The HLDW* and I spend Christmas Eve with our "Atlanta Family". Two guys, Larry and Demetrius, that I met at the cigar shop many years ago, and their wives and kids (and lots of other invited guests). I love these guys like brothers and they have awesome families. I've written about some of the dinners/parties we've had in the past - they are chefs and wine experts so any get together is amazing. What makes Christmas Eve even more special is that, in addition to the normally anticipated culinary goodness, Larry is of Italian extraction (the New Jersey kind - but not the trashy Jersey shore kind - more like the old school Frank Sinatra kind) and that means he does the traditional Feast of Seven Fishes. Platter after platter of fresh oceanic goodness - fried, baked, sauteed, etc., etc. The goodness goes on long into the night.
A couple of years ago Larry's parents, Pat and Jerry, and his brother came to town (they still live in New Jersey) for Christmas. Wonderful people. There were probably 40 or 50 people there that year. Several of us, including the HLDW, Larry's mom and his wife were sitting around one of the tables noshing on antipasto and drinking wine and the subject came up of Pat's fight with diabetes and ongoing complications that cost the loss of her leg earlier in the year. Hey, like I said, we're family, so what else should we be talking about on Christmas Eve? Anyway, Pat was doing well and the subject came and went.
What I should mention at this point is that Pat, as 60-something ladies do, was wearing a very "festive" Christmas sweater adorned with various and sundry buttons and pins with holiday pictures and greetings.
This is what followed:
HLDW, "Oh, Pat, I love your sweater and all of the buttons and pins."
Pat, "Thank you."
HLDW, "I love the Rudolph with the blinking nose!"
Pat, (pointing to a large white button with a green outline with a large red L in the center with a black diagonal line through it) "Do you know what this one means?"
I perk up at this as the HLDW has had a few glasses of wine at this point and she has the alcoholic constitution of a virgin on prom night so I can't wait to see what she is going to say.
I should learn that this desire is a very, very bad thing.
The earlier conversation must have been front and center in her mind because, with no hesitation whatsoever, the HLDW says, "No leg?"
OMG, did she just say that?!?!?!
Oh, yes, she did. She just said "no leg" to our host's mother.
The table goes silent.
I'm biting the inside of my cheek in a futile effort to keep a soul-ripping guffaw from bursting from my mouth. I can't help it. I start laughing hysterically. Everyone else, including Pat, start laughing too. The HLDW is sitting there in horror, turning crimson with embarrassment, as she realizes what she said.
HLDW, "Oh my god, oh my god." She is incapable of saying anything else at this point.
Time for The Rhino to step in and save the day.
Rhino, "Ummmm, honey, it means 'No L' ... Noel. Get it?"
HLDW, "Oh my god, I am so sorry! I thought it was for airport security or something to let them know you have a prosthetic leg."
This causes another round of uproarious laughter.
I, being the loving and supportive husband that I am, immediately called Larry over and said, "Hey, Larry, ask the HLDW what that button on your mom's sweater means."
Let's just say that at this point I learned that for a delicate flower the HLDW has one hell of a fast backhand.
Larry, of course, asked ...and the HLDW refused to respond. So, of course, Pat chimed in with 'no leg' which just caused an even louder round of laughter. Except for Larry, who was just confused. So, I explained and he laughed ... and immediately called his brother over for another round of "what does this button mean?".
This went on for pretty much the next half hour as person after person was brought in on the joke.
Thank goodness that Pat has a great sense of humor.
That story gets told every year. Another tradition.
It is good to be a Rhino with such heartwarming noel anecdotes.
*Hippie Liberal Douche Wife