Every Thanksgiving, my family sits down at 4pm to watch The March of the Wooden Soldiers (1934), a Laurel & Hardy flick. It’s a tradition my parents inherited from their childhoods.
According to my dad, his family was so destitute growing up in the Bronx that the only time they were able to escape from their dire poverty was at 11am on Thanksgiving morning, when The March of the Wooden Soldiers would come in over the rabbit ears, and time would freeze. Everyone in the neighborhood, he told us yesterday, would stop and watch it. This was in like 1978.
Caleb is definitely passing the family litmus test. I think it’s because he came into the house on Wednesday night with a box of chocolate eclairs shielding his face, which he handed to my father without saying a word. In my family, sugar is like kryptonite. I swear to god, you could walk into this house with a pocket full of Hershey kisses, and for as long as they lasted, we’d all be crawling around on our knees, drooling from our mouths, and behaving.
Everyone has been really good at including Caleb in the conversations, which means that rather than ignoring him, they’ve been insulting him. “Here you are,” my dad said to me when Bo Peep, who sings in a tremulous high pitch, came on the screen at around 4:07pm yesterday afternoon. “And Caleb,” he said. “You’ll be right behind her.”
He was referring to TomTom, little Bo Peep’s beau, who wears lime green leggings and trebles in a low baritone.
“Caleb actually does have those pants,” I said.
My father snickered.
“I do have those pants,” Caleb said, oblivious. “They’re from American Apparel.”
“Look at the pumpkin pie!” I shouted, and pointed in the opposite direction from where Caleb was sitting. Everyone turned their heads, and started panting.
I think they forgot about the pants incident…for now.