GALLOPIN’ GRANDMA: Did anyone see a turkey go by?

By on November 25, 2014

112614grandma.leadJackson Hole, Wyoming – The Day of the Turkey is here and the Butterball hotline ladies are on full alert. Ben Franklin wanted the turkey to be our national symbol, but rational minds prevailed and now we just eat them instead of waving them around on a flag.

It appears that all those stories we learned in grade school about the Pilgrims sailing over on the Mayflower, hopping out on Plymouth Rock and making friends with the Indians might not have been exactly as advertised. Since the Pilgrims were English, they were most likely inept, and some Indians did help them out although they weren’t thrilled about strangers in weird clothes showing up in the neighborhood.

Anyway, after a year there was some form of Thanksgiving dinner but not quite like the one we recreated in Sunday school. To begin with, it was probably in September or October; putting it off to November would result in cold weather and the possibility of getting hung up at the Chicago airport.

Apparently there was lots of food at the dinner — they had turkey and the Indians brought venison. Someone had learned to make beer, which might shine a new light on the festivities. Forget all those Rockwell paintings of pious Pilgrims sitting around the table with folded hands. Sorry, Norman, but no one had a table or extra chairs and worst of all, the fork had not been invented. So everyone ate with his or her hands. This opens up a wonderful opportunity for a food fight with the dinner guests throwing handfuls of mashed potatoes and those yams with the little marshmallows at each other.

My husband loves Thanksgiving. Of course he does, he doesn’t do any of the work. I don’t see him with his arm up to the armpit inside a 25-pound, half-frozen dead turkey digging out that bag of guts. He’s not mashing potatoes, running back and forth to the store, trying to keep the cat and dog off the table and looking for enough chairs to seat all the guests he has invited. Most of these are relatives you wouldn’t normally let in the front door.

When all are seated, except for me, there will be an attempt to say grace while the kids are trying to stab each other with their forks, which have now been invented. After that begins the Thanksgiving liturgy, which should be in a prayer book:

“I can’t eat this. I hate white meat. Are these real mashed potatoes? Is this canned gravy? We’re vegans. (So is the turkey, so just deal with it.) Is this turkey organic? We’re locavores and only eat local. Why do the cranberries jiggle? (Because I think cranberries should be round and shiny and shaped like a can.)”

When dessert is served, a final word is said.

By this time the dog is eating off someone’s plate and everyone has stampeded out the door to go to the mall where they will fight other shoppers for junk they wouldn’t think of buying at any other time of the year.

I’d really like to sit down, but my legs are swollen from standing for 24 hours and they won’t bend. Perhaps gravity will take over and I will fall on the floor and roll under the table. It’s nice under the table, but I’m not alone. There’s a turkey under here, as well as Mrs. Smith and the Butterball hotline ladies. It’s cozy here, and no one will ever find us, and for that we are thankful.

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