My favorite Thanksgivings memories are the ones where some disaster happened that made for better entertainment than what we had planned.
My mother and her three sisters rotated the hosting of Thanksgiving every year. One year, my mother cooked a turkey that was given to us by my father’s employer. It was in the oven for hours but wouldn’t brown. It just looked sunburned. Everyone was afraid of it, and my mother said it wasn’t safe to eat, so she sent my father out for KFC. No one minded because of the immense relief that there was someplace open on Thanksgiving where you could buy safe-to-consume poultry.
Whenever it was Aunt Ki’s turn to host, she and Uncle Verne set up tables in their neat-as-a-pin little basement because they had no formal dining room and their kitchen was smaller than the trunk of a Volkswagen Beetle. That meant that everything needed for dinner that day had to be traipsed up and down the basement stairs.
I won’t name names, but one year one of us was handed a full gravy boat by someone who obviously wasn’t thinking. This person slipped at the top of the basement stairs and executed an epic pratfall, punctuated by rapid-fire bumpity-bumps as her backside connected with every single uncarpeted wooden step. All the way down, this person kept her eyes trained on the gravy boat – and by some miracle, she didn’t spill a drop.
Remember, I’m not naming names.
Years later, someone was hosting her first Thanksgiving for her new husband and his five – yes, five – children. As she carried a pumpkin pie to the dining-room table where her little/big family had gathered, she fumbled it, and the pie took off like a Frisbee at a dog park. She managed to catch it, but she caught it the same way a percussionist bangs handheld cymbals. The pie was smashed between her hands with chunks of it tumbling down her arms and onto the floor. There was a moment of silence as six sets of eyes got huge around the table. Then one of the kids laughed, setting off a chain reaction of howls so delightful that the new wife and stepmother wanted to kiss them all because she was so relieved.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.