Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Thanksgiving Miracle

This is an old story... in fact, it's a story that caused some problems even recently.

But Thanksgiving is a time of reflection, so here it is again.


A Thanksgiving Miracle
or
The Day Moses Came to Dinner

Under pressure, I usually clam up or make an ass of myself. Case in point... I had just started dating my friend Angela and I was going home with her for Thanksgiving for the first (and last) time. Her dad... well, let's just say he doesn't suffer fools and is kind of a badass. When we first started dating he was thoroughly pissed at her and disgusted with me until he realized that he had me confused with our married friend, Marc. He had warmed up a little since then, but I was still a little wary of him. I still am. Mind you, I was living in Florida at the time, and her parents lived in Atlanta, so there was no real escape for me if things went wrong.

As if meeting her parents weren't enough, her uncle and his family were coming to dinner as well. Her uncle seemed like a hard-ass too. We all sat around the table and began dishing out the food. I kept pretty quiet. If someone asked me a question, I'd politely answer, but I didn't elaborate. After awhile I began to relax. Everyone seemed to like me, or at least I didn't get any hostile glares.

Somehow the conversation turned to chamomile tea. I didn't know shit about chamomile tea, but apparently her family did. Everyone had a personal anecdote about chamomile tea.

"Cancer patients drink chamomile tea to increase their appetite."

"Chamomile tea soothes my hemorrhoids."

"Chamomile tea helps me sleep."

"I drink chamomile tea to relieve a toothache."

"Make a poultice of mustard and chamomile tea to reduce swelling."

"My gangrene was stopped in its tracks by chamomile tea."

I guess I was feeling a little left out... Everyone had a story and I didn't. So I reached back into my 13 years of Christian education and said...

Moses swabbed chamomile tea on the doorposts of all of the Israelite houses in Egypt so the Angel of Death would pass over and not kill their children.

Dead silence.

I looked at Angela... I thought she was going to choke. Her dad looked like he was going to cry.

I hear a clatter and notice her uncle has dropped his silverware into his plate. His face was red and I thought he was coming over the table for me. He picked up the plate and exited the dining room for the kitchen. He never came back.

See, what Angela had failed to tell me was that her uncle was a fundamentalist Christian and that Moses was not someone he cared to hear jokes about.

It was a rather quiet dinner after that... punctuated by giggles out of Angela and her dad.