November 22, 1997 in Features

Thanksgiving Bliss Is Only One Memo Away

Jim Kershner The Spokesman-Revi

To: Family

From: Thanksgiving Team Leader

The following memo contains your Thanksgiving instructions for this year. Don’t lose it.

We have implemented new rules intended to correct the unfortunate incidents of the last few Thanksgivings, especially the 1996 incident which resulted in those very costly trips “downtown.” I think if we all follow these simple guidelines we can get along at least as well as the Pilgrims and the Indians, although of course they eventually massacred each other.

Menu - We should be wary of introducing fancy new dishes into this most traditional of holidays, especially fancy new dishes that are toxic. Yes, I am aware that Aunt Emily’s eyes aren’t as good as they used to be, and that she mistook the Mr. Yuk sticker for the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. I am also aware that nobody actually ate any of the Drano, but that was merely because nobody wanted to eat Jelloed Broccoli Fruity Nips, especially Jelloed Broccoli Fruity Nips that seemed to be foaming. This merely reinforces my main point: The traditional menu of turkey, potatoes, stuffing and cranberries has withstood the test of time, and boasts an excellent survival rate.

Turkey - We should purchase, at an actual store, a standard turkey brand available commercially. We want to avoid the situation last year in which Uncle Willard brought his own wild turkey which he had personally shot. Not only did we spend a great deal of time picking pellets out of the meat, but the turkey turned out to be, in fact, a very large crow.

Dinner conversation topics - Common sense dictates that we ban the subjects of politics and religion. Last year’s experience dictates that we should also ban highly personal topics, such as Uncle Willard’s paternity suit.

Alcohol - Here we are striking right at the heart of last year’s problems. I propose several sweeping guidelines, as follows: No drinking before 10 a.m. No open liquor containers in the kitchen. No kegs in the TV room. When Aunt Emily asks for a third helping of wild turkey, make sure she doesn’t mean Wild Turkey.

Gender roles - Conflicting notions of gender roles contributed significantly to our problems last year, and I believe it was the direct cause of what we now call “The Kitchen Brawl.” Here are this year’s guidelines: Both men and women will assist in the cooking and cleaning up. The women are never to be referred to as “the kitchen slaves.”

Television - We will no longer tolerate bitter factional disputes on this issue. The football faction cannot lock the Macy’s Parade faction out of the TV room. Nor can the Parade faction use weaponry to force its way in, surround the TV and seize the remote, resulting in a scuffle, several injuries and the complete loss of the TV set which someone, and I am not accusing either side, tossed through a window. This year, Thanksgiving will be a No TV day, a decision made easier by the fact that we still have no TV.

Family flag-football game - In order to keep this family tradition alive, it is necessary to impose a few common-sense rules: No tackling. No foreign objects. No “grabbing the face mask,” since we have no face masks and last year this resulted in somebody being hauled down by the nostrils. No sack dances when the person you just sacked is your 4-year-old daughter.

The traditional after-dinner “card game” - Of all of the rules, this is the most painful. I have many happy memories of playing cards far into the night, laughing, joking, enjoying each other’s company. However, Uncle Willard ruined it for everyone last year when he absurdly accused Aunt Emily of cheating. She can barely see her own cards, much less anyone else’s. But then Aunt Emily escalated the situation by pulling the handgun, which caused everyone to hit the deck, resulting in several lacerations requiring stitches. The gunshot itself did no harm since Aunt Emily’s eyesight misled her once again and she pumped four bullets into Uncle Willard’s crow. Still, do we need this kind of bad sportsmanship? In a game of Go Fish?

One final reminder - This kind of behavior is bad enough any day, but especially on a beloved holiday. Many bail bondsmen take the holiday off, and I speak for Aunt Emily and the entire family when I say that none of us want to spend Thanksgiving night in the slammer again.

, DataTimes The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Jim Kershner The Spokesman-Review

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