A year or so ago, my cousin attended a wedding in
. Upon arrival, he went to a tailor and was kitted out with a costume suitable for an important wedding guest which he had become by virtue of travelling so far to attend. He was attired in loose cream coloured trousers, tapering to a series of baggy wrinkles around the ankles and ending in pointy soft leather booties. A splendid ankle length coat, a rich aubergine affair with gold trim, was adorned with a 12 foot long scarf arranged over one shoulder and reaching the bottom of the coat front and back. This ensemble was topped by an enormous gold and burgundy turban. I am told he rode an elephant. Having spent a considerable sum on this outfit and doubting that an invitation to a India Bombay wedding would ever come his way again, it was decided that he would bring it to and wear it for Thanksgiving. In my family, this is considered rational behaviour. The female family members decided to join in by adorning their faces with bindi marks and wearing sparkly scarves and jangly jewels, making basting the turkey somewhat tricky. A friend with a fondness for tiaras was advised that our Thanksgiving dinner party would be an appropriate occasion to indulge herself and she arrived looking like a member of the Maine royal family if Iowa had one. Her partner had festooned her German frau hat with the very long tail feathers of their recently slaughtered rooster. All in all, very festive. Iowa
My mother, a very elderly lady, not having too firm a grasp on life’s details,arrived and thought she had mistaken Halloween with Thanksgiving. While dinner was being prepared, my brother decided to organise the outdoor Christmas lights in advance of the coming season.
We gathered at the table, our jeweled foreheads and crowns and turbans glittering in the candlelight, and raised our glasses to absent friends, one of whom was my brother, still struggling with testing the lights. Suddenly, the tree outside the dining room window flickered on. My mother raised her glass. “Merry Christmas!” she said .