Keeping body and soul together at Thanksgiving
Like so many others, we’re getting ready to uncircle the SUVs and head off to my parents’ for Thanksgiving. The warmth. The fellowship. The football. The lapsing into my native accent. The fun of trying to entertain three kids strapped into hard plastic car seats until the blood pools in their buttocks but who remain nonetheless within pinching, shoving and poking range. Through bitter experience, I can confide that the only thing that drowns out the sound of “Maaa—aaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!”s while one is trying to hurtle down the highway, by the way, is the Clash. How apropos.
But one tradition will be missing this year. No Taco Tico!
Bertie Wooster had the lure of the peerless Anatole’s Supreme de Foie Gras au Champagne or Niege aux Perles des Alpes to keep luring him back into Aunt Agatha’s clutches. We had Taco Tico, a delightful fast food joint guaranteed to stop the braying of the emptiest stomach after a wearying journey. It was tasty, it was cheap, and it was open Thanksgiving Day. Perfect.
See, every year, we are told that dinner will be at 3, and every year we know that that’s just a pile of giblets. Time and schedules have a mythic, hazy quality in my mother’s universe, particularly with my dad around, who merely knows that the kitchen is where the coffee pot is. How many times as a child was I incredibly late somewhere until I learned to tell my mom the appointment was an hour earlier? The first Thanksgiving we traveled back to the old homestead from our new city, I tried to warn my then-fiance to join me in partaking of the tangy, greasy goodness of a double beef enchilada with extra sauce, but he was sure I was foolishly taking up prime space reserved for turkey and nobly refused. Three hours later, he was ready to gnaw the cabinetry around my parents’ tv while the turkey was still tartare. Next year we were not so adverse to a little caloric insurance before presenting ourselves at the doorway of the parental manse, now were we, honey?
And thus every year. But no more. Taco Tico has closed up shop to the gnashing of teeth of this side of the clan Cornelius. Hasta la vista, Taco Tico. We knew ye well. You shall be long lamented. I have no idea what we will do now.
Maybe the Coney I-Lander will be open.
One can only dream.