This is an account of my only Thanksgiving to date. Yes I know I was mistaken in calling the game the Super bowl.
I woke around 8 o’clock and did my usual daily ritual and popped off to the McDonald’s for a large morning coffee and waited for Andrea to turn up, she said she’d be early today as she didn’t want to miss the Thanksgiving day parade. Now I mistakenly believed that this meant we would be going to see the actual parade itself rather then watch it on the television as we did, mind you I can probably see the logic of it as chances are we’d just get a spectacular view of the back of someone’s bonce. She picked me up at around nine I think it was and had switched the radio to one of the many digital Jazz radio stations which was currently playing what she believed was a Dixieland take on O Christmas Tree but was in fact Maryland, My Maryland; an understandable mistake as the chorus is very similar if not identical. Curiously enough, the chorus is usually used as the tune for the worker’s song the Red Flag, a tune commonly used by socialist and communist groups, apparently the Severnside Jazz Band were once told they couldn’t play Maryland at a golden jubilee gig for that very reason… I think that would of tempted me to play it all the more. Anyways I digress; the road was pretty quiet on the way to Andrea’s house. Arriving at her house I was introduced to her mother’s then partner Rob whom was watching the parade whilst sipping on a coffee, Andrea went into the kitchen to help her mother with the preperation for the meal. I did offer to help but I was pretty much told “You’re a guest so sit down and relax.” Watching the floats of cartoon characters I have to confess I didn’t recognise any of them, luckily Rob, Casey and Andrea hadn’t either so I didn’t feel so bad. Somehow I don’t think Captain Underpants will have the same longevity as Daffy Duck, Mickey Mouse, Tom & Jerry and Kermit the Frog… Amongst other enjoyable parts of the parade were a high school marching band, a bizarre dance routine by a group business men in full business suit- complete with Bowlers, Brollies and Briefcases and then it switched to the studio were the presenters discussed the parade so far and ended up stuck grinning at the camera at the end of the section as the vision mixer appeared to of neglected to switch camera and was prompted by the male anchor saying” “Chuck?” very loudly. While watching the parade, Pogo decided I was a safe person after all and curled up on my lap, which prompted everyone to comment on it… evidently I’m not so scary sitting down. Andrea had to nip off out to get a corkscrew for the wine and was out for about the best part of ninety minutes, while she was out Rob’s family arrived and we all made our introductions to one another and what we all did for way of earning a crust. Rob offered me a beer and I politely declined as it was a little early for me.
A short while later Andrea returned with the corkscrew and we were more or less waiting for the food to cook so everyone gathered around the TV and watched some documentary about the tanks in Iraq, here I was introduced to Eggnog as I said “I’d try anything once”, was okay kind of reminded me of Advoca. Rob’s son had a rather annoying habit of singing James Blunt at random moments, a good advert if any to never become a wine delivery man. Casey then told me a joke about a Michigan family guying to hell which the punch line was something about the Devil freezing hell so it meant that their football team will of won….it was six years ago I can’t recall and it sounds like I needed a little background before hand. We then went through for Thanksgiving dinner and we all gave thanks for something, I chose the NHS. The meal was very good and very filling, after dinner I explained to the assembled families the story of Boxing Day… I believe I did start off with the Watch with Mother quote.
Once we’d eaten the meal, we sat down and watched the super bowl for a bit. I think Mrs. Gardiner was getting a little fed up of it though as through each commercial she channel hopped looking for family films to watch. Eventually she found a suitable film but it was time for us to go and visit Andrea’s father and his side of the family. Before we left I was informed that the cousin in the UK was residing in Maidstone.
Now this was another long drive on which CD do was employed for musical entertainment at Andrea’s request; amusingly this time around as she’d got used to listening to me and my vocal syntax she found it much easier to listen to some of the vocals on the disc, notably George Melly’s witty little number about irritated he gets with people who rabbit on about astrology.
Again since I’m doing this from memory I may have got the listings a bit wrong but the disc went along the lines of this:
1. Soweto Kinch- Jazz Planet- A satirical rap on Jazz’s small place in commercial music. This was one of Andrea’s favourite tracks.
2. George Melly with John Chiltern’s Fleetwarmers- Please Don’t Mention Your Sign
3. Jamie Cullum- Wind Cries Mary
4. Bob Wallis & His Storyville Jazzmen- All of Me
5. Billy Jenkins- I Like Rain: A duet recording which muddies the line between Jazz and Blues.
6. The Ray Ellington Quartet: I Got A Gal in Kalamazoo- seemed loosely appropriate.
7. Iain Ballamy & Stien Cartiessen: The Teddy Bears’ Picnic. A sax and accordion duet.
8. Stan tracy- Boo-Bah
9. Acker Bilk- Stranger on the Shore… of course
10. Humphrey Lyttelton: Prelude to a Kiss. I included this one as it related to a weird dream I had about Andrea and Amy Cherry. No, not that sort of dream.
11. Clare Teal: Messin’ with Fire
12. Claire Marten: These Foolish Things (I originally wanted to include the duet recording of The Very Thought of You but the disc had copy protection on it).
13. Kel le Roc with Courtney Pine- Love & Affection. This one entered the UK top 40 when released in 1994
14. Stacey Kent: I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair
15. Amy Winehouse- Rehab. Once the lyrics processed with Casey he started giggling. It seems Andrea hadn’t picked up on the lyrics before hand.
Now this was the first time or possibly the second time that Andrea and Casey had visited their father for Thanksgiving, without wanting to go into to much detail about Andrea’s family history I shall just leave it that Andrea’s Mum and Dad did not separate under amenable circumstances and there were court orders involved. However it would seem that Andrea’s dad had done a U-turn and got whatever demons he had dealt with and was now a completely different figure from the ogre of her childhood. We arrived fairly late, long after the main meal had taken place but there was still plenty of spread left for us to munch upon. The get together was being held at Andrea’s Paternal Grandparents house and this was a very big house, with a grand piano, a large downstairs game room complete with bar and pool table. Here I was introduced to her rather dipsy blonde cousin and her cousin Ryan who was in the Marines serving in Iraq, this was a big thing for Andrea because she didn’t get to see him very often and it was a double whammy his leave had fallen across Thanksgiving. So this was a nice little family reunion for them. He all had several games of Pool and had a few drinks before the cousins moved on. We then went upstairs and had a long talk with the Grandparents, who told me about a time they’d gone to London parked up and forgotten where they’d parked! That is easily done as London is quite a maze for a native let alone a stranger; I dread to think how much the parking came too!
Casey then showed examples of his artwork which was mostly abstract and some a tad too surreal so he avoided showing those to them. I think by now we were all getting a tad worn as it wasn’t long before we were back in the car en-route to the Red Roof Inn, while we were driving along Casey fund it amusing that some old radio plays were being broadcast on some of the channels on the car radio. This prompted him to muse “wouldn’t it be fun to do a radio drama as no-one does them anymore”, to which Andrea informed him “Oh Nick has several of them with him.”
I was dropped off at the Red Roof Inn fairly late with Andrea and Casey leaving me with the comforting words of “here you are alone at the creepy motel off the highway, just be glad this isn’t Phoenix.” I bid the two “bon-nuit” and put the kettle on and watched the tail end of a film on the T.V. before curling up listening to the first two episodes of the Harvest, an audio play which always amuses me in that the cliffhanger ending to episode one is the appearance of the title character.