Enjoy this photo of pumpkin pie. I don't even like pumpkin pie. Which reminds me - have you linked up to my "Fifty Things" post with your own yet? Hmmmm?
If you're an American, you've probably been salivating over the thought of Thanksgiving dinner for, like, weeks now. You may even dream about it. You're probably going over and over the menu in your head and washing up your best huge T-shirt and yoga pants and willing the time to just hurry up so you can pig out already!*
*Or that may just be me.
Anyway, I'm thankful for a lot of stuff, this and every year. The usual: my family, my home, my health, and everything that everybody who has that stuff is thankful for. But also for other things: days when I don't feel bloated, good traffic flow in the school drop-off lane, frozen hot chocolates from Dairy Queen. Oh, and farts that don't stink when you accidentally let them rip in a crowd. Don't pretend that doesn't happen to you ... or that you aren't secretly relieved when it does.
I've been blessed to have experienced a bunch of really good Thanksgivings in my lifetime. But today I want to tell you a funny story of the one Thanksgiving that was less-than-stellar.
One of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving, when I lived at home, was waking up to the smell of turkey. My mom would get up at the crack of dawn (in the same way I do now, carrying on the tradition of stumbling bleary-eyed into the kitchen and hoping for enough coherency to properly start the bird) and put the turkey in the oven, and by the time I got out of bed, the house would smell like deliciousness. I'd make my way into the living room and turn on the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and just inhale the turkey aroma like a fiend. Bliss.
But the morning of my tenth Thanksgiving, I opened my eyes and immediately noticed that something was wrong. I didn't smell turkey. The house was quiet.
I went into my mom's room. There she was, still in bed. My mom literally NEVER slept in, so this came as a total shock.
Then I noticed the trash can beside her bed. The tepid glass of water on the nightstand. The rumpled Kleenexes. She was sick.
"Mom?" I whispered. "What's wrong?"
"Arggghrbrrbbbrr," she mumbled, and heaved miserably into the wastebasket.
It was just Mom and I living in our small apartment. My parents had just gotten divorced, and my siblings were all old enough to have moved out of the house. But our extended family was close, and we were expecting tons of people over for Thanksgiving dinner. I felt vaguely responsible for saving the day, but couldn't fry an egg, let alone cook a turkey - so I did what any kid would do. I called Grandma.
"Don't worry!" Grandma said confidently. "Aunt Eve and I will be right over to take care of things!"
In what seemed like a really long time, probably because they drove fifteen miles per hour, my Grandma and my great-aunt Eva showed up. They were both - well, old. They shuffled around the kitchen, banging pots and pans, trying to locate things, in an old-lady hurry to get the turkey put into the oven. By the time they got it in, it was like ten o'clock. Much later than it normally would have been put in the oven. But at least it was in.
People started to filter into the house at about eleven. My poor mother was sequestered in the back room as the family gathered for the Thanksgiving feast. Side dishes started to fill the counter. Within a couple of hours, everything was starting to get unappealingly cold as we waited on the turkey to finish roasting.
Only there was one problem. "Grandma, why don't I smell turkey?" I asked.
A muttered consensus rippled throughout the room. Yes, shouldn't we be smelling it by now? What's the deal?
When roasting a turkey, you have to get several things right: the right pan. The right seasonings. And? You have to turn the oven on. A small detail, yet arguably the most important, that the old ladies had overlooked.
Yep, we had a raw turkey in a cold oven.
Thank goodness KFC was open on Thanksgiving. We ended up with a couple of buckets of fried chicken and some Thanksgiving side dishes that had been sitting out, like, all day. My mom ended up having to go to the emergency room. And the turkey? I think it got thrown away. We didn't all want to end up with food poisoning.
Here's to having a great Thanksgiving for all those who are celebrating! Don't forget to turn your oven on!
PS - Hungry for another heaping helping of turkey-day goodness? Check out this Thanksgiving throwback ... a poem I wrote about the things I'm thankful for. If you're a parent, you will relate!