Mom had gas. I’m not talking you’re average run of the mill gas either; more like “keep your children safe in the basement cuz Mom’s about to blow the side off of the house” kind of gas. Poor Mom will never live it down either, because every year since, once the Thanksgiving food is all put away, and everyone is sitting around drinking coffee and telling stories, someone will bring it up, and it usually begins like this:
“Hey Auntie Margaret, remember the year that you parted Leon’s hair right down the middle…?”
Let me start from the beginning:
I remember the day very well. I had stayed the night at Mom’s house and while we were getting ready to go to Auntie Verna’s for Thanksgiving, Mom said to me, “God, I just have the WORST gas today!” When I looked over at her, I could actually see that her poor stomach was all bloated out, and she was even having a difficult time buttoning her pants.
I said, “Jeez Mom, you’d better go outside and get rid of it before we get to Auntie Verna’s house because you know how Auntie Verna feels about farting.”
Mom: “Oh god, I know! She’ll take my head off if I let one slip while I’m helping her get the food out!”
Before she had even completed her sentence, the release of gas had begun.
And it was impressive.
I am not even exaggerating when I tell you that it sounded like a foghorn and it went on and on for more than a minute! I could actually watch her stomach shrinking back down to normal size. It reminded me of when I was a little girl and my older brother, Tony, and I would squeeze the obnoxiously loud and squeaky air out of a helium balloon before letting it fly to the ceiling.
Of course my sweet, little, prim and proper looking Mom, just stood there giggling the entire time. She covered her mouth with her hands, and it appeared that she was even shocking herself as she stared at me through her Sally Jessy Raphael glasses with her wide, innocent, soft brown eyes. I would love to say that her feet actually lifted off of the ground, but that would be a slight exaggeration. I almost wanted to give her a round of applause when it was all over.
Mom: “Well, I feel MUCH BETTER now!”
Me: “Holy cow, Mom. That was…impressive.”
Mom grinned: “I told you I had gas!”
Me: “I just hope that’s the last one because I’m thinking that maybe you shouldn’t even leave the house if there’s even a remote possibility that that’s going to ever happen again.”
Mom: “No, no. I feel much better. Come on, let’s go!”
We got to Auntie Verna’s house right on time to start setting the food out on the table. Auntie Verna has a very strict rule that no one is allowed in the kitchen except whoever she designates as her helper (which is always Mom), until dinner is ready to be served, so I went out on the back porch to hang out with my cousins who were spending time in the designated smoking area.
I had barely made it through the sliding glass door, and began to tell my cousins the amazing story from earlier, before I heard Auntie Verna yell at the top of her lungs, “JESUS CHRIST, MARGARET, GO OUTSIDE!!!”
Within seconds, we all witnessed my mom sprinting toward the sliding glass door and I shouted, “Oh no…here she comes!!”
Once both of Mom’s feet made it outside on the porch, and the door was fully closed behind her, she let it go, and of course it was another one of her minute-long-blow-the-side-off-a-barn-spectaculars.
My cousins and I just stood there and watched the whole scene in amazement, while my Mom giggled so hard the entire time that her shoulders were shaking. It takes a whole lot to shock my older cousins, but seeing my Mom nearly levitate off of the porch definitely did the trick. Once Mom’s balloon had fully deflated, my cousins, Eric, Chris, and Venise, exclaimed in unison: “GOOD ONE, AUNTIE MAR-MAR!”
We all actually did give her a round of applause while we nearly died laughing. Mom giggled, and without so much as an “excuse me” said, “Well, I guess I’d better go back in and help Verna now.”
Mom had to make a run for the border two more times before Thanksgiving dinner was served, and each time it happened in the same order: 1) Auntie Verna shouting, “JESUS CHRIST MARGARET, GO OUTSIDE!!”, 2) Me yelling, “Oh no…here she comes, AGAIN!”, 3) Mom running to the back porch and slamming the sliding glass door behind her 4) just in time to let loose all over my cousins and I, who were only trying to get some fresh air in the great outdoors.
The third (and final) time was a different story altogether.
It all happened in the same order of events. However, instead of Mom making it all of the way outside BEFORE letting it fly, her balloon began to deflate as she rounded the corner past the group of people sitting at the main dinner table. For Mom it all happened in slow motion, much like the final racing scene in the movie “Chariots of Fire”:
“JESUS CHRIST, MARGARET!”…
“Oh no, HERE SHE COMES!”…
By the time she had stepped outside and started to close the sliding glass door behind her, it was more like she was turning down the volume on her enormous fart. It would best be compared to the sound of a steam engine of a passenger train before it reaches its destination, and comes to a SLOW…and Steady...
A long-time family friend named, Leon, took the brunt of it, since he was sitting with his back to the inside of the sliding-glass door. My cousins and I would all swear on a stack of Bibles that we saw Hurricane Margaret actually part poor Leon’s hair right down the middle as he was innocently trying to take a sip of his hot, black coffee. It all happened so fast, that Mom holds out a shred of hope that he never actually figured out what hit him.
Once Mom’s stomach had fully deflated, she just stood there, with her back to the house, and even though she couldn’t help but giggle, she appeared to be slightly terrified when she asked us, “Do you think anyone noticed…?“
There must have been at least thirty people at Auntie Verna’s house for Thanksgiving that year. When my cousins and I looked through the glass door, into the living room, we saw that for the most part everyone appeared to be in complete shock. There were also several people (mostly the spouses of my older cousins) who were on the floor laughing.
Cousin Venise looked my mom right in the eye and said, “I don’t think anyone noticed, Auntie Margaret. Why don’t you just walk around the house and go through the front door, and if anyone asks you what happened, you can just blame it on Whitney.”
Mom thought that was a great idea. Of course my cousins and I went back into the house so that we could get a front-row seat to whatever was about to happen, while my poor mom quickly trudged around Auntie Verna’s farmhouse in the rain.
Within moments, Mom quietly opened the front door of the house just enough so that she could peak one of her big, brown eyes through the opening. We all watched as she tiptoed through the entryway and stealthily crept toward the kitchen so that she could announce, with Auntie Verna, that Thanksgiving dinner was about to be served.
Once she made it to the living room, Venise’s husband, Scott, cleared his throat and said, “Auntie Margaret…is there something that we should talk about…?”
With that, the entire house erupted into laughter.
Mom shouted, “IT WASN’T ME! IT WAS WHITNEY!!”
That made everyone laugh even harder, especially after everyone pointed at me and I yelled, “IT WAS NOT!!”
And that, my friends, is “The Thanksgiving to Remember”.