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••• The International Writers Magazine: Life Matters

The Thanksgiving Dinner (Post-Trump)
• Martin Green
  “How about telling them I fell and broke my leg?” I suggested.


My wife Ellen gave me a pitying look.  “Man up,” she said.  “You know Sophie’s been cooking all day.  We’re going and you’ll have to deal with it.”

     Ah, Thanksgiving.  The time for families to get together.  This year we were scheduled to go to Ellen’s sister Sophie and her husband Mort’s for the annual feast.  And I’d have to deal with Mort’s crowing after Donald Trump, to everyone’s surprise, not to say shock, had won the presidential election.

     My feelings about Trump hadn’t changed since the first time I’d seen him on television; he was obnoxious.    He lost me when he dissed John McCain, who I considered a true American hero.  I’d like to have seen how Trump would have held up being tortured in Hotel Hanoi.  Then came the insults of almost everyone you could think of, most especially his 16 or whatever Republican rivals.  One of these had said Trump couldn’t insult his way to the presidency.  Well, apparently he could.

     It wasn’t that I had any use for Hillary Clinton and the Democrats.  She was dishonest and untrustworthy.    She also lied a lot.  I have to admit I felt a certain satisfaction that she and Bill weren’t going back to the White House.  But okay, she was a crook and a liar, so she was your standard politician.  Trump as President was, well, unthinkable.  But the unthinkable had happened.

    My brother-in-law Mort was of course a Trump fan. Trump, as he’d said to me more than once, “told it as it is,” whatever that meant.  Come to think of it, Mort reminded me a little of Trump.  He was a big, burly guy with an overpowering manner.  Before he retired, he’d been an insurance salesman; a successful one, of course.  After I retired, I tried playing golf with him a few times but I couldn’t take his bragging.  I tried to limit my contacts with him but we couldn’t help getting together with him and Sophie every so often and at those times I had to endure his telling about how much money he’d made and regaling us about his latest great golf score.  No, I didn’t look forward to this Thanksgiving dinner.

     The phone rang. Ellen picked it up.  She listened for a while and then said, “No, that’s awful.  What was he doing?  How is he?  All right. Of course.  I understand.  Yes.  Call as soon as you know anything.”

     “Who was that?” I asked after she’d hung up.

     “That was Sophie.  The Thanksgiving dinner is off.  Mort fell off a ladder while he was putting up Christmas lights.”

     “What?  Did he break his leg?  Maybe they somehow heard what I said and they’re just trying to put us off.”

     “Don’t be silly.  She was calling from the ER.  He didn’t break a leg but he may have a broken hip.  I told her to call as soon as she knew how bad he was.”

     “Well, I’ll be darned.  What was he doing up on a ladder?”

     “Sophie said she warned him not to but he insisted.  You know how Mort is.”

     “Yes.   So what do we do now?  It’ll be too late to go to a restaurant.  They’ll all be booked up.  I know, how about ordering Chinese?”

     “All right.  What a Thanksgiving.”

     Yes, I thought.  I hoped Mort would be okay but I silently gave thanks I’d been spared hearing him go on about Donald Trump all during dinner.

     As it happened, we did go to Sophie and Mort’s for what was I guess a belated Thanksgiving dinner a week or so later.  Mort was back from the hospital.  It did turn out that he had a broken hip and that he’d been scheduled for a hip replacement.  For whatever reason, Mort was unusually quiet during our meal.  Maybe it was the pain killers he was on.  I’d had a hip replacement a couple of years before and he pressed me about all the details.   I told him the operation itself was nothing to worry about.  As my surgeon had told me, it was standard procedure.  I told him there’d be a long list of things, like bending over, crossing his legs, and so on that he couldn’t do while he was recovering.  A lot of people said the worst thing for them was having to sleep on their backs; maybe he should practice.  Above all, I told him what everyone had told me, he should diligently do his prescribed exercises.

     Mort listened intently to everything I had to tell him.  I could see he was nervous about the whole thing.  He asked if he could go back to playing golf afterward.  I personally didn’t think this was the best idea but told him I thought he could, if his doctors told him it was okay.  “I think both Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus had hip replacements,” I said, “and they were able to play golf again.”

     This brightened him up.  As we were getting ready to leave, he said, “What do you think about Trump?  Bet you never thought he’d do it.”

     “I didn’t,” I admitted.

     “So, you going to leave the country like those namby-pamby Hollywood celebs?”

     “No, the country has survived a lot of things.  It’ll survive Trump, too.”

     “Hah!  He’ll make America great again.”

     “Let’s hope so.  Remember what he said on Thanksgiving.  He wanted the country to get over the election and unify.”

     “Let us know when your surgery is set,” said Ellen, “and we’ll come over to visit.”

     “You will?  You, too?” said Mort, looking at me.

     “Sure.  I have some things to help you get dressed, put your socks on, pick up things without bending and all that.  I’ll bring them over.   And I have a walker if the hospital doesn’t give you one.”


     “That’s very good of you,” said Sophie.

     “And we’ll see you at Christmas,” said Ellen.   

     “Yes,” said Sophie.  “If Mort can’t get out I’ll make it here.”

     “Or, if he can make it over we’ll have it at our place,” Ellen said.

     So no matter what it would be Christmas dinner with Mort and Sophie.  Well, maybe Mort would remain subdued.  Meanwhile, I’d be thankful that Thanksgiving was over.

© Martin Green December 2016

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