Flipping the Bird

As a kid Thanksgiving was the holiday squished in-between the Most Fun Holiday of the Year, Halloween, and the Best Day of the Year, Christmas. Its sole purpose was for me to spend time with my relatives and drop useful hints for the Christmas gifts they can buy me for the next time we meet in a few weeks.

As I got older, I would come home and be a celebrity of sorts, do nothing but watch football then sit down for the best meal of the year, thankful for my family, friends bla bla bla. My mother was a great cook and she made it look so easy.

One year I went to a boyfriend’s house for Thanksgiving, it was horrible. They served the meal in Tupperware for easy cleanup. Who does that? We broke up just before Christmas prior to any gift exchange because I could not see any of that in my future.

But now, it’s all different, I’m the grown-up. The meal I had once loved has become the source of unbridled stress. In other words, it’s all on me. And it must to be perfect. The day after the “most fun holiday” I was bombarded with emails how to make the Perfect Thanksgiving Meal.  You can’t stand in a line anywhere without glancing at a magazine cover, Perfect Dinner Your Family Will Treasure. All I could see is that Normal Rockwell illustration of the man showing off the picture-perfect turkey. What if I fail? Will my family be scarred for life? Not having the same ideal childhood memories that I have. Yes!

It’s all about the main attraction… the turkey.  I have only cooked 2 turkeys in my entire life. The first one could have flown off the platter if not for the tiny rope keeping its wings together. The second, based on past experience, was so over cooked it could have been used as building materials for any of the 3 Little Pigs houses. (Straw, Sticks and Bricks). It was Turkey Jerky and I was the Jerk for trying to make Jerk Turkey!

Everyone says it’s so easy, but it’s really not. Which side is the breast?

After hours of setting and resetting my overly decorated dining room table including autumn leaves from Vermont because California doesn’t have seasons anymore, just to make it so perfect Martha Stewart would gobble with glee at the sight of it. But it looked more like a National Lampoon Thanksgiving. I broke down in tears.

“What’s wrong, Mom?” Daisy asked.

“IT’S NOT PERFECT!” I spewed.

“Yes, it is. It’s our perfect.”

“What?”

“Mom were not the kind of people who have a designer house, super clean or perfect like that. We have the house all our friends call home.”

“Really?”

“Isn’t it you who always says if you get your guests drunk enough, they won’t even care?”

“Yes, that’s me.” I beamed with pride.

So, Happy mismatched table linens, random bar stools as dining chairs, paper napkins, dirty aprons, crumbs in the silverware drawer, oversized plates as platters, ladles as serving spoons, chipped wine glasses, pumpkins leftover from Halloween filled with family and friends… Perfect Thanksgiving.

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