For several years in a row now, my brother and sister-in-law have invited both sides of the family to Christmas Eve dinner.
Two nights ago, as my 88 year old, East Indian dad was sitting strategically in front of a plate of warm prosciutto hors d’œuvres on the coffee table, my sister-in-law’s elegant and ageless mother swept into the living room, spotted my father, and with arms extended, moved forward to embrace him.
My father saw her coming and extended his arms towards the acorn-fed ham, in the name of all starving people in India, plopped it into his mouth, then stood up to greet her, leaving a long remnant of prosciutto dangling from his chin.
“I’ll just let you finish that, Paul.”, she said, graciously, before giving him a hug.
There was another incident later on, that one might blame on a combination of romantic dinner lighting and advancing macular degeneration, when my sweet-toothed father mistook a rather generous pat of butter on his side plate for a piece of limoncello cheesecake.
The next day, he opted to wear sweatpants to the modest, catered meal he and my mother hosted for a small gathering at their house: Lac St.Jean meat pie and a veggie option for those of us who don’t eat rabbits or other cute animals.
At 88 you don’t choose between red or white wine, you simply have both. And eat two servings of dessert. This time the cake was orange-chocolate with crunchy hazelnut, served under bright lights.