Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Best Thanksgiving EVER!

Last year, Thanksgiving Day got off to a bad start. The turkey had been roasting since early morning, but our alarm clock failed to reawaken us when it was time to check the bird. Eventually, the shrill piping of the smoke alarm did.

My wife and I stumbled into the kitchen to witness the oven door puffing rhythmically, as it belched out the smoke and cinders that filled the air. The turkey, well past jerky stage, had become a crisp lump of stuffing-filled charcoal. Even the pop-up thermometer had melted, causing a lava-like flow down one side of the bird.

Our guests would be arriving in a few hours, and my wife started barking instructions as I removed the cremated carcass from the oven.

I was to drive east, she would drive west – we would stop at every grocer until one of us found the Thanksgiving Day Holy Grail – a whole cooked turkey.

I was a poor choice for this mission. I have no patience for shopping - she knows this, and sent me anyway.

I failed to find a turkey at the first store, but I had the good sense to pick up a bag of croutons for a new batch of stuffing.

I was en route to the second grocer and already losing interest. I stopped for breakfast at my favorite diner, bought a lottery ticket at a convenience store, stopped at a pond to watch some ducks, took my pickup to a car wash, and returned to the pond where I fed croutons to the ducks. I was thinking I should phone my wife to report that I wasn’t having any luck finding a turkey… when inspiration struck.

I hurried back to the first grocer - then dashed home to save the day!

By the time my frazzled wife got home, most of our guests were already there. I gave her a wink, and her questioning look turned to one of loving appreciation as she darted to the bedroom to dress and fix her hair. She joined us just as the last guests arrived and I was inviting everyone to be seated at the dining table.

The room became quiet with anticipation as I placed the covered platter on the dining table. Holding my carving knives in one hand and triumphantly removing the cover with the other, I was alarmed at the chaos and pandemonium that erupted!

Mother-in-law - What did you do?!? (You is her pet-name for me)

Sister – (Uncontrolled laughter)

Wife – (Mouth agape, look of dread-horror)

Eldest son – Gross!

Me - (defensively) It’s a SPAM-turkey!!

Someone to my left – Oh, Carl… No!

Brother-in-law – This is the Best Thanksgiving EVER!

I won’t be lending a hand in the kitchen this Thanksgiving. I wouldn’t... even if I were allowed.

My brother-in-law, Scott, is the only one who appreciates the complexity and skill required to sculpt 27 cans of SPAM into an impromptu, 20-pound replacement turkey, just minutes before guests arrive.

No, this year my wife plans to stay up all night - to stand watch over the bird, and both entrances to the kitchen… in case I try to help.

I hope she doesn’t get suspicious if her brother and I don’t seem to have an appetite – we have plans to sneak off to the shed, where I’ve already positioned the gas grill. I’m preparing two Cornish hens, one for each of us.

I’m a little worried about grilling in the shed… did I mention they’re SPAM Cornish hens?

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