It’s about midnight when my dad and I decide to stop at Wawa. We’re on our way down to Hoopers Island for the Black Friday Martini Bar Soiree and even though TWD and his children won’t be joining us until the following afternoon, I have to get there as soon as possible because as the only female child, I am what my mother likes to call a “skilled laborer.”
My brother, being a male child, is an unskilled laborer—and not because my parents intended for the division of labor to fall along the traditional gender lines, it just worked out that way. He’s good for driving to the supermarket, carrying things and buying ice at Island Pride, the local convenience store, but that’s about it.
I, on the other hand, am in charge of dessert. And half of the appetizers this year, which is a big step up from previous years. (My mom, you see, used to go a little crazy around the holidays. When I first moved back from the UK, I had all sorts of idea about what I was going to cook for Thanksgiving dinner but these were quickly shot down because they “didn’t fit” within her pre-determined menu. I got pissed off, she got pissed off and by the time the annual New Year’s Eve party finally rolled around, we had a big blow out. The situation may or may not have been exacerbated by my unwillingness to vacuum the house twice in one week but the less said on the account the better. Long story short, conditions have improved and even though my mother is already dreading the day when she’ll have to come to my house for Thanksgiving dinner, I am allowed to do whatever I want with the desserts and appetizers in the mean time.)
As such, I am needed.
So the minute I return to Philadelphia after dinner in New Jersey with TWD’s family, my dad says, “Okay, let’s go!”
I was supposed to drive down with my brother but I got booted by his “friend” so now it’s my dad and I and by midnight, we’re both getting a bit punchy.
We stop at Wawa and he purchases a pack of Twizzlers. I hate Twizzlers but once we’re back on the road, he tells me that he’s been trying to break his record.
“What record?” I ask.
“With the Twizzlers. I’m trying to see how many pieces I can bite off before I get to the end. My record is 44.”
I mean, seriously?
I can’t take this.
“You know, it’s a wonder I even got into college!”
“With a father who drives around trying to break his Twizzler record! You’re insane!”
“You’re just jealous,” he replies.
“No I’m not. I hate Twizzlers.”
“Even so, I bet you can’t beat 44 bites!”
“I don’t care! I can’t wait to tell Mom that you do this.” And I really can’t. I can already picture her rolling her eyes and telling everyone to get their Twizzlers out of her kitchen.
But there’s a part of me—a small part of me, the side I inherited from my dad—that wonders if I can break the record. Surely I can bite a Twizzler into more than 44 pieces.
“Fine,” I grumble. “Give me one.”
He hands me a long, red straw, places another one into his mouth and says “Okay: one, two, three—GO!”
So I start chomping away, biting my Twizzler into tiny, one-sixteenth of an inch pieces. He finishes way ahead of me and announces triumphantly, “46!” but I’m still going.
Next, because we’re kind and caring individuals, he starts trying to distract me to so I’ll lose count. But I am focused. I am like a Zen master. I am like a Jedi knight.
“57!” I finally exclaim. “57! Beat that!”
I promptly spit the entire mess into an empty travel mug and my dad tells me that my record doesn’t count because you actually have to eat the Twizzler so I’m disqualified but I tell him he’s just jealous. I am the Twizzler-biting queen.
And with that, the skilled laborer has arrived.
- A Tale of Two Thanksgivings, Part 1 (fieldworkinstilettos.com)
- Of Cheesecake and Toll Booths (Thanksgiving Part 2) (fieldworkinstilettos.com)