Eatin’ up Christmas

Published 6:51 pm Saturday, January 10, 2009

Aunt Bird was my grandmother’s sister.

She had never missed a meal in her life.

“Keep eatin’ like that and you’re gonna be as big as Aunt Bird,” my grandmother would say. Her sharp words would slash the taste buds right off my tongue.

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Without Mugi to admonish me, my taste buds have matured and multiplied and I have become Aunt Bird.

(Why anyone would name a baby Bird, I do not know.)

But every morning, I look in the mirror and say, “Good morning, Bird.”

Then I go straight to the kitchen because I have something very pressing to do. I must eat up Christmas.

And, I’m sure that Aunt Bird got in the shape that she was in, doing precisely the same thing.

See. When you’re a mama Bird, it’s your responsibility to make sure that nothing goes to waste. Especially these days when times are hard and prices are high. You just can’t afford to throw away food.

And, too, I grew up when mamas were really concerned about people all over the world who didn’t have food to eat and were staving to death.

I never understood why stuffing ourselves was of any help to those poor people.

It was not until I entered motherhood that I fully understood that it’s a mother’s responsibility to eat up all the leftovers in honor of all the starving people in the world.

Holidays are the most wasteful times. Mamas cook for the multitudes and then everyone goes home leaving the leftovers behind.

Leftovers weren’t that hard to swallow this year because the bulk of them were dishes that I fixed that no one likes except Sis and me. And there were a couple of things that I liked so much that I hid them from Sis – a New York cheesecake and ambrosia made from eight pounds of oranges. I ate every bite of cheesecake and every spoonful of ambrosia right by myself – in honor of the starving folks in China.

I also ate a leftover asparagus casserole, a large bowl of white peas and a ton of candied sweet potatoes, but not in honor of anyone especially. Sis gave me a box of chocolate covered cherries and Bannie gave me a chocolate pie. I ate every bit even though I’m not a sweet-eater. That doesn’t mean that I don’t eat sweets, just that I don’t crave them.

I had bought a package of “balonie” to make fried bologna sandwiches for my little grandson. He ate two. I ate eight.

I bought a package of salami and one of roasted turkey for my boys. It took me a whole loaf of bread to make those meats into sandwiches – for me.

Off the Christmas ham, I was able to get me about six sandwiches and I made a huge pot of soup that I’ve just about eaten down to the bottom.

The two quarts of sherbet needed to be eaten, so I took care of that. And, I scraped out the last little bit of spinach dip with the last few chips in the bag. I’m still eating on a pizza-size teacake that my friend Teacakes gave me and there are a few sticks of candy and a tin of toasted pecans that can’t go to waste.

Other than that, I’ve just about eaten up Christmas. And, honestly, I’ve enjoyed every bite of it, calories and all.

So, when I go to bed at night, I pull the covers up, smile and say, “Good night, Aunt Bird, all the hungry folks in China sure do thank you.”