True Tales (Mostly) of Horrendous Thanksgivings


I don’t know when it happened exactly, but some time back in the 50’s (I’m assuming), Thanksgiving overtook Christmas as the one holiday where family members gather together and try in palpable desperation not to shiv one another with a carving knife. Oh one would assume that because Christmas has such a visual stigma surrounding it -gift purchase stress, excess money expenditures, maintaining the reality of Santa around your kids- that it would certainly be a far more fury-inducing holiday. Yet, somehow, the spirit of it all ultimately prevails and the season just seems to coalesce in a far jollier fashion. Thanksgiving, not so much.

Maybe it’s the travel. It is by far the most traveled Holiday. Folks pack up their stuff and head to ‘gramma’s’ the Wednesday before, arrive hours later in a town they’re still only kind of familiar with, shop for last minute (see: sold out) food items, and wash it all down with gallons of cheap booze. There’s no way any kind of good can come out of that. Or, maybe it’s the stress of perfecting a meal for your guests. You’ve just got to have that turkey magazine-ad beautiful and that green bean casserole better be fucking pristine or God knows it’s the stink-eye from sour Aunt Gertrude. That kind of pressure is more than enough to inspire violence and thoughts of murder. Or, maybe it’s just the thought of being with the family as a whole. There are paper reams full of reasons why you don’t hang out the other 364 days a year, not the least of which is that your entire family, collectively, sucks. All of them. Especially your douchebag brother who flaunts his wealth in your face every time he drives up in his Mercedes, all smug and… happy.

Ah yes, but these are but a few of the true horrors of the holiday. Let’s read together a few letters I’ve received from concerned fans who may have had some of the most terrifying turkey days of all time. Grab that bottle of Stoli you’re gonna need it.

This first letter is from Marge in Topeka, Kansas. Marge writes:

“Last year my estranged father decided to finally (after 13 years) show up for Thanksgiving. It had been long enough that we’d given up wondering just how far 60 bucks and his office secretary would ultimately get him. Well, come 4:30 that afternoon, dad showed up with Denise (the secretary) and his four new children in tow. Needless to say, the rest of the family was stunned beyond any reasonable belief. But the surprise of his arrival was the least of our worries. Half way through dessert, as the tension levels in the room grew to palpable extremes, dad busted out with the biggest news flash of all: he was gay and had already killed seventeen hookers back in Tallahassee. Well, it took a good whack on the back to dislodge the hunk of pumpkin pie I was choking on. Dad left after that. I sure hope they found those bodies.”

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Here’s another from D. Wellington from Big Sur, California:

“My wife and I have been married for eleven years, all of which have been happy and relatively argument free. However, the one thorn we’ve had to endure is her mother. Living in our spare room. For eleven years. She is an -for lack of a better term- invalid and can’t get around without the aid of a wheel chair and, well, several nurses. Sadly, she weighs several hundred pounds and has to be constantly attached to a breathing machine. Anyway, move forward to this past Thanksgiving. She was, as always, expecting my wife to deliver her a plate, which she was prepared to do. However, a few glasses of wine had passed time to the point where our guests and ourselves had gotten comfortable and, well, forgot. Soon, we heard a horrific keening erupted from the spare room. It was literally as though someone had dropped a cat into a wood chipper. None of us could place it. Until the unmistakable visage of a very monstrous shadow appeared in the light of the crackling fire. There stood my wife’s mother, unable to move on her own for over a decade, braying at the top of her lungs for turkey. It was suddenly the funniest thing we had ever seen and slowly we cackled ourselves into a row as her mom collapsed to the floor. Her last words uttered were something about gravy.”

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This is an interesting little tale from 10 year-old Danny from Bad Axe, Michigan:

“Hi. I’m Danny and I’m ten. My parents and I are vega um, veggi, v… we eat only veggies. So for Thanksgiving, we don’t eat a turkey. Instead we get what’s called a ‘Tofu-rkey’. That’s basically a seasoned wad of tofu made to look kind of like a turkey breast. It actually looks more like a football. Anyway, this past year we were invited to my Uncle Jim’s house in Smyrna. He’s a pretty good cook and he works for a restaurant called ‘Zeb’s Diner’ making hamburgers and breakfast stuff. My mom knew he was going to have real food, not veggie food, so she made sure to pack the tofu-rkey. We drove and got to my uncle’s Thanksgiving morning at 11 and right away my mom asked him to please put her tofu-rkey in the oven. Okay, here’s the funny part. My uncle Jim grabs the tofu-rkey and throws it on the floor! Right then all of his dogs (he has 3: Champ, Biscuit, and Sparks) came running into the kitchen and ate the tofu-rkey faster than I have ever seen anything eat! My mom couldn’t even talk she was so mad. My uncle high-fived my dad and I and the other relatives who’d gathered around. Did I mention my Uncle likes to drink something called ‘Southern Comfort’? A lot? Yeah he has empty bottles of it all over the place. My mom wanted to leave, but my dad and I had real meat and real sausage stuffing! I don’t think I’ll eat only veggies anymore. My mom is still mad.”


And finally we have a letter from Riker’s Island prison, care of Warden Henry Harman:

“Turkey Day’s around here, behind the cold steel bars, are one of the few days where the prisoners get other things to eat besides corn slop and hard tack. Buster, the prison cook who’s been with us for going on forty years (he murdered a family of five and repainted the house with their guts) and he is a hell of a cook. Anyway, come Than’sgiving, Buster gets into the pantry and hauls out the big cans of chipped turkey, creamed corn, stuffing made from day-old biscuits, and his famous blood-red ‘cranberry’ salad made from something other than actual cranberries… search me how he does it but it is surely good. Well this year we here on C-Block are really pleased to be having some actual fresh meat for our feast. You see, Number 24601 has been running his mouth lately and we’re none to pleased with it. He’s young you see… young and fresh. I’m getting hungry just thinkin’ about it. Well, Happy Thanksgiving.”

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So you see? You are not the only one being forced to spend a holiday avoiding irritating relatives and eating things that may or may not be actual food. But, be that as it may, it’s still a time for family, fun, and fellowship so try to leave your daily bitterness at the door and enjoy the festivities. I understand large quantities of alcohol helps.