Thanksgiving and other holiday skirmishes

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Husband-and-wife journalists Bob Miller and Callie Clark Miller share the same small house, tiny bathroom and even the same office. But not always the same opinion. The Southeast Missourian sweethearts offer their views on every-day issues, told from two different perspectives.

SHE SAID: I'm going to have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

I will be particularly thankful if I manage to live through it.

You see, I'm hosting My Very First Ever Thanksgiving Dinner.

The idea began simply enough, with Bob and I selfishly trying to avoid the two-hour drive to his parents' home in Doniphan, Mo. They have more than one day off for the holiday, we reasoned, so they should come to us.

Well, life never misses an opportunity to jump up and kick me in the back of the head.

Our guest list quickly grew from Bob's parents and two younger brothers to my little brother and three co-workers. Then, Bob's mom called last week to ask if we had room for two cousins.

That's 14 people, and I have dinnerware for eight. Bob suggested paper plates. I shot him a dirty look and announced I'd have to go shopping for more china. And table cloths. And glasses. I think we can make do with the silverware we have, but there's definitely a need for holiday-themed serving platters and centerpieces.

My husband is less than thrilled with all of this. But, then, I discovered two years ago that he has a distinctly bah-humbug attitude toward Christmas until about mid-December. Last year, he tried telling me I was not ALLOWED to put up the tree until after Thanksgiving.

This year, I decided to put it up a week earlier than usual to prepare for My Very First Ever Thanksgiving Dinner, because I don't really have any Thanksgiving decorations. Bob should have cottoned to this idea immediately, because it means I'm willing to forgo buying porcelain turkeys, plastic pumpkins and paper-leaf garland, thus saving us money.

But no. He started right in about that darn tree, actually attempting at one point to use LOGIC in dissuading me from putting it up (there's not enough room for that tree and all those people, he said).

Logic has never worked on me.

HE SAID: Let's get some things straight. I never told my cute and talented wife what she was allowed to do. Sloppy execution of word choice there. As a male of almost 30 years, I learned many years ago never to tell a woman what she's allowed to do.

Instead, I beg and whine and pout like an 8-year-old. And then stomp off if I don't get my way.

You won't find me stomping about the Christmas tree. I'm not offended or angry. I just think it's a little dumb. I clearly see the Christmas season beginning on the day after Thanksgiving. And I think, given the amount of shopping that occurs on that day, my theory is supported by millions of people.

As for the Thanksgiving dinner, I can already see where this is headed. Frilly cloth napkins, new scented candles, new silverware, new plates, new glasses, new kitchen cabinets, a new chandelier and a new outfit to match. Oh yeah, and then there's the food.

Callie will put on a great, festive meal. I have no doubt about that. She's a good cook most of the time, and she organizes well. It's probably best that I don't go with her to the store to buy all the stuff. One of the biggest differences between my wife and me is that I'd rather live a boring life and have a few dollars to spare than actually be a sociable human being with parties and all the nonsense.

But I must admit I love both holidays. Thanksgiving wouldn't be the same without all the work that goes on behind the scenes by, at first my mother, and now Callie. And even as an almost-30-year-old, I still love waking early on Christmas morning and digging into the presents under the tree .

It will be interesting this coming Turkey Day. I can't wait to eat, visit with everybody and then settle in for a football game or two. And maybe even a nap.

That is, if Callie ALLOWS me.

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