Whisked from the entryway to the oppressively dark dining room, they found themselves in a room sucked clean of oxygen and smelling of the heavy aroma of a meal yet to be endured.
A long somber table occupied the room's center, flanked on either side by enormous raven-black hutches. The base of these hutches stood atop of the knarled claw feet of some indeterminable animal whose brass talons gripped and shredded the carpet. It was easy to imagine a dragon swooping out of the gloom to devour unwitting family members.
Aunt Milly was a stickler for propriety. Showing up at her table in jeans which sported holes in the knees was simply not allowed. Silky dresses and stockings were the expected mode of attire. Which wouldn't have been so bad except for the horsehair chairs. Outdated relics of a comfortless century, these seats were designed by a masochist whose plain intent was to torture unlucky guests. Sharp bristles on the overstuffed cushions needled through clothing, causing one to squirm like a mexican jumping bean and earning "one of those looks" from Aunt Milly.
Conversation in such an environment is naturally stilted. Silence usually dominated the entire meal.
Austerity exemplified these occasions.
There was one year though that the whole affair was immensely entertaining. The year of the Morrocan Coda.
Aunt Milly's sister, Jessie, who had been traveling a lot that year, suggested that she bring along a keepsake from one of her trips. A morrocan styled teapot. Now Jessie knew full well that Milly wouldn't drink tea. Never touched a drop. So Jessie offered to bring the Morrocan Coda filled and ready to serve the ensemble.
Even though I was thirteen that Thanksgiving, the teapot, as it made it's way around the table, passed me by. It passed by all the other children, too. But I noticed nearly every adult poured a dollop of the beverage into the tiny demitasse cups Jessie had thoughtfully provided.
And I noted too, that suddenly there were twitters that sounded a lot like muffled giggles. A bit later, witty conversation flowed freely and soon, there was outright laughter. Uncle Henri danced with Jessie. Maud and Laura, two maiden aunts, enacted a poor imitation of the Charleston and Grandmother Sarah lost her false teeth under the table.
Ah yes, the year of the Morrocan Coda. It was the best Thanksgiving our family ever had.
Presenting: The Morrocan Coda
7 ½" diameter
Holds: 1 liter fluids
259 drams strong liquor
or call: (208) 354-1650
P.O. Box 945
Driggs, ID 83422