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Thanks Giving Play

November 29, 2010

Although I had to work on Thanksgiving, which I’m pretty sure means the terrorists are winning, my friend Danna was kind enough to invite me and fellow copy editor Ted (aka MirtoP) to her family’s gathering at her new home in Lexington, where we popped over for a quick bite before heading to the newspaper.

Nice try, kids.

Before dinner, Danna’s tweenage nieces and cousins put on an adorable play about the history of the holiday. Pre-show, the little actors, dressed as Native Americans and pilgrims, passed out tickets they’d designed and printed. “ADMIT ONE TICKET FOR THANKS GIVING PLAY,” they read.

Putting on my grammar-snob hat a few hours too soon, I turned to Ted when I spotted a typo. “Are we thanking the Giving Play?” I asked facetiously. He told me to “stop it.” Later that evening, he sidled up to me and snickered, “I cannot believe you copy-edited a child’s homemade theater ticket.” How else will they learn?

As the big bird made its grand entrance out of the oven and onto the island in the kitchen, Danna and her mother, a tightly wound Israeli, almost immediately began bickering about the temperature of the turkey, how to carve the turkey and on what size platter to put the turkey. As Mom, Danna and older sister Sharone – armed with a knife – encircled the main course, unsure of where to slice first, Mom grew more and more adamant that the serving dish would be inadequate. “You need a bigger plate,” she asserted. And Danna was all, “Well, this is all I have.” And Mom was like, “Oy, I should have brought one of mine.” Uncomfortable silence.

“This isn’t big enough,” Mom said again with a heavy sigh, looking as if she were a doctor in the middle of cardiac surgery and had just realized the donor heart wasn’t a match. If this were “Grey’s Anatomy,” she’d tear off her surgical mask, storm out of the OR and shove her tongue down a nurse’s throat in the scrub room before confronting the grieving survivors and telling them she’d done all she could. “This will not work, Danna.”

“I don’t have anything else. It’s fine,” Danna seethed as her toddler son, Oren – whom she and I once plotted to sedate for trans-Atlantic air travel – weaved figure-eights between her legs.

Mom briefly changed course and turned her attention to another crusade – Danna’s second stove, which may or may not have a malfunctioning thermometer. As she began prepping to reheat the numerous side dishes, she firmly instructed her youngest daughter, “It still isn’t warm enough. Turn up the temperature to 425. I need a hot oven.”

I whispered to Ted, I need a hot oven.” He told me to “shut up.”

Sharone tugged at the honeyed drumsticks and wings, bracing herself on the counter and cautioning those nearby to step back. Then she started to make headway in the breast. The white meat soon was stacked high on the platter, which was, indeed, too small.

Shaking her head in disappointment, Mom said, “If only I’d known.”

“I DON’T EVEN LIKE TURKEY!” blurted out Danna, letting slip a Thanksgiving truth, her patience having finally expired.

Assuming I’m invited again next year, I plan on hawking tickets for testy turkey theatrics with Danna’s family. Mine will be spelled correctly and properly punctuated, though. Unlike some people’s.

38 Comments leave one →
  1. November 29, 2010 3:17 PM

    I’m a total grammar snob as well – good grammar is a turn-on. Shocking that I’m single! 😉

  2. November 29, 2010 3:21 PM

    Awwww Jewish mothers….aren’t they always right??

    Was feeling bad that you had to work on Thanksgiving but if you hadn’t had to work we never would have had this hilarious post!

  3. November 29, 2010 3:25 PM

    “Are we thanking the Giving Play?” I asked facetiously. He told me to “stop it.” Later that evening, he sidled up to me and snickered, “I cannot believe you copy-edited a child’s homemade theater ticket.”

    Just beautiful! I couldn’t stop laughing reading this post. Sounds like an interesting evening!

  4. November 29, 2010 3:34 PM

    Man, you show those kids who’s boss!

    And I too had a hilariously awkward Thanksgiving with a friend’s mom – sadly, she reads my blog so cannot be mocked on the Internet.

  5. November 29, 2010 3:52 PM

    My grandma has this electronic saw thing? It’s meant for meat carving but seriously looks like the weapon of Jason’s wimpier massacre brother. I took a video of her carving the turkey with her electroknife this year, I could barely film from repressing my hysterical laughter. Grandma takes electroknife turkey carnage very seriously.

  6. MirtoP permalink
    November 29, 2010 3:57 PM

    “Pre-show, the little actors, dressed as Native Americans and pilgrims, passed out tickets they’d designed and printed.”

    FYI, I believe that, at least at our place of business, it would be “preshow” – as in pregame, preseason, etc. – even though preshow looks kind of icky to me. (Note to readers: Unless you’re in the copyediting biz, you can never imagine how much time we spend talking about stuff like this – and how passionately, yikes! – even away from the newsroom . . . um, or is that “copy-editing” biz? Hah!)

    • Bob Buckley permalink
      November 29, 2010 4:24 PM

      Does anal retentive take a hyphen?

      • November 30, 2010 3:06 AM

        Only if you grease it up first

      • November 30, 2010 3:26 AM

        Oh, hi co-workers.

        Yes, I thought about “preshow,” as that would be adhering to AP Style. But decided to make “pre-show” an exception. Because it’s my blog and I’m the decider.

  7. November 29, 2010 4:02 PM

    it is so hot that you copy edited that ticket. would have bugged me too. when I was a kid, my dad had me go through the newspaper and find errors. which is why I am so insane today.

  8. Danna permalink
    November 29, 2010 4:29 PM

    My platter was too small?! I still think it was fine. Next year you and Ted will have to stay for the dictionary game, which had us laughing our asses off. It’s a game where you pick a word no one has ever heard of out of the dictionary and everyone makes up a definition and you try to choose the correct one. Even though my platter was too small, I came in first place in the dictionary game. And that’s clearly more important.

  9. November 29, 2010 4:43 PM

    At least you didn’t blast the kids for not pointing out Thanksgiving covertly celebrates the beginning of a genocide.

    Definitely had me laughing about the bickering over the platter. If only you had been around for the 100 other disputes about protocol and Emily Post. I was even criticized for wanting a cupcake for dessert. Not because it’s unhealthy…because it’s “too boring.”

    Always welcome, Jess. Sorry we didn’t get to chat much. Next time the oven will be even hotter 🙂

    • November 29, 2010 5:39 PM

      Hey! I explained the real meaning of Thanksgiving and received the looks of horror from various family members! I also corrected my mother-in-law’s manners. Still doesn’t beat the flaming turkey Thanksgiving!

      xo Susie

  10. November 29, 2010 5:27 PM

    When my nieces were small, they raised sheep, because their mother is insane and has dreams of being Laura Ingalls Wilder. They kept wanting to talk to me about the damn sheep. And I was all, look, kid, I have no interest in livestock unless it’s on my plate. I do not want to talk about sheep. Let’s find something we both want to talk about, ok?

    It’s never too early to teach the little ones appropriate behavior.

  11. November 29, 2010 5:30 PM

    Family bickering, under-educated children, snarky guests…..I love Thanks – Giving.

  12. November 29, 2010 6:34 PM

    it’s a pity there wasn’t as theater critic in the room. the little buggers could have probably used some constructive criticism on the play, as well as the production details.

  13. November 29, 2010 6:55 PM

    Always give thanks when play is involved. Giving or receiving. In my book, anyway. And everyone likes a hot oven.

    Wait. What are we talking about?

  14. November 29, 2010 7:49 PM

    I’m a grammar nazi myself….when my professors misspell or use improper grammar on their exams (ugh, I know), I take the liberty of proofreading their exam while I’m taking it. Because, like you said, how will they ever learn?

  15. November 29, 2010 7:52 PM

    God, kids are so fucking stupid, aren’t they?

    I would totally buy tickets to next year’s shindig. Nothing like enjoying the discomfort of OTHER people’s families. So much more relaxing than one’s one.

    Also, please explain to me why, when I’m at my parents’ house, it is fucking EXHAUSTING trying to help out while I can have a giant party at home on my own and not break a sweat? Is it the parental gravity suck? I need to know.

  16. November 29, 2010 7:54 PM

    And I can’t believe that while commenting on how fucking stupid kids are, I make a typo of my very own. Of course. Karma.

  17. November 30, 2010 3:05 AM

    Why are holidays so weird? They’re supposed to be lovely occasions spent with gracious family members.
    Instead, you chose the ‘other family’ route. I chose the ‘hide out alone in a secret place’ route.
    Fabulous. Fireplace for one, please. Yes, sir.

    Also… I love all things grammar. Can I be your intern before we become Oprah & Gayle: The White Version? Please?

  18. iarewearingthejeanpant permalink
    November 30, 2010 5:07 AM

    So much to gave thanks fore, i dont’ no we’re to starting…

  19. November 30, 2010 8:16 AM

    It seems to me that when someone armed with a knife is confronted with a semi-hostile mother posturing with criticism in an unstable holiday region that the fact that nothing other than the turkey lost any appendages proves that de-escalation and diplomacy really can be the answer.

  20. November 30, 2010 9:09 AM

    I love the grammar correction, and of course, the mighty red pen.

    I’m glad you got some turkey even though you had to work. The mother did let you finally eat, right?

  21. November 30, 2010 11:38 AM

    You have to start early. Someone just left an ad on my windscreen: “Are you over weight?”
    (Oh yes, I am SO over it). You are simply saving the kids from commiting similar atrocities in later life.

  22. November 30, 2010 12:17 PM

    Sounds like a family extravaganza. We used to have a family tradition of burning the dinner rolls.

    This year was my first Thanksgiving with the “in-laws”. MIL told me that she likes to drink a lot at Thanksgiving. She kept pouring me more wine (I’m not much of a drinker). I leaned over to the wife and said…”I think you’ll be driving home…I’m getting drunk with your Mom.” Good time had by all 🙂

  23. November 30, 2010 9:37 PM

    Wow, they had plates at your thanksgiving??? So fancy!!

  24. December 1, 2010 1:40 AM

    “Babies rhymes with rabies.”

    What about scabies? Are you intentionally trying to leave scabies out? That’s not right.

  25. December 1, 2010 3:58 AM

    It’s so cool that Jews are included in Thanksgiving. I’d be feeling really patriotic right now if I were American. Here in Australia they care about beer more than jingoistic national pride. (Not that there’s anything jingoistic about turkey!)

  26. December 2, 2010 9:31 AM

    Well thank God you had the good sense to keep an arm’s distance from an Isreali woman with a knife.

    “I need a hot oven”…… You and me both, sister.

  27. December 2, 2010 1:26 PM

    what’s thanksgiving without a little drama? looks like you got two shows for the price of one.

  28. December 2, 2010 2:51 PM

    Man? Comment of the day on The Bloggess? You’re totally Internet famous now.

    So clearly you’ll be requiring a live-in domestic.

    And I’m available.

    Except I don’t do housework.

    So I’ll be more like a homeless friend.

  29. December 4, 2010 3:03 AM

    One Thanksgiving my mom and I spent the last ten minutes (before serving the food) desperately microwaving pieces of the turkey because the whole effing turkey came out of the oven MOSTLY RAW.

    We also have a tradition of leaving one side dish in the microwave, which is then discovered the next morning, congealing and gelatinous, when my dad goes to warm his oatmeal. Good times. Mediocre times.

  30. December 7, 2010 9:22 AM

    As an update, thanks to this post, I put a space in Thanksgiving about five times. I have never done that before in my entire life and, yet, after reading this, I did it 17 times.

    Thanks to your blog. 45 “Thanks giving”s from me.

  31. December 12, 2010 5:39 AM

    Hey, I was told that Lexington’s high school has an outstanding drama program. Wow. I guess it is true! 😉

  32. December 15, 2010 10:12 PM

    You said ….
    Turning 30 wouldn’t be so scary if -30- didn’t mean “the end.” I blame journalists. Except I’m a journalist. So I guess it’s all my fault. As usual.
    October 7, 2010

    I’m fairly new to this so I’m catching up on previous posts.
    From my vast time on this Earth I can tell you, 30 doesn’t mean the end, it’s just part of the preparation towards the beginning. Anticipation, the spice of life!

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