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November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!

Bob looks like turkey... but probably tastes like chicken.

The very first year I was married, Thanksgiving came around awful fast. We'd been officially hitched for one month and suddenly, it was the Tuesday before Turkey Day. I woke up that morning with the horrifying realization that I was now a Married Woman, one whose traditional Southern upbringing had supposedly prepared her for such things. I sat bolt-upright in bed and immediately began to draft a shopping list for The Perfect Meal. (I was maybe still in the pearls-and-high-heels mode of newlywedism. It fades, people. IT FADES.)

There was a flurry of activity as I went from grocery store to grocery store, and I set about cooking a feast of hitherto unknown proportions.


Except maybe I am not so good with cooking, and I decided the first thing we must do to make a good meal is to pour a glass of wine, and wear a pretty apron, and listen to music, and also maybe not having cooked a real meal ever before in my life I was kind of procrastinating.

Before long, it was obvious that I could wait no longer and the cooking had to begin, as no gnomes or parents had shown up on my doorstep to save me from myself. So I began cooking. With wine. I did not bother reading the directions on how to cook a turkey, because really. How hard can it be? Just like Hungry Man Turkey TV Dinners, you pop it in the oven and voila! Dinner!

So I took the bird out of the freezer and set it in its new stainless-steel turkey-cooking pan and poured olive oil on the (frozen) top and sprinkled it with poultry seasoning and into the oven it went.


Then I set about making the mashed potatoes, and was feeling very chardonnay and happy. Peeling, boiling, then the mashing began, with a tub of butter and heavy cream and My, When Did I Get So Good At This? I am so good at this!


In my defense, I had never used teflon-coated pans before, and we had just bought these brand new teflon-lined pots and pans and I maybe used the electric beaters to get the mashed potatoes good and whipped and five minutes later I noticed little black flecks ALL OVER THE POTATOES.

It was not pepper. Whoops!

About 14 hours later, the turkey was still frozen in the center and there was a weird smell. Whose bright effing idea is it to stuff weird turkey parts in a plastic bag and freeze that crap INSIDE a turkey? Huh? Was it perhaps the same brainiac that invented car batteries that need water? Because that's logical, Einstein. I MEAN REALLY.

For sure I could not screw up the cranberry sauce, since it comes in a can. Yes. And about the same time the cranberry sauce was gently resting on the floor with bits of cat hair stuck on its glossy can-shaped surface, I remembered the marshmallow-topped yams, because the smell of burned plastic (turkey packaging genius I HATE YOU) was mixing with the smell of burned marshmallow.

In conclusion:

• One bowl of mashed potatoes with teflon flecks

•One pile of cranberry sauce on floor

•One frozen turkey with melting rubber guts inside

•One blackened yam casserole

And we ordered pizza and all was well. Thanksgiving! A time to give thanks and praise for the 24-hour pizza delivery business!

Into every life a ruined turkey dinner must fall, but there is thanks and praise when we have a happy ending, and I am thankful and want happy endings for all.

Of course, this year there are so many people in need everywhere. We realize what a luxury it is to buy a big turkey and to fondly remember the year (so many years ago) when you were young and silly and teetering around on high heels and drinking wine in your kitchen and later -- now -- you can drink wine with two good friends at your home (not alone after all!) and reflect on all of it, because you're still here and life is still good. It's good even when it's bad.

So. Ya'll. I have a friend who is currently stationed in Afghanistan. His name is Haji. Hi Haji! Happy Thanksgiving! Hope the chow over there is good!

Haji is a photographer. He sends me pictures of the people, their houses, the vast desert and mud huts, and desolation. Little kids, little smiles, like this one that tugged at me.


Haji is in Kabul and he was telling me about the kids, the ones who get hurt, and how the medics are trying to comfort them (that must be so scary for the little ones, with shots fired every day and these doctors not speaking your language and it's all so foriegn, but happening in your own town) and the medics are always looking for ways to put the kids at ease. The smallest things work best: a small stuffed animal. A beanie baby. A passed-on McDonald's Happy Meal toy.

We ALL have a stuffed animal or two lying around, things that to us are clutter and junk and just ... stuff. This one is easy! You don't have to buy anything! You're already looking for a way to pare down, right? The very same stuff collecting dust on your bookshelf/in your car/on your desk would have a different life in little hands in Kabul.

I'm going to send a few little things (rules; nothing with guns, no army stuff, nothing racy) and if you want, you can send stuff, too.

Kabul, the desert.

Option 1) If you are local, bring your goodies to Stitch 'n Bitch next Thursday and I'll package them off to Haji. He'll be hand-delivering this stuff, so you know it's actually reaching the intended recipient.

Option 2) Email him directly at hajiomatic@hotmail.com. He'll give you his mailing address in Afghanistan and you can send goodies directly to him (eliminate the middle man!) and he promises to take pics of the goods and I will post them here, so we can all give a little thanks together.

Ya'll have a Happy Thanksgiving. Eat some pie.

WARNING!! There is a HIDDEN SECRET BAG of necks and toes and stuff inside that frozen turkey!! Take it from someone who knows! I'm just saying is all.

Posted by laurie at November 24, 2005 10:36 AM