Family + the Holidays, a mini screenplay: What's your Role?


Polly: The planner, the boss, the eldest
Lilly: The laborer, once rebellious, now resigned, the middle child
Sally: The swooper, does not contribute other than bringing one dessert, the baby
Mother: Their mother


Thanksgiving Day at Polly's house.

Scene 1: In the kitchen, before dinner

Polly, Lilly, Mother hovering around the oven.  Lilly is basting.

Polly: On top. Get the top!

Lilly: I did. Again?

Polly: Yes. On top.

Mother: That should be enough.

Polly: No, it is not enough. More.

Mother: It'll just make the skin crispier.  If you want to make it juicier -

Sally walks into the kitchen. Interrupts.

Sally: Do you have a nail file?

Polly, Lilly, Mother look up.

Polly: In my bathroom, in the top drawer.

Sally leaves. Polly, Lilly, Mother go back to the turkey.

Lilly: Shouldn't we shut the oven?

Polly: Oh. Yeah.

Polly washes the green beans. Lilly mashes potatoes. Mother prepares a salad.  Sally returns.

Sally: Do you have nail glue too? Can you fix my nail?  Look!  It broke right off when I set the cupcake box down.

Polly, wiping sweat from her forehead, displaying her nails that haven't been manicured in three weeks: Yes.

Sally: Where's the nail glue?

Polly: In my bathroom, in the top drawer.

Sally: Can you believe this? I just got them done yesterday. This is so annoying.

Sally leaves.

Lilly, taking a break from mashing potatoes to shake out her fatigued arm: Is that what's annoying?


Scene 2: In the kitchen, after dinner

Polly walks into the kitchen, carrying what's left of the turkey platter.

Lilly walks into the kitchen, carrying what's left of the mashed potatoes and green beans.

Mother walks into the kitchen, carrying what's left of the salad.

Sally walks into the kitchen, carrying nothing.

Sally: Have you seen the last two episodes of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills?

Lilly, scooping mashed potatoes into a Tupperware container: No.

Polly, wrapping turkey in aluminum foil: Sally, grab me a plastic container. They're in the cabinet next to the stove.

Sally turns around to head for said cabinet but Mother beats her to it, gets the container and gives it to Sally.

Mother: Here you go. Give this to Polly.

Polly, rolling her eyes, takes the container from Sally and scoops green beans into it.

Mother leaves the kitchen and quickly returns with a large Macy's bag.  She places the plastic containers of potatoes and green beans and piles of turkey into the bag.  She hands it to Sally.

Sally buttons her fur coat, runs her hand through her straightened hair and takes the bag.  She kisses everyone goodbye and leaves with all of the leftovers.

Lilly pushes her unwashed hair with three inch roots away from her face and rubs her eyes with her unmanicured fingers.

Polly: Ma! You gave her all of the leftovers?

Mother: What?  She doesn't cook.


End scene.

Oh, the joy of the holidays! This isn't my family exactly but this post was inspired after a recent conversation with my cousin. We agreed that nothing exacerbates already existing tensions and defines roles better than a national holiday that you're expected to spend with your family.

I have to say though, like I confessed to my cousin, H and I are total Swoopers! We're not as bad as Sally but we do swoop in from whatever city we're living in (NYC at one point, now Chicago), bring one dessert, become lost and confused and ultimately useless in the kitchen and then retire to the couch.  We don't leave with all of the leftovers but that's only because we don't live nearby.

In the spirit of Roses, today, I am grateful ~
to H and my siblings who do all of the hard work - prepare for our arrival, cook everything, set the table, clean up.  All we do is show up, eat, play with the nieces and nephews, and leave.  Yup, Swoopers of the highest order.
And they love us anyway.
And we love them and are so grateful for all they do.

Maybe we should bring two desserts this year.

TG card

What is Stop and Blog the Roses? If Sex and the City and Chicken Soup for the Soul had a love child.
Check out other recent entries here ~
My Rosetta Stone on how to talk with a New Jersey accent
Have you ever gone to church and then told someone to F themselves? Me too!

Follow me on Twitter @FernRonay and on Facebook at

Thank you for reading!


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