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Inspirational Reads

Turkey Day Redux: Boobs, Birds, and Letting My Joy Out

November 30, 2009

As reported here on these electronic media Saturday, I safely traveled to and returned from the great state of Tennessee, and in case you didn't read it on Saturday, Tennessee truly is a great state. Minus Bruce Pearl. I kid, I kid. Sort of.

Anyway, I have much to tell, much to tell indeed! So, I've broken it up into compartmentalized story form. Because I'm lazy like that. And because otherwise the post would probably be really effing big if I didn't do that.

Let's start with the meal, shall we? Or, the rather spare offerings otherwise mistaken for "Thanksgiving Dinner." While my greatest hopes were achieved in that I could fall asleep in front of watch the Packers game Thursday at noon, I was getting hungry toward the end of the game. Fortunately, in the middle of the fourth quarter, when the game was pretty much finished, anyway, the dinner bell was rung.

I would have happily slept longer watched the rest of the game if it meant having more food.

Being the loving and caring father that I am, I stood up to get my kids their plates first. Knowing that they both love mashed potatoes (because, really, who doesn't love mashed potatoes?), I went straight for the potatoes, expecting to find some massive, heaping amount of deliciously boiled and creamily-whipped spuds. Instead, what I found was a meager pile of gunpowder spuds that had no pepper, no butter, no chives, no milk, no flavor and nothing really to make me think "mashed potatoes". And, considering there were 20 other people who would also want some potato flakes mashed potatoes, I served up a teaspoon of mashed potatoes for my child (I think I had Cookie's plate). Other "side" dishes suffered from a similar paucity. Again, small spoonfuls of everything was served up. With this, it was time to get to the meat of the meal--the meat! All morning, my wife's cousins and my brother-in-law had been manning the turkey fryer, so I was looking forward to some sumptuous turkey as well as the afore-promised Honey-Baked Ham.

Sadly, I got to the meat platters and found that the turkeys (well, the ones that were done, at least) had been carved with the delicacy and precision of an amphetamine-fueled axe-murderer. Picking through and getting some smaller portions that, you know, someone other than T. rex would eat, I turned to the ham.

Have I mentioned how much I love ham? This is a genetic thing, because my children both love ham, too. No, wait. There's no ham-loving gene. We love ham because it's so fucking delicious!!!

As I said to my wife later, when it was just the two of us: "Who the fuck serves a cold ham? We could have gone down the street to the grocer and gotten some cold cuts. Isn't the whole point of having a Honey-Baked Ham is that it is fucking baked???"

Mmmm...butchered bland turkey and cold ham. Two strikes and you're out, right?

I figured I could make up for the lack of everything else with rolls. Unfortunately, someone had planned ahead really well, and cooked 16 rolls. For 21 people. Like so many other aspects of the dinner, it could all be summed up fairly easily: Swing and a miss.

Fall on Me:
Around the "dinner" table, conversations were shared, but mostly about people I didn't know. Being that my wife and her siblings and her sister's husband all went to the same high school, they knew the same people. At one point, we were talking about running, and about how it's difficult for women to run (you know, 'cause they got boobs). Suddenly, the name Erin Hill was brought up (I think that's the name...I got distracted during the telling of the I will recount shortly).

Apparently, Ms. Erin literally hit herself in the face once during gym class. It was at this point that I took my wife's arm in my hands and said, "You have my attention. Do go on." Ms. Erin was not one to do things half-assed, from what I can gather, and when she went through puberty, she really went through puberty, erupting forth with lovely, heavy Double-E cup breasts on her somewhat slight frame.

My sister-in-law then informed everyone that Ms. Erin's large breasts caused her some troubles and really "screwed up her back". My mother-in-law then interjected that, no, her back got messed up when she was in a bus accident and they had to go in and do surgery.

The table fell silent for a moment and I added, just loud enough for everyone to hear, "Well, hell, they probably saved her life!"

Comedy: it's all in the timing.

King of Comedy:
My brother-in-law (my wife's brother), is perhaps the one person in the family most like me in terms of sense of humor (though my mother-in-law does have a very twisted sense of humor...she just feels bad about laughing at poop jokes and Carny folks). Many of my brother-in-law's friends rely strictly on shock value for their jokes. During the "meal", my BIL got a text message from his friend Marcello that my BIL had to read to the family: "Ha, Marcello says that he just clogged up his in-laws' toilet!"

"What the hell," I added to the end. "Doesn't he realize that you have to break up the fleet before jumping to hyperspace?"

People laughed, but as the words were finally sinking into my mother-in-law, she laughed the loudest and the hardest. So, I successfully offered up the two best lines of the entire weekend.

One of the major problems of the entire holiday was that there were 21 people in the house and two dogs. This, in and of itself, should not have been a problem. However, it was a problem when the only seating is a loveseat, a recliner, a rickety rocking chair, two barstools and two other straight-backed chairs.

As such, I spent most of the holiday downstairs, in the basement, on the couch. I sat there. I read there. I worked on the laptop down there. I slept there. Pretty much, by the time Friday afternoon rolled around, I had worked a pretty good ass-groove into the couch. Awesome.

Orange Crush:
I didn't think it was possible to ruin French toast. I mean, it's pretty simple: soak it in an egg-and-milk mixture, sprinkled heavily with cinnamon and nutmeg, cook. Serve with syrup.

My sister-in-law, who enjoys nothing more than making others feel bad, brought a bunch of breakfast casseroles for Thursday and Friday. Thursday was a bunch of quiches, which were tolerable. I'm not a big egg fan, for reasons that I won't broach here (think biochemistry lab, if you must have some form of explanation), but the food was free and I could have a couple of slabs of it to tide me over for the rather sparse offerings for Thursday afternoon.

Friday was this French Toast Casserole thing. And, while I like French Toast, I don't like it with orange zest. Nor do I like it without cinnamon and nutmeg flavorings. I like it even less with caramel sundae sauce spread on top of it. However, since I was trying to be polite, I choked down my initial two pieces. With it, I ate a single piece of bacon and a single sausage patty. Talk about being made a sad panda...

Imagine my distress when my father-in-law loaded two more slabs of French Toast Casserole onto my plate. I suppose his heart was in the right place, but... Since I was severely lacking in the whole breakfast meat department, I went ahead and ate them. They laid in my stomach like rocks. Bland, chewy rocks. Bland, chewy, there's orange flavoring in here where citrus overtones should not be rocks.

Fortunately, I was able to steal a single sausage patty off the plate headed toward the dog's bowl before it got there.

Shiny Happy People:
My sister-in-law is a very religious person.

When, you know, she's not making fun of Mexicans.

I digress. My sister-in-law is a very religious person.

She has foisted the great love of Jesus, Mary, Joseph, the Holy Spirit, Saint Wenceslas, the Holy Sepulcher and transubstantiation onto her oldest child. Well, it's both of her children, but her oldest seems to be the one who suffers has responded to it the most. Pretty much from the moment we got there until we left, it was one long, constant stream of things that are happening in her church. If it wasn't what was happening in the church, it was what her friend Lisa was doing...Lisa, whom she met at the church!

It came to the point where my wife and I are going to make a drinking game out of it the next time we're around her.

Possibly the most annoying thing (other than making her children say prayers when they are being punished...) was that, whenever one of the girls would be angry or frustrated or anything else that might be construed as negative in any way, my sister-in-law would command them to "Let your joy out."

Can't do a cartwheel? Let your joy out. Can't play with a toy because someone else is playing with it? Let your joy out. Not enough mashed potatoes on the buffet table? Joy, it's what's being let out.

So now I'm torn. I don't know what to do. If I'm ever told to "let my joy out", should I drop trou or just bust ass really loudly? I'm leaning toward the latter, and then sighing heavily and saying, "You're right, I do feel better." And then, if I can, to release a little trouser sneeze as a follow up and toss in "Oop, a little more joy for you all."

And then leave the room.

Sweetness Follows:
My fear about the pies was relieved a little bit when my mother-in-law showed up with four pies. That upped the pie:person ratio quite a bit. Unfortunately, there were now two pecan pies floating around the place.

This did not make me want to let my joy out.

However, there was enough pie for everyone. It was the, uh, getting of the pie that was most troublesome.

No one cut the pies.

Instead, I was handed a pie server and told to hack off a piece of whatever I wanted. I wish I was lying. It was so that you could sample all of the pies. Personally, I don't see why I couldn't just take a pie back to the corner that I was standing in (remember, seating was very limited) and just go to town.

My joy would have been released then.

Instead, there was a mad rush and a fight for the serving utensils. Pies were carved up in any manner which suited the last person at the pie pan. My OCD tendencies were not amused by this ignorance of proper pie protocol. Hysteria rocked the masses. The sun looked as though sackcloth had been drawn across it and the moon was the color of blood! A dragon with thirteen heads appeared! Lightning! Thunder! Office supplies! The Apocalypse!!!

I will say, though, that my wife's pie was the tastiest. So was the sweet potato/marshmallow cream pie that she made.


mo.stoneskin said...

A lack of protocol, in any situation, is maddening. When we rule the world protocol will be enforced and violators will be punished.

Sadly the masses are often overcome by hysteria.

Adam L. said...

Considering I ended up catching what can only be called a "organic chemistry area-wide pandemic virus", and didn't even EAT on Thanksgiving, you should be happy that you got to eat anything at all, whether or not it was slim pickings.

On the other hand, 16 rolls? What the crap?

Travis said...

This is the second post I've read today in which a picture of the four horsemen have been revealed.

End times much?


Heather said...

Very sad someone murdered the Turkey. Cold ham? WTF?

Sorry you didn't get to enjoy a feast, like you wanted.

At least you got to get in some good lines!

Bev said...

The good news is that this whole debacle is BLOGGING GOLD! Hilarious, Jenks. Truly.

That whole scene would have driven me NUTS. Crazy, I tell you! Potato flakes and cold meat?! That nauseating breakfast casserole! ::shudder:: Don't even get me started on the pie situation, which would have set my eyelid to twitching.

Yes, I like protocol. I like manners. I hate crowds and limited seating. Sue me.

Joshua said...

That's the second reference to the Horsemen today. I must have missed the memo. If you were in Tennessee you should have driven a few more hours to North Atlanta for food at my place. 16 pounds of Turkey for 4.5 meat eaters (the .5 is for the 2-y.o.; we had 6 adults, one toddler, one infant; people didn't show; bastards), 5 pounds of mashed potatoes, 4 pies neatly sliced (thank you, OCD), and on and on. Plus, plenty of seating.Sorry yours was a bust.


Elliott said...

Really? 16 rolls? That more than explains the '3 rolls' comment you made this morning.

And now I'll have to buy marshmallow fluff to go with my sweet potato pie, thanks for further enabling my co-dependent fatness.

Potato flakes remind me of my grandmother, but actually serving them to human beings is wrong.

But Bev's right (as usual), BLOGGING GOLD.

Amber Tidd Murphy said...

orange zest ruins everything. kind of like a twist of lemon or lime in a drink.

only snooty people order that.

tennessee is a great state. i thoroughly enjoyed watching their football team beat kentucky this weekend for the 25th time in a row.

which brings me too my next question: why were ALL the football games which aired on thanksgiving absolute crapshoots?

LiLu said...

"Letting My Joy Out"



BeckEye said...

I think I would have enjoyed this post more if it were about Boobs, Joy, and Letting Your Bird Out.

Wonderful said...

At least you survived the weekend. The french toast thing sounds nasty and I would've laughed at "let the joy out" comments and snuck in large amounts of booze.

adrienzgirl said...

There is no joy to be let out when one serves boxed flakes for mashed potatoes. Really. Who fucking does that?

It's Thanksgiving for the love of Christ. Go the extra mile. Peel the fucking taters!

Kari said...

"Doesn't he realize that you have to break up the fleet before jumping to hyperspace?"

Well played, sir.

JennyMac said...

ham-loving gene? Sad panda? And a religious make me regret unplugging from blog land over the holiday. Must catch up on your sassiness.

And yes, french toast is perfected by cinnamon and nutmeg. Have you made it with brioche? Takes it to a new level.

Scope said...

Well, can you fart a tune and say it's "Odor to Joy"?

Nej said...

Your post just took me back in a very similar thanksgiving, with inlaws. 6 people, 5 pieces of asparagus, 4 rolls, a cereal bowl of mashed potatoes....but, there WAS plenty of ham. Thank goodness!

(cold ham? I shuddered when I read that!)

Then, the next morning for breakfast, she (ex-SIL) asked if we wanted french toast, we both said yes. We (the two of us) got one piece of french toast. One. And not the french toast I know, where you dip the bread in a milk/egg/spices mixture. Nope, this was bread dipped in egg and fried....with a cook egg sitting on top. Maybe it's the way the French do it, I can only assume...but we were in Chicago!!!!

Hot dogs for lunch? DOG for lunch. One hot dog, Mot and I.

They were not lacking in the funds department (if that was the case, I wouldn't have minded - much). The lady was just a wackjob. :-)