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is a day that always goes as planned. The meal is prepared and the
family sits down and eats, engages in cheerful banter and everyone goes
home fulfilled. Each family member gets along with one another and
everything is wonderful. Not always.
For some reason,
Thanksgiving is the perfect time for the unexpected, the un-scheduled
and the unbelievable to happen. Thanksgiving is the stuff (or stuffing)
television shows are made of.
Here is "Season 1 of Thanksgiving, the sitcom." All of these stories are true, and happened to some of my Somerville friends.
I remember growing up with a thawing turkey in the tub. I would go to
brush my teeth only to find a giant frozen turkey in the tub! This went
on every year, and I was always oddly amused by it.
- Back in
the day, because your refrigerator only held so much, you would store
some of the Thanksgiving items in the back hall or on the back porch.
One year we had an unseasonably warm week, causing the neighbors' apple
cider to turn.
- We bought a fresh turkey from a specialty store
- well at about 3 o'clock on Thanksgiving morning, we got a phone call
from the store that the turkeys were bad. I asked how we could tell,
and they said when you open it, it will smell like rotten eggs. So we
went to the kitchen and opened it and the STENCH could have knocked you
out. Luckily this store opened up on Thanksgiving morning and replaced
the turkeys for all its customers and our dinner was saved.
One year we had a house full of dinner guests and my husband had
sharpened the knives before carving because he wanted to look like the
TV shows where you see the husband carve perfectly even pieces at the
beautiful dining room table...well the knife was certainly very sharp
when it slipped and sliced his finger. Embarrassed and intent on not
ruining everyone's else's day, he wrapped his finger in paper towels
and went to the emergency room. When he got there were five other men
sitting there with their fingers wrapped in paper towels.
folks didn't know the turkey was still frozen until they went to put it
in the oven. All hell broke loose between my mother and father. The
grocery stores were all closed and we couldn't even find a pound of
hamburger. We searched through all the kitchen shelves only to come up
with a canned ham. Moral of the story: always keep a canned ham on hand
as a backup plan.
- My family has a few horror stories. The exploding chestnuts is my favorite.
I remember more than a few Thanksgivings at my house where you (Jimmy)
would fall asleep on the couch for an hour with a full glass of beer
and never spill a drop!
- One year at my in-laws we all sat down
for this great meal that my father in-law made. First he carved the
bird in the kitchen and started to bring the rest of the food into the
dining room. He stopped to talk to us and we heard a crash. Running
into the kitchen we found that the dog had pulled the turkey off the
table and was eating it!
- We were at my in-laws house for a few
hours getting things ready when someone mentioned there was no turkey
smell. Mom-in-law forgot to turn on the oven. Dinner was served around
- How about having to dress up like a bleeping Pilgrim to
twirl a baton at the Thanksgiving Day game? Complete with pilgrim hat?
Doesn't get much more humiliating than that.
- Living in an
apartment in Somerville many years ago, we didn't know the oven had a
timer, as I had never cooked anything in the oven longer than 1 hour.
About 3 hours after putting turkey in oven, I went to check on it, only
to find the timer had shut the oven off...good thing us Italians always
have a pasta meal along with turkey. We had lasagna for Thanksgiving
dinner with mashed potatoes, squash, sweet potatoes, peas and cranberry
sauce. File that one under "Ciao down!"
- We had ham and turkey
one year. My brother cooked the ham and brought it with him. As the day
wore on and the ham grew smaller and smaller we discovered a few tree
leaves on the bottom. Turns out dear brother placed the ham in the pan
on the railing on his porch. It fell into a bed of leaves. He picked it
up, put it back in the pan and obviously did NOT check to see if there
were any leaves on it. We joked and said the maple leaves flavored the
- We had an old tomcat named Sam who liked to hunt
sparrows. Well, one Thanksgiving Sam decided to join us. The back door
was open to let some of the heat out of the kitchen, and in comes Sam
through a hole in the screen door with his own bird! I can still
remember my mother yelling: "Get that G.D. cat out of the kitchen!"
- A friend of mine told me that her uncle got mad and tossed the turkey off the third floor porch.
hope nothing like that happens this year. Alcoholic beverages + waiting
for food to be served + in-laws + being in a hot, noisy, crowded house
for hours = a dampening of some people's festive mood. Let's hope
everyone's feast can be a happy episode of Thanksgiving, the sitcom.
to those of you who shared your Thanksgiving memories with me. So this
Thanksgiving, we will loosen our belts, watch football and fall asleep
in front of the TV - creating a chorus of snoring. Some of us men will
probably also do that! If I was one of those guys, I would usually wake
up grumpy and thirsty, but still thankful. I am thankful for the
memories of those Thanksgiving Days gone by, and grateful for the ones
we are lucky enough to enjoying this year.
I will return to
Amelia's kitchen in Teele Square on Thursday, Dec 3rd for music,
macaroni and mayhem. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!