Staff Editorial: Talking turkey

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Illustration by Elizabeth Spooner.

Ledger staff share memories they’re not thankful for

Holiday events only end up being picture-perfect family gatherings on TV and in the movies. Here are a few of our favorite memories of botched Thanksgiving Days.

Tasha Cook, managing editor: One Thanksgiving when I was about 7 years old, for some reason I got the idea that turkeys should not be slain for dinner. I used an old cereal box, turned it into a turkey with a slit in it, and made little slips for family and friends to fill out and put inside the turkey box. The slips were to demonstrate how much we were all against the killing of turkeys. My family filled out the little slips and submitted them, but I am thoroughly convinced in hindsight that they must have been laughing at me behind my back. I think I continued the “turkey drive” for two or three years before finally realizing it was a moot point, and that turkey tasted rather good anyway.

Ben Markley, news editor: You have to understand, I loved stuffing. LOVED it. The taste, the smell, the texture, even the name. If you put a platter of it in front of me now, I’d still pile on way more than is good for me or my BMI, but it was digestively disturbing how much I loved it as a kid. I looked forward to Thanksgiving exclusively because it was the one dinner out of the year where I was guaranteed a plate full of the stuff.

So it’s Thanksgiving, I’m at that age where I can justify any culinary excess with the “growing boy” theory and my grandparents have a truckload of stuffing. Naturally, I gorge myself with three or four plates of the stuff, and everything was peachy until it made an encore appearance around 2 a.m. the next morning in my bathroom.

Nowadays, stuffing and I are just friends.

Rachel Kimbrough, editor-in-chief: I guess it was just a few years ago when the power went out on Thanksgiving. One of those freakish, storm-of-the-century type snowstorms killed the lights and the TV and the oven, too. The problem was, the power went out while the turkey was in the oven and all the good stuff was on the stove. And it stayed out for a solid couple of hours.

So, we lit a bunch of candles around the house, took turns playing acoustic guitar and had no-bake cookies, room-temperature Pepsi and angel food cake for Thanksgiving dinner. We still could have found real-people food, I guess, but we hid behind the circumstances to eat the least sensible things we could find. The lights came back on toward the end of our impromptu Yahtzee tournament. It sounds like a ruined family occasion, but that’s actually my favorite Thanksgiving memory.

Mackenzie Clark, features editor: My worst Thanksgiving ever would have to be last year’s. My family took sympathy on my sister’s sister-in-law, Nicki, and decided to let her join our festivities. If you’ve ever seen “Family Guy” and know how the family feels about Meg; well, that’s pretty much how we feel about Nicki. Every sentence she uttered, we’d respond, “Shut up, Meg.” The woman rattled on and on about concepts that didn’t even make sense, and no one but her cared about them. That Thanksgiving, I was most thankful for the fact that I didn’t have to see her any more often than that.

Hannah Boulton, copy editor: I can’t actually remember if it rained on my worst Thanksgiving every, but I’m sure it must have because I only remember two or three sunny days during the six months I spent in Washington State.

There I was, half a continent away from my friends, my family and, worst of all, my beloved cat, Sugar. My first husband’s habit of flirting with other women right in front of me and my mother-in-law’s icy stares somehow couldn’t compare to snuggles from my best kitty and the taste of my mom’s pies.

I was awfully, terribly, extraordinarily homesick.

The only good thing to come out of my worst Thanksgiving ever was the fact that I actually cooked a turkey. It’s a miracle if I muster the energy to fix a box of mac ’n cheese.

Since I don’t remember the turkey that my husband and I cooked being a complete disaster, I’ll assume we did a good job.

Then again, his cooking might be the only good thing my first husband ever brought to our marriage.

Hannah Hunsinger, photo editor: Much to the chagrin of my fellow staff members, my family is disgustingly well-functioning. The worst that can be said about us is that we are non-traditional. Though my parents enjoy traditional Thanksgiving food, my siblings and I hate it.

Turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie—you name it, at least one of us won’t eat it. Every year we do something different; I think we’re having duck this year. But the best non-traditional Thanksgiving we had was the year before last: it was seafood, shrimp cocktail, scallops and king crab legs. The only fighting we had was over the last scallop. I won.

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