Sunday, January 1, 2012

Is the Grinch a Repeat Offender?

(too tired to take another focused shot- you get the idea. It's old. And we love it!)

I have some questions for Dr. Suess.

Every year I try to read the old school book to J.- so he doesn't get in his head that Jim Carrey came up with the whole idea and that the who houses were made out of plastic-

However, want to know: 'Did the Grinch's heart sustain its change; did it go back and forth from randomly from big to small?'

The reason why I wonder this is because Padre is very much like the Grinch throughout the whole month of December. Well, technically from the end of the previous year's December up until some point where, he too, morphs into Christmas cheer.

Us kids, Madre, and store clerks, never quite know when this will take place.

This year it was 20 minutes, give or take, before Christmas Eve dinner would be on the table. He'd taken off to the grocery store right when he was needed to preside at the table, pick the prayer giver, and carve the roast beast. (Well, ham. But you get the picture)

In all due respect, he did leave to pick up an ingredient I'd failed to put on an earlier list: dark pitted cherries. I was sitting on a the black stool, cubing a large red apple when I realized the missing ingredient.

He jumped into Grinch-like strength shown upon Mt. Crumpit, and raced to the store. It was Christmas Eve so I didn't think much of the fact he'd go. I was surprised at his excitement, and the lack of grumbling at my mistake. Seeing him husseling so fast, I figured he'd quickly be back with the cherries for my Fruit Medley.

So I halved some red grapes in the meantime. Rinsed some frozen strawberries in our yellow colander (you need fresh, but we were desperate) and carefully peeled 3 kiwi.

As I was walking downstairs to retrieve a can of pineapple (20 ounce) and some mandarin oranges from the storage shelves (11 ounces)- the phone rang.

Brrrnnnngggg! Remember we have phones in every room so it is really loud and ya can't miss if someone calls. Some phones rings are out of sink and so it is like an echo.

BBBBBBBBRRRRRRRRRRRRRIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNGGGGGGGGGGGGGGg. I cringed. It was probably Padre. No, it most likely WAS Padre with some kind of question. A random question. Or possibly needing me to measure the dimensions of something. Or find him a phones number.

Gratefully Madre answered and I felt relieved it was him needing to talk to her, not me.

Half-way up the stairs I heard Madre say: "Amanda, Padre (ok she said: "Your Father") wants to talk to you.

My shoulders slumped and I trudged up the steps, set the fruit down on the counter top and clenched my teeth as I took the phone.

"Hello?" I said holding my breath.

"Hey, Manda?"


"Did you need one can of the pitted cherries, or two?"

Me sighing a DEEP breath of relief and double checking the recipe replied:

"Just one can. It's too bad we don't have any of Grma Smith's awesome canned sweet cherries, eh? But those will have to do. Thanks, Dad."

Padre: "ooo, darn. Those would have been good.- do we need anything else?" he asked helpfully.

"Uhhh... " I eyed the bananas that had been bought days earlier as they laid browning in the bowl on the counter. I hesistated to tell him we needed some FIRM ones because Madre was pulling the ham out of the oven just then.

Me: "Nah, that'll be all."

Padre: "Hey, do you remember seeing that Tri-Tip blah, blah, blahbiddy- my mind went into a frozen state and couldn't process the words coming out of his mouth. It had to do with a recipe he'd been excited about since the Christmas dinner at the church on the 10th.- He was anxious to try and re-create it.

From somewhere I heard: "Could you check and see if we have those ingredients?" he asked as sweetly as those cherries sitting in his shopping cart.

I looked at the dinner coming out of the oven, the family sitting round the table ready to pray over the food and contemplated the remaining items I still needed for the 'melodious' salad.

Incredulous, I said something like:

"Are you kidding? Padre, (Dad) I thought you weren't doing that until New Years, not tonight!"

"I'm not, but Amanda, I am here at the store and--" his voice went on in an exasperated tone, but I passed the phone to Madre like a relieved rookie heading back to the bench.

"Padre wants to talk to you." I grinchishly lied.

Putting down the ham and with an oven mitt still on one hand she grabbed the phone like an expereinced All TIME QB. - I'd barely cracked open the pineapples when she went into clutch, fourth quarter action.

"Padre!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (except she used his real name) Why are you doing that right now? The dinner is READY! Just come home!!! "

Immediately I felt guilty for

1. Not telling him that we needed red wine vinegar, crushed rosemary, 20 cloves of garlic, which we'd have to peel, that we lacked ginger root, a fresh jalapeno peeper- with stem removed- juice from only one lime, a red onion, and fine dry red wine such as a Cabernet. Oh, and some rare breed of Jack Dan's liquor.

(When J saw the liquor he was shocked. Padre told him he was going to use it make some tri- tip steak, like the one we had at the Church Christmas party. J replied: "They served us beer?" Thanks, Padre.)

2. That I got Madre out of sorts in the middle of pulling the ham out of the hot oven.

Padre must have told Madre to go ahead without him- he must have felt guilty. So, we all sat down to the table and Madre picked the prayer giver.

My fruit Medley salad was put on hold until Padre could come home. Within a short time Padre came through the door like like John Cratchet carrying Tiny Tim on his shoulder, except Padre was carrying a bag of rock salt for the water softener. (he likes to keep some on hand just in case there is an emergency)

Eventually I poured the cherries in the Medley which quickly turned the whole thing purple- which has never happened before so I don't know I could have messed up this simple holiday recipe Julie Sterchi from Harrisburg Illinois sent in to Taste of Home magazine back in 2003.

But I haven't tried to make it on a moments notice. (It has to chill overnight and we just didnt' have that kind of time)

All the excitement made me so tired that I fell asleep on the couch while fam members were still trickling out the door around 8-ish, and awoke at 2 am. Santa Claus had snuck in! I had missed the WHOLE thing! I felt like what's their name from whatever Christmas story that was ever written.

And it was magical.

Padre continued with his Suess-ish transformation through out the week until one morning when I came upstairs to see the colored print of thumbnail pics of the 25 different types of sirloin tip roasts stapled to the recipe Padre had been wanting to whip up since the 10th;

to see Padre,

Sitting in his captain's chair, the one he would prefer no one sit in but several do, to his dismay,

and say in dismay:

"I don't understand why you and Madre (mom) get so mad about this recipe."

Actually, I don't recall what he said, and either does Madre, because she was at work, but there were visable physical signs that his heart was shrinking back a half size.

Come to think of it, I think what I thought what was mere heart palpitations might be the very same phenomenon.~

Don't worry about Padre tho, just yesterday he was mixing up the marinade like a mad alchemist and hasn't complained about the Christmas Eve again.

Stay tuned for Jaden's post on Christmas. He is so slow with deadlines.

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