by Lauri Fraser
It was Christmas, and I was having a hard time financially, and my parents were having a hard time in their relationship. I remember that I was sad for them, because my Dad was a workaholic and my Mom was really frustrated cuz he was never around and I felt emotionally responsible, as often happens with the eldest child. NOW they tell me. They had been married a really long time, and the three of us kids had given them a party on their 25th wedding anniversary. It was really a party to say “Okay you’ve raised us kids, you’ve done your job, you don’t have to feel guilty, now go out and get divorced and have a good life. They were always arguing. We never quite new what about and it was rarely at us, mostly just each other, Dad was pretty good at pouring salt on a womb in his own passive way. He stoked her rants because he made light of everything. She might as well have been screaming at a wall. which made it really tough on my Mom being that she had to do both sides by herself. But she did a good job screaming for two. I always thought that Mom was Joan Crawford without the hangers, and would never get off his back, but her frustrations were warranted. I remember praying with my best friend that they would split up, so I guess that it did have an effect on us kids. My Dad would always be out of the house before my Mom woke up so that he could avoid the wrath of Mom, and we didn’t really have the opportunity to get out of the house being that we were kids. Besides, Dad took the car, Mom would wake up to no husband and start her morning rant at the first sign of an obstacle which was pretty much everything from misplacing her keys to the phone ringing. But my Mom was deeply in love with my Dad and he with her, they just clashed in almost everything except Ballroom dancing which has been saving their marriage on a weekly basis for the past 52 years.
I turned into a teenager and was consumed with teenage-it is, so I really didn’t give a rats ass about anybody but myself, certainly not my parents relationship. And then my father went to EST. EST was the seminar of the 70’s. You paid a ton of money to get locked in a room with a bunch of other people for a weekend, where you couldn’t leave even to go to the bathroom, and came out supposedly understanding life better than the rest of us. You “Got IT”. After paying that much money, you had better have gotten something. Anyway, he would use the EST vocabulary, and talk about “It”. Well you just have to “GET IT” Lauri. You just don’t get “IT”. Once you get it, then you know. You have to take responsibility for your own life. “DUH! Hello! Dad? You paid How much to find this out?” “You have to open yourself up. Experience!” Well this one Christmas it was really lean. The gift list grew, and my wallet did not, I had to figure something out. What can I give my parents., They were really struggling, they hadn’t got divorced, despite the party and all our efforts, and I thought what can I do. So I thought about my Dad and EST and decided to give them an experience. They were so different, what did they have in common at this point in their life? The differences were driving them apart. So I decided to bake, POT bread. To give them an experience. A Cannabis Christmas. Since I was their kid, their offspring, they would both have a secret. The same secret. They would both be responsible. No one to blame but themselves. After all, I was part of both of them. So I got some really good weed and a I proceeded to learn how to make zucchini pot bread out of an Alice B. Toklas cook book. I made this pot bread and took it over to my parents first thing Christmas morning. We are Jewish and definitely a minority in our home in Monterey Park. My father would make Matzos and eggs every Christmas morning and the neighbors would come over for breakfast, cuz they were Catholic and had already opened their gifts on Christmas Eve, I said to my Dad, ”Dad you got to taste this before you eat anything (because you want to eat it on an empty stomach). It’s home made zucchini pot bread. “Oh” he takes a piece, “You make it in a pot?” “No”. he’s chewing it and swallowing it. “Pot bread. You know…..Pot” I wanted to give you guys and “Experience for Christmas”. Well, we were in the kitchen, which butted up against the service porch, and he walked slowly over and put his head down on the top of the washing machine and said “Oh…No” “Hey, don’t worry, Dad. if you don’t want to do it, then you can just have a big breakfast and then you’ll probably just go to sleep . That’s about it. Or….you could just… open yourself up to the EXPERIENCE. So….. maybe I shouldn’t give any to Mom.?” “No… he says, his head still buried in his arms. “give some to your mother.”
After finding the keys and taking the phone off the hook, omitting the first two obstacles of the morning, I wake my Mom up with a little Orange juice, and give her a small slice of the bread. “Mom, here, you’ve just got to taste this. I just made it and it’s still warm. It’ zucchini pot bread” “Oh. You make it in a pot?” “No. I wait for her to eat it.” Pot bread. You know, like Alice B. Toklas?” So my Mother being from England and having to be ever-so-hip, says “Oh…well, .when do we reap the harvest?” “In about 20 minutes. Her hair stands on end while the look on her face defends even the lightest look of uncertainty. “You can either chose to have the experience or”….and I told her the same thing I told my Dad. My brother came in and he had some, and my sister didn’t like raisins, so she missed her experience, and I took a camera and proceeded to take pictures through their “Experience” My parents were hysterical. My mother can’t stand Rhubarb jam but wound up putting it on everything. Then she looked our neighbor right in the eye and said “Oh Dick, You’re such a nice guy but boring.” “I know,” he said. I don’t think anyone guessed that they were high. What does that tell you? And my father forgot that he had already cooked the eggs, and jumped up from the couch 45 minutes after we had already eaten, flinging his silk bathrobe like a cape, and proclaimed “The eggs!” He no sooner ran into the kitchen when he ran back out again looking perplexed and said…”I…I… already cooked the eggs?” A little later he did it again. And once more. “ “My God, he said to me, there are people that do this stuff every day?! So it was a real experience for them And they both wound up passing out on the couch, We were going over to my Aunt and Uncles that evening and they asked if they could take some over and feed it to them, which they did and didn’t tell them mind you. Partners in crime. They had their own private show, watching my round, petite aunt take the “Betcha can’t break dance” dare, by dropping to the floor and spinning on her back in her holiday dress. My folks were tee heeing and nudging each other and laughing, and I don’t know if that’s what kept them together my any means, but it sure brought them together that Christmas. and to this day every Christmas when I ask them “Should bring anything?” there is always a knowing glance between them and then in beautiful unison they answer….”No”.