This will be my 17th Thanksgiving and Christmas as a single man. Don’t take me wrong. I have had a few relationships, and some holidays I was with someone, but I do miss many things about having a wife. I miss the companionship, the walks while holding hands, the affection, and the intellectual exchange. One thing I miss more than anything else, and no, it’s not sex! It’s caressing soft skin in the morning.
I’m not complaining, just say’in.
After all, I do have my three brilliant, beautiful, and bubbly children for our Syrian Thanksgiving meal tonight. The menu includes Maloobe, (the dish is called upside down because you turn it upside down when done! It contains rice, cauliflower, nuts, and deliciousness.) I will also have vegetarian-stuffed squash with rice, tomatoes, onions and spices. No Syrian meal would be complete without Humus and baba Ghannouge (Eggplant dip).
The appetizer cheese plate, a necessity in my family, will include goat, Petit-Bask, and Mozzarella. Dates, apples, pomegranate seeds, and nuts will also make an appearance. To drink we will have red wine and some good Trappist-Monk beer.
Speaking of wine, I have to interject a story about my daughter Demi, who when seven-years of age, turned her nose up when I offered her a sip of my wine. I said, “Just take a tiny sip Demi, it’s sweet.” Demi refused making a face and saying, “I don’t want any of that yucky-happy-sleepy juice!”
I miss those days, when they were all in the front yard on their scooters and bikes. Now Demi is in Memphis at Rhodes College, and Zade is a lawyer in West Palm Beach. Dury is here in Birmingham and works as a photographer while continuing on his dream of becoming a musician.
So, what is it like to be entering the 17th holiday season as a single man 53 years of age?
I get to watch happy couples going about their business at the grocery store, and you hear bits and pieces of conversations:
“Let’s get sweet potatoes, your uncle Charley loves them baked,” I want an uncle Charley who loves sweet potatoes.
“Does aunt Thelma like red or white wine?” I want an aunt Thelma, and I’ll serve her both. Heck I’ll make her my own blend of Rose’ if she can’t decide.
“Do your kids eat broccoli?” I love this one. My kids hated broccoli when little, but now they eat it if cooked into things.
And my favorite,”Don’t forget, there will be thirty four people at our house. We have to get enough rolls.” I will turn my house into a bakery just to have thirty four people over during the holidays.
When I’m eighty, I want to look over a vast Thanksgiving table with my three kids, and the kids of my wife. I will have been married again, this time for keeps. And I want to see all the kids with their own kids, and those kids with their kids. I don’t want thirty four people around the table, I want sixty four with crying babies, snot everywhere, and diapers needing to be changed (Since I have become a germ-freak, I told my kids I will not change diapers when they have grandkids. They all laughed and said, ‘Yes you will.’)
I want food of my home of Syria, and the food of the kids’ wives and husbands, where ever that may be.
I want noise so loud you have to shout over people to get them to hand you the Maloobe.
I want us all to bow our heads and say grace. I love that word, ‘grace’. I don’t care what you believe. I’m not sure what I believe, but just to say, ‘Let’s have grace’, it’s beautiful. And I will give a grace that welcomes everyone, no matter what they believe, into my religion of love. That is my faith, it’s not Islam, it’s not Christianity, it’s not Judaism. My religion is love.
While saying grace, I want some of the grand and great grand children to be stealing sweet stuff off the dessert table. I did when little and got in trouble for it, but it’s another lovely thing.
During the meal, I want to hear so many conversations going in all different directions. Then I want my gorgeous wife, who I love insanely and still get weak in the knees when she looks at me with those sexy eyes that say, ‘You’re my man’. My wife who provides me with ample soft skin every morning. I want her to grab my hand and squeeze it, then close her eyes for a second, and I will close mine sharing her dream.
There will be no need for words. Just those dreamy eyes saying, “We did good’.
We did good indeed, my future love.