There's a Gremlin in the T.V., really.
Friday after the feast, we gathered again, once the young men began to stir, that is. Coffee, bacon, French toast, and real maple syrup for me and Mr. W. My son ate a bacon and cranberry sauce sandwich. The bacon was smoked and cured with black pepper. It had a bit of a kick. And the cranberry sauce was the kind that retains an impression of the can it came in. On Sourdough toast. Yeah.
The others arrived around 11:30 AM, mostly because my sister wanted control of the T.V. from noon to four. It was time for the Backyard Brawl. I am not a fan of football; I don't get it. My sister, however, is an avid fan, especially of her Alma Mater, the University of Pittsburgh. Wait. Avid fan? No she's a rabid fan, known to hang up on innocent, well-meaning callers if they have the unfortunate timing of calling during active play. She has also, with her "enthusiasm" caused enough havoc, that the family dog will skulk from the room and hide at the hint of anything resembling football on the television. She swears she isn't as bad now; she can actually watch in one room, rather than stalking from set to set, all of which are showing the game, commenting loudly on the game. "OH COME ON!"
Outside, the trees sparkled with the frozen remnants of rain, a light breeze sent glimmering drops groundward. It was a perfect day to spend inside surrounded by family. My sister sat in the center of the couch with Mr. W. and I flanking. She vibrated with excitement for the game. It began as she told me her prediction- "Pitt is going to lose, but you never know." And a bunch of other technical football stuff. I did listen to what she explained. Really. I did. The boys and my brother-in-law congregated around the breakfast bar behind us, talking and discussing my son's imminent move (and all the crap he had to do before he actually left).
As soon as the game got underway, the channel changed. I had the only remote, so she accused me of tampering. The channel switched back to the game. I handed her the remote, to prove my innocence. The channel flipped again. I grabbed it back and hit the "last" button on the remote. Back to football. Then "Keeping up Appearances"(an older, British sitcom), even I had to choose football over that. Football, BBC, football, BBC, infomercial, football. At this point, though she had actually seen all of the important stuff, my sister was getting a bit annoyed.
"Am I being punked?" She turned to me. "Has the cable ever done this before?"
"No. Could it be the ice?" I asked my son if he'd ever had this happen, he replied in the negative. The channel flicked again.
"Oh, COME ON!!!" My sister put her head in her hands, composing herself. Football resumed. Another ten minutes passed until the next flicker.
"Why don't we try it on the non-HD channel?" She suggested, putting on her see-how-calm-and-pleasant-I-can-be-when-really-I-am-borderline-homicidal smile. We changed to that. Football. She relaxed. Flicker to "Saved by the Bell."
"Put it back to HD. BBC is better than that." Back to HD programming we went. Football until the commercial. BBC. Infomercial. Football. "Thank God for replays," she muttered. "Maybe, I should go back to the hotel and wrestle the lobby T.V. away from the kids..."
It didn't help that the other team scored a touchdown within the first few minutes; sure, Pitt rallied and scored, but it did not bode well for the rest of the game. By half-time, my sister was frustrated with the game and my anxiety was growing about my son getting to the dump in time, discarding the mountain of garbage with my truck, and returning in a timely manner so Mr. W and I could drive home, and whether or not there would be bloodshed before the end of the weekend. Several times, she suggested shopping at the only, tiny department store within an hour's drive. Desperate times call for desperate measures. At this point, I am sure she could have used some blood-pressure medicine, or a stiff drink, or maybe a strong sedative.
I'm exaggerating. Maybe. Not. It was Pitt football, after all. Honestly, she has made progress; she was willing to watch the game in company on only a single television.
It was during half-time, when I strolled into the kitchen to make up a huge plate of leftovers, that I discovered the existence of a second remote. My brother-in-law had been behind the impromtu channel surfing.
Of course, I said nothing and the game continued for the third quarter, when my sister finally was told. No one was hurt in the aftermath. My sister is still happily married, ok, my sister is still married, not widowed, my son got rid of the trash, Mr. W. headed back home only two hours later than planned with my nephew in tow. This is what makes my holiday's special.