More of Grave than of Gravy

I think the term "dead tired" might apply best here, as my pleasant Thanksgiving holiday turned into an exhausting battle to get my exams graded, calculate my students trimester grades, and write comments on each student.  It's the same thing I've done every Thanksgiving since 1995, mind you, but it was even more exhausting than usual this time because I was most of the way through the process when I discovered I had left some assignments out of my calculations and had to go back and redo about a third of my grades.  Whee.

On the plus side, we saw John and Flane (Hi, John and Flane!) and the upcoming Tiny Bear, and I got to finish reading The Executioner's Song and start Terry Pratchett's newest book, Making Money, and I even got to take the dog on a long walk.

And of course, there was food.  Thing One always makes an enormous batch of mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving, while Thing Two prefers to cook pie.  Kelly handles the turkey and the stuffing and the green bean casserole.

My job?  Go to Food Lion.

Because the Fod Kitty (long story involving a burned-out "O" on the store in Carrboro) is the only grocery store in town, it has developed all the attributes that any follower of Teddy Roosevelt would expect to see in a monopolistic trust, with the main one being its utter indifference to customer service.  Opening an extra register when there are a lot of people hoping to check out is an idea whose time has not yet come to Orange, apparently, and that may explain why the store here is called the Food Line.  After years of dealing with this, Kelly has just about developed a neurosis about the place; she can barely bring herself to go in, and it's not as though the trip is out of her way--she has to drive right past it every time she drives into town to drop off the kids at school or to go to work.

But even if she could handle the Food Line on an ordinary day, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving is extraordinary.  It's the comestible version of Black Friday, except that people aren't shopping in search of bargains, but are simply desperate to get the ingredients they need.  I saw how things were going to be from the parking lot, when I realized I'd actually had to park several rows away from the store--something that just doesn't happen in Orange.  Sure enough, there were some trains of shopping carts that were tended by multiple generations of the same family, kind of like the legendary Gypsy caravans of old.  Needless to say, traffic in the aisles came to a standstill on a regular basis, and small children bounced off my cart on more than one occasion, even when I wasn't moving.  There were plenty of turkeys, and I surprised Kelly and myself by snagging a fresh bird instead of a frozen one, but I was barely in time to grab the last can of pumpkin in the place, a last-second recovery from what could have been a terrible mistake--I was, in apparent defiance of all logic, looking in the canned vegetable section.

I settled into a line that was surprisingly short considering the volume of shoppers--I think I was only the fourth person in it.  The cashier was reasonably cheerful, though I could tell he'd been slammed all day, and my cartful wasn't giving him any breathers.  But after an hour of fighting my way around grandmas and grandkids, I was ready to take the next phase of my holiday task: waiting for dinner.  Sure enough, by Thursday afternoon, I was nursing a headache and sacked out for a couple of hours until the feast began. 

After dinner, we made our annual thankful tree: a posterboard drawing of a leafless tree on which we tape paper leaves decorated with the names of things we appreciate having.  My usual leaves ( Family, Friends, Harlan, Books, The Great Outdoors) were joined by a few new ones ("Coffee," "Popular Music 1950-2007, Except Debby Boone"), but I'm frankly a little surprised that Kel didn't add one that said "I Didn't Have to Go to Food Lion on Wednesday."

And after that?  The other part of my Thanksgiving job: dishwashing.  Pyewacket, the restaurant where I cut my dish-dogging teeth, may be nothing more than a pleasant memory, but I can still rinse and load a dishwasher with the best of 'em.

But now I'm tired and sore and still have some planning to do for tomorrow's Literature Circles assignment, so I'll bid you good night.  Just remember: the aerosol-powered whipped cream is in the dairy case, and the pumpkin is somewhere on Aisle 5.





0 TrackBacks

Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: More of Grave than of Gravy.

TrackBack URL for this entry:

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Peter Cashwell published on November 27, 2007 5:40 PM.

was the previous entry in this blog.

The Moving Finger Writes is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Powered by Movable Type 4.0