, it’s fairly likely that I will make a big entrance by falling on a step and rolling into the dining room, which will get the evening off to a jovial start. 

 Moving right along to the next event, seating assignments.  We’ll all mill about for a bit before we start shuffling around the table to preliminarily select a seat, while being completely non-committal and open to suggestions.  Someone (usually Dan) will actually go right ahead and sit down in a chair, as if it were the simplest thing in the world.  This will be cause for subtle reprimand, like, “oh, so you’re going to sit there?  I was going to…never mind, that’s OK, you’re already comfortable.”  The reprimand will be issued by either my mom or my cousin Bonnye.  I hate to throw Bonnye right under the bus on my blog, because I really love her, but I need to mix it up a little and not just pick on my mom all the time.

Because Dan only married into the family, he has no fear and will just keep his butt right in the chair as if it was OK because he’s already comfortable.  I will glare at him while I wait for instruction about where I’m going to be most comfortable.  Eventually we will all be seated, at which point someone or other will decide the table is in an area that’s too hot or too cold or too close to the kitchen or too far away from the restrooms, and we will all be shuffled off to a table that seemed like it was going to be much better, but really isn’t that great.  We pray for a table set-up the same way as the first one so we can go directly to our assigned seats, but if not we have to go through the whole ritual again.

Then it’s time for the server to take our drink order, which will involve a serious and lengthy discussion about whether they have Caffeine Free Diet Coke or just Diet Coke; but that will be nothing compared to the repeated warning from my mom about putting lemons in or near her drink or her person.  Many more antics will ensue, but I need to leave a little more to the imagination and then fill in the details after the fact.  I can tell you though, that the highlight of the evening will be watching my mom open crabs with freshly painted nails, with nary a chip.

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4 Responses to Heartwarming Family Traditions

  1. mimijk says:

    This is actually a family tradition that dates back to our days in the pogrom..”You’re gonna sit there? Sigh..it’s ok, I’ll just stand here and watch you eat – that fills me with joy”..

    • Jill Foer Hirsch says:

      Wow, said like only a real deal Jewish mom could say. You have impressive skills. So you free for dinner tonight?

  2. shell says:

    Does she wait until the meal is over to reapply her lips?

    • Jill Foer Hirsch says:

      With crabs, I think so. The Old Bay sticks to the lips and makes them kind of sparkly, so it’s not too bad.

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