By Lindsay Pyfer
No one could figure out why our littlest sister, Sally, would throw up on every major holiday. Oh no, we older kids would sigh, slapping our foreheads. Not again.
It wasn’t until I was grown up that I put two and two together. It was the stress that did her in.
My mother and stepfather invariably ended up fighting as Mom struggled to put a sumptuous Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner for 30 people on the table. My stepfather was no help, just hindrance and, like most people who’ve never put together a holiday meal, had no idea how much effort and coordination it required.
Those of us kids inclined to help would chop, stir, sweep and set the table. Dinner would invariably be late, meaning the men drank too much as my stepfather, the genial host, freshened cocktails and refilled the bowls of pimento-stuffed olives and dry roasted nuts.
Male voices would rise in the living room and encroach into the kitchen as the liquor breached good intentions and the political fighting began. My Grandpa Doc, an OBGYN and Barry Goldwater Republican, would spar with my stepfather, Bill, an internist, Southern Democrat, and ACLU member. I remember my grandfather railing back then about “socialized medicine.” I’m pretty sure he was objecting to Medicare.
We females rushed to set out Mom’s feast along the kitchen counter, buffet-style, as she whisked the gravy, hoping that after the men ate they wouldn’t be capable of anything more than a genial holiday truce.
Now, 50+ years later, Greg and I cook holiday feasts in the same kitchen and lay them out along the counter, buffet style. This year we’re inviting only people of the Democratic persuasion to our holidays. We know that if our meal included Trump voters, there would be a lot more than vomiting going on. Maybe even bloodshed.