Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving, You Turkey!

I hope everybody is having a great Thanksgiving.  By definition, we keep this day in acknowledgement that we cannot do it all by ourselves and sometimes we need some help.  Or in cases such as myself, a whole mess of help. 

So thank you, dear reader. 

In a couple of hours I'll be heading down the road to see my family in Illinois.  I enjoy the trip so much more now since I discovered a way to completely avoid Freeport. 

For those who are not from my neck of the woods, Freeport is the wormy, festering bunghole of Illinois.  It's a place for drunks, addicts, thieves, whores, grifters, cons, winos, and the insane.  Avoiding this town is always preferred. 

But now that I have a better way home, I'm much happier, and safer. 

Thanksgiving always reminds me of a slew of good memories.  Sure, there are some bad ones, too.  My family always did enjoy drinking.  But I'm reminded of some of my favorites. 

There are moments we cling to and wish we could translate them for others.  For me, it was always about the food, sure.  But also seeing family I hadn't seen in years.  I come from a family of people who weren't always rich or flush with cash, but would save their money all year just so they could afford to come home on Thanksgiving or Christmas.  It was important. 

This was my mom's side of the family.  The Irish Catholics.  

I remember playing a lot of pinochle--the official card game of my family.  Deer Grove Rules, so there was a double deck and sometimes a triple deck.  Just to shuffle you had to use a bushel basket and a stick. 

And then there was my cousin and I playing Nintendo.  Or watching the MST3K marathons on Comedy Central.  He was always like a little brother to me so we had some great times. 

Once my sister got bored and started a game of Dragon Warrior.  

That game lasted for months.  Every holiday, we played some more.  She was pissed because it was her game, but seriously, it was a lot of fun.  We all played a whole bunch of that game.  One game lasted well into the Spring.  The adults loved it because we were out of their hair. 

I remember my Uncle Chuck getting some great Hungarian sausage in a suburb of Chicago and using that to stuff the turkey.  He was Hungarian himself and knew some of the best places to find that sort of thing. 

There were some amazing meals cooked on those holidays.  My family was great at this. 

But there was one bad turkey that needs to be addressed.  It was horrible.  Disgusting, really. 

My dad's mom decided to come visit us for Thanksgiving one year.  According to my dad, she used to be a good cook, but by the time I had gotten old enough to know the difference those days were long past. 

She was obsessed with dry food.  She would make her toast and leave it out for a few minutes to dry up.  She cooked the shit out of everything. 

And she had a problem with my mom.  So, my grandmother interfered in the kitchen as much as possible.  The worst was how she kept fucking with the temperature of the oven while the turkey was cooking.  My mom would turn her back and my grandmother would sneak up and change it.  She was a sneaky woman, my grandmother.  I was constantly catching her sneaking up on me, or trying to spy on me from around a corner.  And when I'd catch her, she'd laugh and go back to whatever she was doing. 

So yeah, the turkey that year was horrid.  My mom was furious and the rest of the family wasn't too happy either.  Everybody complained loudly about how dry the turkey was and my grandmother would say, "I know!  Isn't it wonderful?" 

Thanksgiving is sort of the time of year when we acknowledge our family is weird.  We have some really weird people in our family.  And while I'm certain they say the same thing about me, or worse, we still agree to sit in the same house, at the same table, and pretend not to let it bother us. 

If I had to work with somebody from my family, without me knowing their were related, I'd kill them.  And they would call the cops on me. 

Family doesn't press charges.  Isn't that a nice sentiment? 

So yes, I hope everybody has a great Thanksgiving.  I plan on eating too much, saying crazy things, and stealing leftovers.  I hope you do, too.  


  1. I had no idea the Cabaret was in Freeport. Learn something every day.

    Good memories, Ted. Have a Merry Thanksgiving.

  2. Now I know Why I am invited to family things just this one time each year. Thanks for wrecking my holiday