Despite her children being in their 30’s, our mom is constantly dishing out the kind of advice that should be reserved for kindergarteners. This habit combined with the her being the meekest among us makes her an easy target for teasing. That is, until she becomes a moving target.
Every year at Thanksgiving dinner, we have delicious homemade gravy. And every year, Mom pours that gravy into a lovely white gravy boat on a lovely white gravy boat plate. And every year, when she picks up the plate to pass it to the person next to her, she reminds us to be careful because the gravy boat is not attached. And it’s the same for the next person. And the next person. And the person after that. And the dog. And the neighbors. And the mayor. And THE GRAVY BOAT IS NOT. FRICKING. ATTACHED. YOU GUYS.
Like any loving family should, we tease her mercilessly over this. Nowadays, we beat her to the punch, loudly and repeatedly reminding the table that the gravy boat is NOT ATTACHED, no matter who is doing the passing or receiving. But do you wanna know the funny thing? Regardless of who is doing the reminding, the effect is the same: we know to handle that boat with care.
By Thanksgiving Day of 2011, the dining room tables had turned. The gravy hardly got passed even once before Mom suddenly burst out giggling. When she finally caught her breath, she proudly explained that she had just pranked us — by using sticky tack to ATTACH THE GRAVY BOAT TO THE GRAVY BOAT PLATE.
Turns out? Sticky tack melts under gravy-serving temperature, which ultimately taught Mom a tougher, gummier lesson than the rest of us when it came time to do the dishes. I’d like to say the joke was on her, but let’s be honest: the rest of us learned a lesson that day, and it was one we will never, ever forget.
And that? That’s something I’m thankful for.