Getting Our Just Desserts

17 Nov

Rockwell, Thanksgiving.jpgMy Aunt Jo used to say, “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.” She uttered that phrase any time we complained or didn’t seem grateful for something she did for us. She always expected respect be given for the respect she tendered.

I can still remember the Thanksgiving Day when we cousins, grown and with kids of our own, put her favorite saying to the test. The table was filled with the usual overabundance of holiday foods. We had just started to fill our plates with seconds when Aunt Jo jumped up from the table and scurried into the kitchen.

“I almost forgot something!” she yelled from the depths of the refrigerator.

What could she have forgotten? I wondered. My eyes scanned the table which was brimming with a 20-pound turkey and all the veritable fixings—stuffing with meat and without, cranberry sauce whole and jellied, three kinds of vegetables and potatoes mashed, twice-stuffed, and candied.

Before I could wager a guess, she was back. She held a small salad plate piled with some sort of white food that had a swollen, bulb-like base.

“What’s that?” my husband asked.

“This,” she said, with dramatic pause, “is anus!”

I stopped mid-bite, turkey leg in hand. The room fell under a stunned silence. Parents, grandparents, kids and cousins all exchanged wild glances.

“It’s what?” My husband choked.

“It’s anus,” she repeated, placing the plate on the table. Everyone leaned in for a closer look.

“The clerk at the store said if you cut the anus, it releases a strong scent. It’s supposed to smell like black licorice.” She broke off a piece of what by now we had figured out to be fresh anise. “Smell the anus,” she insisted. The entire table broke into hysterics. I glanced up at Aunt Jo, who looked mildly humored, but in a confused way.

My husband reached for a piece of anise and popped it into his mouth. “Mmm—best anus I’ve ever had!” Laughter exploded and our teenage son cracked up so hard that no sound came from his mouth.

“What happens if you squeeze the anus?” Someone quipped. And the jokes continued nonstop.

At this point, I was rolling on the floor, unable to take in air. Aunt Jo remained unaware, trying to ignore the nonsense going on around her. Finally, my uncle ushered her into the other room. They whispered back and forth. She nodded then blushed crimson with embarrassment.

When she returned, her high heels clicking with the determination of each step, we hurried to compose ourselves. This time, she didn’t have to say, “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.” We could see it written all over her face.

“Help yourselves to the A-NISE (an’ is),” Aunt Jo announced with a deliberate purpose, “because tonight there is no pie.”

Suddenly, I remembered Aunt Jo’s second favorite phrase growing up. With shameful acceptance, I realized she was holding back the pie in order to give us what we had coming to us—we were “finally getting our just desserts.”

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41 Responses to “Getting Our Just Desserts”

  1. jotsfromasmallapt November 17, 2014 at 9:06 am #

    I so dislike reading your posts…especially when I have a mouthful of coffee. Which, if you would like to know but I’m telling you anyway, is now all over my desk, my computer,
    my self!
    …just say “You are welcome” and we’ll both have pie for breakfast…

  2. G M Barlean November 17, 2014 at 10:19 am #

    Very funny. I think I had a bit of an Aunt Jo in my life, too. I’ve never seen fresh anise but I’ll have to buy some if I ever do. She should have let you all have pie! I may even make some pie today and raise a fork to Aunt Jo. After all, it was JUST dessert!

  3. Carrie Rubin November 17, 2014 at 10:44 am #

    There’s a candy store in my hometown that sells hard anise-flavored candy every holiday season. It’s so good, but I can never say the name with a straight face. :/

  4. anotherday2paradise November 17, 2014 at 11:33 am #

    A lovely story. Made me laugh. It’s years since I had anise. 🙂

  5. sportsattitudes November 17, 2014 at 11:44 am #

    That is one word I usually “skip over” when confronted with. No ifs, ands…or butts…about it.

  6. Perfecting Motherhood November 17, 2014 at 4:46 pm #

    Wow, that’s a Thanksgiving dinner for the memories! I think you should have some of that every year.

  7. morristownmemos by Ronnie Hammer November 17, 2014 at 8:35 pm #

    When we go round the table this Thanksgiving telling everyone what we feel thankful for, I will have to say, Lisa, for adding such joy and humor to life.

  8. earthriderjudyberman November 17, 2014 at 9:07 pm #

    I’ve seen signs bragging about their “anus” burgers. Whoops! Thanks for the laughs, Lisa. I do hope that your Aunt Jo relented and brought out one of her famous pies. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. 😉

    • Main Street Musings Blog November 18, 2014 at 9:18 am #

      Right? I don’t have to tell you what my husband calls the restaurant Black Angus.Happy Thanksgiving to you too, Judy.

  9. nursemommylaughs November 17, 2014 at 10:01 pm #

    So fabulous! I can picture all the faces around the table with your incredible description. My dad used to put ‘anus’ in spaghetti sauce. Tasted like…well you get the picture.

  10. funnysister November 17, 2014 at 10:45 pm #

    This is one HILARIOUS post!!
    You know, a person could laugh so hard at this…that they fart…which is actually an appropriate response, I believe.
    I’m not saying I did. Or didn’t.
    I’ll never look at Anise again without thinking of your Aunt Jo.

  11. Lou November 18, 2014 at 7:05 pm #

    I am sure Aunt Jo must have many good qualities. Her meal ending announcement makes me yearn for a just dessert..

  12. Professor Taboo November 19, 2014 at 6:36 am #

    I love holiday family get-togethers because most of the querks and dysfunctions (and as I recently experienced: hilarious “family secrets” between husbands/wives & kids) come out with as much spice and tartness to make your eyes water, ribs hurt, and bladders squeeze (sometimes painfully as the women run to the bathroom) from constant laughter. I totally relate to Aunt Jo!

    Delightfully funny post Lisa! Thank you. 🙂

    • Main Street Musings Blog November 19, 2014 at 8:57 am #

      True, holidays do seem to bring out the best and worst of us. Thanks for your comment, I’m so glad you enjoyed the post.

  13. pattisj November 19, 2014 at 11:27 pm #

    I can just see everyone cracking up–and poor Aunt Jo–wondering what was going on.

  14. I suck as a parent November 21, 2014 at 9:39 am #

    Hilarious! My Greek grandmother would mispronounce things all the time – in ways that I can’t even write about without blushing. It made family gatherings so much fun! Happy Thanksgiving – just remember to get the dessert before you give an explanation this time!

  15. Dawn@LightenUp! November 22, 2014 at 6:30 am #

    Haha – Anus, Anise – What’s the difference, really?
    Funny, sweet story, Lisa!

  16. Albert the Dog November 23, 2014 at 7:14 pm #

    I enjoyed this story, but I am afraid I am missing something, Ms. Lisa. I do not understand what is so funny about smelling an anus. I do that all the time.

  17. Shakti Ghosal November 24, 2014 at 7:49 am #

    Absolutely hilarious, loved it.

    I recall in school when someone got up and answered , ” A Lice in Wonderland” to the teacher’s question about the book which Lewis Caroll wrote. Unfortunately it was out of bound to ROFL in those days, specially in school!


  18. Paprika Furstenburg November 24, 2014 at 9:47 am #

    And this is why you shouldn’t eat anything you can’t pronounce… I would have needed oxygen to recover from the laughing fit. Great story! Happy Thanksgiving, Lisa.

  19. LB November 24, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    Wonderful! Thanks for the laugh!

  20. Audubon Ron November 29, 2014 at 8:58 am #

    Great Story! Perfect!

  21. หนัง x January 6, 2016 at 1:07 am #

    Hi mates, its enormous piece of writing about teachingand entirely explained, keep it up all the time.

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