The Ashland Beacon
Thanksgiving is such a wonderful holiday. It is a time for us to gather with our families and reflect on what we are most thankful for. In a perfect world Thanksgiving dinner would go off without a hitch and everything would turn out just right. But we don’t live in a perfect world and if something is going to go wrong, it tends to happen when we really don’t want it to. But, that’s what makes life such a wonderful and intriguing experience. It is the times that things seem to go awry that are often the times that stand out in our memories the most. Let’s face it: when we are getting the entire family together there is bound to be something hilarious happen. For my family this seemed to be a normal occurrence year after year. There was always some dramatic event that would leave us all in laughter. However, one particular Thanksgiving Day will forever stand out in my mind.
When I was around five years old, I remember watching my grandmother frantically run around the kitchen preparing our annual Thanksgiving feast. I was always trying to help out, but most of the time I would just be in the way. However, that never stopped my grandmother from trying to include me… even if that meant telling me that she needed me to go cook my own Thanksgiving feast, so she didn’t have to cook so much. So, that’s exactly what I did. I went to my “kitchen” in my bedroom and began preparing my own dinner. Then it hit me! What if I could make both dinners so much better by combining them?
I quickly grabbed my plastic toy turkey, fake stuffing, and a fake ear of corn and ran to my grandmother’s kitchen. While she wasn’t looking, I decided that the best way for me to accomplish this goal of combining our dinners was to stuff my “food” into the actual turkey. So that’s what I did. I shoved all three as far back into the turkey as I possibly could. Shortly after my grandmother stuffed the turkey with her famous homemade stuffing and popped it into the oven. I was so proud of myself because I just knew that this was going to be the most unforgettable Thanksgiving Day dinner ever. I mean, how could it not be? Here you had my perfectly prepared plastic dishes added to my grandmother’s already perfect stuffing. I just knew it had to be a winning combination. Hours passed and it felt like days. Finally, the time had come to set the table. We all took our places around the tables. It was customary for the adults to sit at the big table and the children would sit at their own table off to the side.
Shortly after grace had been said, it wasn’t too long before everyone discovered my “added” ingredients. As the stuffing was being distributed it was mixed with hardened stringy colors of brown, yellow and orange. It also had a smell coming from it that was quite awful and one that I will never forget. I was so excited to let everyone know that I was the reason the stuffing looked so “good” this year. However, that excitement was short lived once my grandmother along with everyone else at the table deemed our beloved turkey in-edible. I was so upset that they didn’t share in my excitement. My only response to them was, “how rude!” To add insult to injury, it was later discovered that one of my aunts’ earrings had fallen off into the mashed potatoes during the preparation stage. It was unfortunate that one of my cousins who had a loose tooth was the one that found it. But on the bright side, he did get a visit from the tooth fairy that night.
That was one of my most favorite Thanksgiving memories I had as a child. It was one of the few times that we were all together. After getting married and having kids of my own, I began cooking my own dinner for my family. It was clear after our first Thanksgiving that I was keeping the tradition of hilarious holiday mishaps alive. The first turkey I ever cooked, much like my grandmothers, turned out to be in-edible. Of course just like that Thanksgiving day when I was five, the extent of my mishaps wasn’t discovered until the table had been set and we began to serve the food.
You see… in the middle of preparing my mashed potatoes I realized that I had forgotten to buy milk and we didn’t have any in the fridge or any cream I could substitute it with. Well, one of my “bright ideas” came to mind and I decided that since I had all this baby formula on hand that I could just use that in place of the milk. So I quickly went to work mixing in my “milk,” butter, salt and pepper. About the time that I had finished that, the oven bell went off. The turkey was done! I began setting the table. Once I uncovered the turkey I realized it had an absolutely disgusting smell coming from it. It didn’t take long for us to find out why.
I had unknowingly left everything inside the turkey. Yup… that’s right! I left the bag of giblets, heart, liver, gizzard and neck inside the turkey. The bag that held the everything had melted and fused to the turkey and produced the most horrid of smells. Needless to say, that turkey was quickly trashed. Thankfully I had cooked a small ham and we had all the other great side dishes, which included my mashed potatoes. I was the first person to take a bite of the mashed potatoes prepared with Similac baby formula. I was also the last because the potatoes quickly joined the turkey in the trash can.
So here I am with a turkey that was trashed and now the mash potatoes that could not be eaten. Again, to add insult to injury, I then discovered that the ham had not cooked all the way through and was cold in the middle. At this point I was done. I was devastated. All the sudden my husband started laughing hysterically. It was at that point that I realized that even though our first Thanksgiving seemed to be ruined in my mind, it would in fact be a day that we would talk about for years to come. I may have not created the best Thanksgiving Day feast on that day but what I did create was far more substantial. I created memories that I will cherish for a lifetime.