Thanksgiving 2011; Or, How I Learned To Love the 21st Century!
Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," Thanksgiving edition, 2011! This century is now more than a decade old, and I have been less than impressed. But now I'm totally down with the 21st. Read on to find out how a "Dazed and Confused"-era teen finally went techno with success!
I have two daughters, The Heir and The Spare (pictured). I have a very close friend, the Monkey Man (pictured). All were invited to my table on Thanksgiving. Blessed be, they all accepted -- and Monkey Man brought his sister and another friend!
Alas, there was a snag. Mr. J, being a sportswriter, is often called upon to write at the holidays. He had a deadline. So I had to drive to Baltimore to pick up his mom. And back to Snobville for the feast.
It's a 200-mile round trip, all on a Thanksgiving morning.
Well, you have your Travel Wednesdays, and you have your Back Fridays, and in between people manage to have dinner with family and friends. I figured the traffic would not be bad on I-95 on Thanksgiving Day itself.
BAMP!!!!! Wrong. Wrong. Wrong! Deduct 50 points from Anne's score!
As I was traveling south on I-95, I noticed the traffic volume moving north. When Mom-in-law and I began our return journey from Baltimore to Snobville, the traffic on I-95 was unbelievable. You could not have squeezed a Handi-Wipe between my car and the one in front of me. You could have tried, though. At the rate the traffic was moving, you'd have been clear to make about 25 attempts.
I'm a veteran traveler of I-95, and I know how to circumnavigate it. Will I share this information with you? Hmmmmm. Email me.
I got off I-95 and took an alternate route. Here's where the plot thickens.
It was after 11:00 in the morning. I had told my guests that dinner would be ready at 4:30. The reason I had made this audacious boast was that I had full confidence in my sous chef, The Spare. You should see some of the fabulous meals she whips up! Caught in traffic? No problem! Spare at the helm, all systems go!
At a red light, I phoned up Spare. Conversation went something like this:
Anne: Hey, have you made the stuffing?
Spare: No, but I'm getting around to it.
Anne: Have you peeled the potatoes?
Spare: I was just getting ready to do that.
Anne: Listen. It's going to take longer than anticipated for me to get home. I need for you to put the turkey in the oven. The directions for preparing it are on the sheet I left on the kitchen counter.
(Very long pause.)
Anne: Spare? Are you there?
Spare: I can't handle a turkey carcass. It will make me puke.
Anne: What are you talking about? You cook stuff all the time!
Spare: Yeah, but ... look, I'm not reaching into a turkey and pulling out the ... parts. Like, I can't do that.
(Anne thinks of a contingency plan.)
Anne: Put your sister on the phone.
(Heir comes to the phone. Mind you, she can boil water for tea and toast a PopTart. End of her cooking ability.)
Anne: Heir, will you help Spare put the turkey in the oven? The directions are on the kitchen counter.
Heir: Ummmmmm. Uhhhhhhh. (No enthusiasm) I guess .......
Anne: DO YOU CREATURES WANT TO EAT TODAY? IF SO, PUT THE TURKEY IN THE OVEN! I'M IN FREAKIN ABERDEEN, AND THE MONKEY MAN IS COMING TO DINNER!
(Green light. Phone off.)
Long story short, Mom-in-law and I crawled to a stop in front of my house at about half past never. The turkey was not in the oven. It had not been removed from the fridge. To her dubious credit, The Spare had made the stuffing and peeled the potatoes.
Time for a desperate contingency plan!
My oven is a modern, computerized gadget that has had its share of glitches, let me tell you. The oven has a "convection" option that I have never quite figured out. When you use it, time and space become altered as if it's an episode of Doctor Who gone awry. When you cook with convection heat, you dial down the temperature and dial back the time. It must save energy, doing that. But it's damned tricky.
I had no choice.
Slapped that bird in the oven. Convection heat, 300 degrees, 2 hours. Can you believe it, readers? That gobbler was ready for the table by 4:30! Sixteen pounds! Welcome to the 21st century, bored deities!
Monkey Man arrived, bearing home-made cranberry bread and a pumpkin pie. His sister arrived with the classic Green Bean Casserole, which was really and truly invented by a citizen of Snobville who worked in the test kitchen at Campbell's.
We all had a lovely dinner. Even the famed Monkey was happy, because I had a whole bunch of bananas set aside for him. We drank a toast and all said what they were thankful for. (Monkey Man's sister said she was grateful "that my weird brother always manages to find lovely friends.")
My mom-in-law was particularly impressed that the turkey was ready in the nick of time. During Thanksgivings past, she had been renowned for hounding me about when I was going to put the bird over the fire.
I saved the best for last. After dinner, the Monkey Man presented me with a gift. It was like 25 Yuletides came in one single second! Here's a picture of him, modeling my gift earlier in the day, at the annual Snobville-Snob Heights football game ...
EXHIBIT A: WHAT A HAT!
I am blown away by this fabulous headgear. It bothers me slightly that the thing was probably made in some poor Third World country, but man-oh-man. Never has product met consumer with more satisfaction!
We at "The Gods Are Bored" hope you had a happy Thanksgiving. We hope you took a pass on Walmart on Black Friday. If not, don't ask us to feel sorry for you if you were trampled, shot, or pepper-sprayed. (Seriously. Look it up. People got pepper-sprayed at Walmart.)
This Thanksgiving was really special. We all missed Great-Grandma (who is still hovering), but we delighted in new friends and family. I have to work on Spare's gag reflex, but that can wait for another day.
I hope your holiday was special too. If not, let me know. I could set a place for you next year ... and save a few bananas back for your monkey puppet. It's how I roll.