A Crane Thanksgiving
Denny Crane was sitting in his favorite recliner in the den with a glass of scotch in one hand and a Cuban cigar in the other. He was twirling his glass as he watched his husband of less than a year, Alan Shore Crane, flip through the latest issue of The Massachusetts Lawyers Journal while he sipped his drink. They had already eaten dinner and had decided to spend the evening quietly reading. Denny's copy of Master and Commander lay forgotten on the table next to him.
Alan felt like he was being watched and when he looked up and caught Denny looking, he inquired, "What?"
Denny grunted in reply and then said, "Thanksgiving is in less than two weeks."
"So it is," Alan agreed, "We need to decide on a menu so Olympia can go shopping."
"If we decide to stay here," Denny countered, "We could go away for the holiday if you want."
"You want to go away for Thanksgiving, Denny?"
Alan put his magazine down and took another sip of his drink as he thought about his options. Last Thanksgiving was almost a complete disaster; Denny having an Alzheimer moment, Edwin letting it slip that Crane Poole and Schmidt was bankrupt, Jerry fighting with Edwin and Katie and worst of all, Melvin Palmer was there. He grimaced and shuddered at the thought of the man for whom he had an intense dislike. "Maybe getting out of town for a long weekend would be just the thing."
A smile split the older man's face. "Now you're talking!" he said as he clapped his hands together. "I'll tell you what: You think of places to go and I'll do the same and we'll put our heads together tomorrow and decide."
"OK, Denny, I'll give it some thought." Alan smiled to himself and thought, Ever since Denny started the new medication, he is becoming more and more like himself again.
"Excellent! I'm going upstairs. Are you coming?"
"Not for awhile, Denny. I'm in the middle of an interesting article I want to finish and then I'm going online for a bit. I'll be up in an hour or so."
Denny grunted again as he lifted up from the chair, grabbed his book and started toward the hall, "Don't wake me up. G'night."
"G'night, Denny," Alan responded affectionately. He finished his article and then went into his office to use his desktop computer. After checking his email, he started looking at various resorts throughout the United States and the Caribbean. We could go back to the Ritz – Carlton on St. Thomas; we had a wonderful time there on our honeymoon.* Or, we could go to Turks and Caicos! But, Thanksgiving is a true fall holiday; there doesn't have to be snow on the ground like last year; however, some chilly November weather would be nice. Yes, I like that idea.
He began to look at winter resorts but, all the ones he saw were ski resorts and after the nightmare he had endured the last time he was in a ski resort, he refused to go to one ever again. Though not particularly superstitious, he would not chance taking Denny to any ski lodge.**
His eye hit upon an online ad for some event in New York City which made him think, New York City, indeed. Why not? That would be perfect; we could fly down and stay in Denny's, I mean our, condo in the Dakota. We could watch the Thanksgiving Parade from our windows and then go to Aureole for dinner. We could go to the theater and watch the tree get lit at Rockefeller Center before we come home, too.
The next evening found Alan and Denny sitting in the den again with their scotch and cigars but, this time, they were discussing tentative Turkey Day plans.
"I was thinking about a warmer locale but, now that you have me thinking about it, being in New York and seeing the parade in person could be fun. Can we get dinner reservations at this late date?"
"I made a few calls, Denny. Reservations are still available at Aureole, Le Cirque, Gotham Bar and Grill and at least twenty other places that sound like somewhere we would want to go."
Denny growled, "Not Le Cirque! Thanksgiving is an American holiday and I want to eat American food! The Pilgrims didn't eat snails and neither will I! Denny Crane, American!"
Alan laughed, "Indeed! I'll make the reservations at someplace that is serving a traditional dinner, I promise."
Denny said, "Good," and called for Rodeo on the intercom. When his Major Domo came into the room, Denny announced, "Alan and I are going to New York for Thanksgiving and staying until Monday. Make sure the condo in the Dakota is prepared for our arrival the night before. We'll be eating out so staff doesn't need to be concerned about making a turkey dinner. Call Steve and inform him of our plans to fly."
Rodeo had been taking notes while Denny was giving instructions. He looked up and said, "If I may make a suggestion? Dave had requested time off so he could drive down to New York to visit his children for the holiday. They live on Long Island so; he could drive you to Manhattan and park the limo at his ex – wife's. He can pick you up anytime you want on Monday to make the drive back home."
Alan interjected, "That's a good idea; Steve will be able to spend the holiday with his family. That way, the entire Boston staff can have the long weekend; assuming of course, that you planned on giving the household staff here the time off since we'll be gone."
Denny nodded in agreement, "That sounds fine. Rodeo, tell Dave he'll be driving us to New York and inform the rest of the staff they will be off from Wednesday at noon through Sunday. I'm sure your wife will be relieved to hear she only has to cook for you that day."
Rodeo replied, "Actually, Denny, since you will be gone, I think I will take Olympia into Boston to stay at the Omni hotel and treat her to dinner at The Oak Room. We'll leave Wednesday evening after Maria and Luis leave; they had asked for time off to visit their daughter."
Denny grinned and looked at Alan. "It seems that our planning to leave town is the best thing that could have happened for the staff. Rodeo, you might as well tell Leon he has off, too, since there won't be anyone to guard. Have a good night."
"You too. Goodnight to you both."
Wednesday morning before Thanksgiving dawned as a beautiful sunny day. Alan and Denny got up at 7AM and had breakfast before Alan insisted Denny go back to bed and rest before they started their trip later in the day. When Denny woke up around 10, Alan was perched on the bed sipping coffee and watching television.
"Hey," Denny grunted as he sat up, "what's going on?"
Alan put his coffee mug on the nightstand. "Well," he began, "Dave drove Olympia and Rodeo into Boston, Maria and Luis have already gone and Leon was leaving as I was coming back upstairs."
"What? I said they could leave at noon!"
"I know you did, Denny but, everyone had basically finished what they needed to do and it didn't make sense to start something they couldn't finish before noon so, I told Rodeo to tell everyone they could leave even earlier. You don't mind, do you?"
Denny chuckled, "No, I don't mind. If they ever discover how soft you really are, we'll be paying ghost employees because they'll be getting you to let them go early all the time!"
"I doubt that seriously," Alan sniffed. Here's what you need to know, though: It's snowing in New York City. Rather hard."
Denny grabbed the remote and turned to the Weather Channel which was reporting that with an unanticipated drop in temperature, the rain that had been expected had now become an unexpected snowstorm that was not going to subside until early Thursday morning.
"It's gotten bad out there; Dave's ex called him to tell him don't even bother because there's already five inches where she lives and they're looking at six more inches, at least. He's going with Plan B: Spending Thanksgiving and the night with his girlfriend and her family, unless we're still planning to go to New York," Alan said.
Denny continued watching the screen as the weather reporter painted a dire picture for Thanksgiving Day in New York City; airports closing early, Amtrak going offline, everyone encouraged to stay indoors. There was even a strong possibility of the parade being cancelled, something that had not happened in years. He pointed to the screen with the remote and declared, "Maybe if my Mad Cow were still in effect, I would want to go still but, it's not and this Denny Crane says we are staying home."
The younger man smiled and nodded his approval of what Denny said. "So, should I make reservations in one of the hotels and restaurants in Boston? Dave can drop us off on his way to his girlfriend's."
Denny glanced back at the screen. "The only good thing I've heard about this storm is that it looks like it's going to miss us and hit western Massachusetts before heading up to Vermont. I prefer to stay home and given that you lived in hotels for years, I would think you would want to stay home, too."
"But Denny, we don't have the makings of a Thanksgiving dinner here. Remember? Olympia didn't go shopping before she left."
"So what? Where's your sense of adventure? We'll find something in the kitchen to eat and watch movies on TV. We can always have a turkey dinner later if we want."
"OK then." Alan looked out the bedroom window. "I see the car is back. I'll tell Dave we won't need him and he can go."
Thanksgiving evening found the Cranes sitting at the kitchen table with their meal in front of them. Earlier in the day, they had rummaged around in the pantry and the freezer and had found everything to make a fine holiday meal except a turkey. There were cans of corn, cranberry sauce and yams in the part of the pantry Olympia kept for the staff and Denny found a pack of chicken thighs and wings that he thawed out in the microwave. A bottle of wine sat open and breathing on the table.
"Who needs a New York City restaurant?" Denny said as he waved his hand expansively over the table, "This is a great meal and we did it ourselves! Denny and Alan Crane!"
Alan lifted his wine glass and said, "I have something to say to you. I am thankful for this past year; thankful that I married you and most of all; thankful the new medication is working. Denny, every day I see more and more the progress you are making. You were so brave to want to take a chance on it and I am so proud that I could convince the Supreme Court to let you have it. You are my best friend and I love you and…I'm glad things worked out the way they did. You and me alone in our home with the meal we made; well, the chicken you made and the veggies I heated. Happy Thanksgiving, Denny."
They clinked their glasses together and drank. Denny looked at Alan and said, "As usual, your speech was a little long but, you've managed to convince the jury. I love you, too. Happy Thanksgiving, my friend."
*refers to "Married for Real"
**refers to "Cathy"