Mobile sat down at her kitchen table the Wednesday morning before Turkey Day, and started making her oven schedule for Thanksgiving. When seemingly every side dish requires 45 minutes at 350 degrees, things get complicated. And especially since this celebration would be much larger than last year’s, obviously.
It was her turn to host, and several of her Alabama sister cities would be joining her. Montgomery would be coming, of course. She was fond of her younger sis, even though she constantly name-dropped the governor and state legislators she was hanging out with, as if anyone cares about those high-stepping turkeys, but Mobile figured every capital city must act the same way.
Tuscaloosa and Auburn would be there too, although they would have to leave right after lunch to get back to all of their pregame Iron Bowl festivities. Mo hoped they would keep the smack talk to a minimum this year. But Auburn has yet to make it a year without mentioning the infamous Updyke tree poisoning, and Tuscaloosa always loves to roll her eyes and say how “classy” it is to roll those trees in the first place. And, of course, just how Nick Saban is worth every penny of his $10 million-plus annual salary.
Huntsville was coming too, and Mo knew she would be getting on everyone’s nerves since the latest census data said she was now the largest city in the state, taking that distinction for the first time away from Birmingham, who would certainly be raw about it.
Huntsville had been putting “We’re number one!” everywhere since the news broke. I guess you couldn’t blame her. It was a pretty big deal.
Ironically, Birmingham was bringing several of the reasons for her “skrinkage,” along with her. Mountain Brook, Vestavia Hills and Homewood were tagging along to the festivities.
Even though Birmingham is still the largest metropolitan area in the state, these entitled little tony municipal hussies had been stealing population from within her city limits for years.
Mobile was certain the trio would all be decked out in hundreds of dollars of Lululemon athleisure wear, even though this was a nice Thanksgiving dinner, not a trip to the gym.
Mountain Brook was bringing a kale salad, “So at least there would be one thing healthy to eat,” she said. Eye roll. Of course, she was. But at least she wasn’t taking up time on Mo’s oven schedule, so she was thankful for that.
Mobile thought she should probably invite the Mobile City Council over to introduce them to the “Three Horsewomen of the Declining Population Apocalypse,” to show them what could happen to her if they did not do everything in their power to grow the city. Spanish Fort, Daphne and Fairhope had been doing their level best to steal citizens from her, but now Semmes and Saraland were in on it too. Mo felt attacked from literally almost every direction. Even Montgomery was bigger than her now. And that’s embarrassing.
Speaking of Montgomery, she was going to bring a Lane cake, because “her” Legislature, as if she owned the whole body, had voted it the “official dessert” of Alabama.
Sounds like some North Alabama crap, Mo thought. She considered making a king cake to “Gulf Coast” the festivities up some more, but remembered it was bad luck to eat it before Twelfth Night in January. Hmmmm. Eating it is bad luck, but, she wondered, is serving it? I mean, not that she would want anything bad to happen to them. Muhahahahaha. Well, nothing really bad. Just like stealing all of their potential economic development projects, kind of bad.
That’s the kind of evil municipalities deal in, but she thought karma may get her so she just ordered a pecan pie from Three Georges and a chocolate Doberge cake from Pollman’s, which the 319-year-old city had just learned to spell correctly — she had always thought it was “Dobash.” Live a few centuries and learn, she thought. Either way, certainly those would be better than a Lane cake, whatever that is.
Mo looked down at the table and under all of her recipes and oven schedule, she saw a beautiful hand-painted map of the state, depicting some of each city’s best features. She, of course, had a Mardi Gras float and an azalea. Birmingham had the Vulcan and Montgomery had the capitol dome. Huntsville had a rocket ship. Tuscaloosa and Auburn had lovely images of their universities.
Though she could be catty about her state sisters, as they could about her, she truly loved them. And was so proud of them and the cool things that made them all so cool and unique. And she knew they felt the same about her. Well, she hoped they did.
When you come from a state like Alabama, which is a favorite punching bag for almost everyone else in the entire country, you have to stick together. And they had indeed always had each other’s backs.
Even if they can be annoying, braggadocious, embarrassing, outspoken, condescending, boring, micromanaging, know-it-all, insecure, drunken, redneck narcissists, they are still family.
And really, that’s all that matters.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
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