A couple of years ago my family and me went to the Cleveland Zoo for Thanksgiving and while there we were visiting the monkey house they were feeding the animals their own “Thanksgiving meal”. While the little scoundrels feasted on their special meal of cranberries and sweet potatoes my family and many other zoo goers got to enjoy the cuteness of the monkeys actually sharing amongst themselves and how appropriate it was since it was the holiday of giving and sharing.
Well… the cuteness did not last long. About five minutes into the meal an alpha female made her way up to the glass to stare at onlookers. While dozens of younger children, their parents, and my family awed over her, the female pressed her derriere against the window and began to poop her thanksgiving meal against and all over the glass.
While some kids (and parents) screamed in absolute disgust several kids and parents (including my father) could not breathe they were laughing so hard and were trying to get a quick picture to document one of the more memorable Thanksgivings they have had.
But our day of potty humor did not stop there. While we were walking through the Rainforest building a young boy ran up to our family and demanded my father to “pull his finger”. After a quick apology from the boy’s mother, and my father composing himself, we eventually made our way back to the car and headed home for our own Thanksgiving meal. After a poorly timed bowel movement joke by someone at dinner I decided I could wait on the slice of pie I was going to eat for dessert. I wasn’t in the mood.
It has always been a tradition to eat our Thanksgiving dinner, then bring out all of the Black Friday ads from the paper, scouting the best deals to figure out Christmas presents. We would always make sure one person got The Chronicle, The Morning Journal, and The Plain Dealer just to make sure that we didn’t miss out on any ads. One year, someone thought it would be a good idea to have candles on the table for Thanksgiving. We had no issues with dinner, but one of the candles got knocked over while all of the ads were scattered across the table. One ad quickly caught fire, then a few more lit up. Luckily, the fire extinguisher was near so we were able to smother the fire before it really became large. I have not seen candles on Thanksgiving, or on any other holiday since then.
JRNM 151 Student
“I want turkey.”
“No turkey is gross, we are having ham,”
This is a common argument at my grandparents house around Thanksgiving time. At my grandparents house Thanksgiving is the holiday of war instead of a giving of thanks and forgiveness. The war is what our main course is going to be, ham or turkey.
The Thanksgiving meal is traditionally eaten with turkey as the main dish, but half of my family (including myself) hates Turkey. The “gobblers” (as we call the turkey eaters) argue turkey is a tradition since the beginning of Thanksgiving, and without turkey is this really a Thanksgiving? While us sane folk who would rather have ham argue, that in the category of taste, ham is a hundred times better than turkey, and who knows, maybe the pilgrims ate ham at the first Thanksgiving too.
This battle went on for years with each year at thanksgiving we had turkey or ham, turkey or ham. Nobody should have to go to Thanksgiving and guess what meal they were going to have, I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy.
But then a veil was lifted and a light bulb went off above my grandma’s head. Our family showed up for Thanksgiving wondering what meal we would get. We walked into the kitchen and there it was turkey AND ham. For once the whole family was having a good time, and the ham Vs. turkey debacle had ended. This was our first true thanksgiving where there was no arguing. (Well at least about food.)
JRNM 151 Student
A smack from my grandma saved my Thanksgiving. Not long ago, I was just having a normal Thanksgiving. I was eating every dessert that I could get my hands on. So I moved on to this really thick piece of pumpkin pie and when I tried swallowing it I started choking on the piece of pumpkin pie. My grandma smacked my back to help me out. But when I finally spat my pie out, it hit my dad. I was laughing so hard that all the crumbs just kept spilling out of my mouth.
JRNM 151 Student
It was a chilly afternoon in Schenectady, New York. Fresh out of the womb at almost four months old, I was celebrating my first holiday with my father’s family. My grandma’s food makes everyone happy. From her baking to her grilling, no wonder she is quite literally bedridden from obesity.
Anyway, back to November 1996. Everyone shows up for Grammie’s meals including two aunts, two uncles, a great grandparent, and, about five cousins. Because I was the youngest, I sat in a high chair between Grammie and my mom. They both gave me bits of mashed potatoes and squash to nibble on. Then, all of a sudden, I dropped my spoon.
Apparently, I was very upset because it was then, when I blurted out my first word. It wasn’t a normal first word because I swore at my spoon on the floor below. Because all of my family is older than me, I was already making noises, eating small amounts of soft foods, and crawling at this point. My parent’s faces, as red as Grammie’s flowers, look toward each other. They were petrified my dad’s mother would scream at them for letting me hear such words. Someone could have moved a centimeter and would have been heard.
Then, all of a sudden, we heard someone laughing. It wasn’t my alcoholic uncle in the living room either. It was Grammie. Her face also red, not for the same reasons as my parents’. She continued to laugh for about five minutes afterwards. She was shocked that someone as young as me would dare to cuss in front of someone who would never hear such words at her dinner table. Her reaction to me and my parents both made her laugh more than ever before.
That moment was a story my grandmother would proudly tell any guest of hers for years to come. “Baby Tori swore in front of me for the first time because of a spoon,” she would laugh then say, “Miss and Vic were so embarrassed for her”. One could say, I made my mark at three months old during a celebration of those who helped found the country we live in today.
When I was eight years old, my mom and I had our first Thanksgiving together while she was undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. She was adamant about making this holiday a beautiful memory for me, regardless of the circumstances.
Let me tell you, she succeeded, and to this day that Thanksgiving will always be my favorite.
The festivities started by allowing me plan the menu. Obviously, I mandated that we had only heart attack worthy foods such as Pillsbury crescent rolls, Bob Evans mashed potatoes, boxed stuffing, Stouffers extra cheesy mac n’ cheese, and a turkey tenderloin that bore as little resemblance to an actual turkey as possible. This was debatably the most commercial Thanksgiving dinner you could ever imagine and I was in heaven.
My grandparents were joining us later, so my mom and I began cooking. Since most everything was microwavable, I was allowed to help. I had mashed potato duty which consisted of stirring the putty-like substance and adding butter—lots and lots of butter.
Soon it was time to put the turkey in the oven, and this is where things got a little heated. My mom panicked because I was too close to the hot stove, but in reaching to pull me away, she in turn got too close, the heat coming from the appliance singeing her synthetic wig and filling the kitchen with a less than pleasant aroma.
We took a brief time out from cooking dinner and I got to play hairdresser and trimmed her bangs, as well as any eight-year-old could, to get rid of the charred bits. My grandparents arrived sometime later, and after a few questions about the condition of my mother’s wig, we were soon all sitting around the table enjoying what I like to affectionately refer to as our “junk food turkey fest.”
Thanksgiving is much different now, sans the jelly roll-like turkey, and I’m allowed to do a great deal more than stirring the potatoes.
Oddly enough, the most entertaining Thanksgiving of my 23 years is one of the few I can barely remember. I’ve accepted the fact that i’ll never be completely certain of what happened on the Thanksgiving of 2013, but I do know that I was sick with pneumonia and heavily medicated. I was prescribed Vicodin to suppress my cough, anti-nausea, and several other medications. The combinations of said medications sent me into a curious delirium.
I woke up the next morning with the taste of mash potatoes in my mouth and the creeping suspicion that I had done something stupid. I felt disheveled and my room looked like a lazy burglar had ransacked it. Clothes were spilling out of my dresser drawers, none of my valuables were missing and I was snuggling with my Blu Ray player. I did my best to clean up the mess and vowed not to think about it.
Several weeks later, my best friend, Sheila filled in some of the blanks. With an incredulous expression on her face, she recounted our phone conversation where I narrated my epic search for The Magical Orange. Sheila explained it to me in simple terms, “a tree spoke to you and gave you the quest.” In addition to that I questioned whether or not it was an apple that was the undoing of Adam and Eve by suggesting it was The Magical Orange I was so passionately looking for.
It was then that I started to put events together. Apparently, my prescription drug induced high I tore my room apart looking for the mythical round citrus and almost found it inside my Blu Ray player.
Till this day I still haven’t pieced together what exactly happened on that Thanksgiving Day, and my ego is grateful for that. Whenever I visit Sheila and her family at their house, her father rarely fails points out where the oranges are in their kitchen so I don’t have to go searching for them.
JRNM 151 Student
Nov. 23, 2006 seemed to be the average Thanksgiving day as I woke up to the smell of early dinner preparation. My many family members were getting ready to head to my grandmother’s house to celebrate and chaos struck the household as we rushed to make sure we were not late. At this time, my mother was 9 months pregnant with an extremely huge protruding stomach, swollen feet, and an appetite that exceeded one of a wild animal coming out of hibernation. Although she was hungry, my mother moved extremely slow as I starved waiting for her to pick up the pace so we’d make it to dinner.
Finally by about 6 p.m. that evening, we headed to my grandmother’s house with extremely empty stomachs ready to be fed. My grandmother gave me the tedious task of setting the table meant for 12. By 6:30 p.m., dinner was ready and consisted of homemade marshmallow and almond candied yams, green bean casserole, roasted turkey, homemade stuffing and gravy, macaroni and cheese, greens, fried sweet corn, derby pie, and a plethora of other extremely delicious food sides practically made from the heavens.
After we blessed the meal as a family, we passed the many dishes around the table overfilling our plates. I then took my fork and filled it with my favorite food: macaroni and cheese. Just as we were ready to take our first bite, my mother gets up to get herself something to drink and her water broke. Her labor contractions were minutes apart so my elders decided that it would be best to assist her, as a family, to the hospital, and wait for the arrival of my soon-to-be smelly and spoiled, bouncing baby brother.
“Quick, help us pack up the food, Avianna”, my grandmother instructed and I hesitated as I answered “But I didn’t even get my first bite yet” and she gave me the Look of Death. I quickly assisted her and by 8 p.m. we arrived at the hospital.
My brother, Aven Micah Kielian, was born at 2:25 a.m. Nov 24, 2006. We spent the night at the hospital and as much as I wanted to eat, the joy of his birth overpowered any hunger or other selfish urges I had. Luckily, though, my grandma packed me a loaded plate and I secretly got to have my Thanksgiving dinner after he was born, so double win for me.
I learned a huge lesson that day, and it was that Thanksgiving isn’t about food, but the joys that our loved ones give us. I was so focused on wanting to eat, that I didn’t take the time to realize how fortunate I was to have a family, a healthy new brother, and the privilege to be able to eat such an amazing meal.