Monday, November 24, 2008

My______ Thanksgiving

My fellow Humorbloggers had the idea to swap stories for Thanksgiving. The working title was My_____Thanksgiving. I was lucky enough to draw Plain Ole Mike
My post is at his place. But enjoy his fine writing here first.
Don't worry, my whiny posts will be back tomorrow.

Here's Plain Ole Mike's terrific entry. Enjoy.

Given the topic "My _________ Thanksgiving" opens up about a gazillion cans of worm infested turkey bi-products. I could go with My Pants Popping Thanksgiving, during which my uncle, my dad, and I decided to see who could gain the most weight in 24 hours. There's always My Ill-Advised Thanksgiving which the turkey was not as "done enough" as we'd hoped. There was also My British Thanksgiving taking place during my study abroad program, where I tried to treat my English flatmates to a traditional American November feast, but wound up with fire hazard poultry style. Instead, I'm simply going to introduce you to My Very Extended Family Thanksgiving.

About ten years ago, before we were officially wed, my wife introduced me to her extended family over a particularly eventful Thanksgiving weekend. Allow me to introduce you to the cast of characters.

Grandpa - The family patriarch. In his late 80s at the time, grandpa was as spry and agile as a thirty year old, but wisely spent almost the entire weekend hiding in his model airplane workshop. You'll soon realize why I think that was wise.

Grandma - By this point in her life, grandma had already begun to fade. I don't make fun of the elderly or sick, but the fact that she spent the whole five days repeatedly calling me "Phil" left me a bit confused and concerned. In case you're unaware - my name isn't Phil.

Uncle Bob - Is the first-born son. He can do no wrong, so when he suggested that we buck tradition and cook this year's turkey on the grill, there were cries of genius. Unfortunately, when you start drinking at 9am (on Tuesday) it can throw off your bird cooking judgement a tad. I give you the highlights of that experience: Twenty-four pound turkey. Gas grill that hasn't been turned on since the mid-1970s, and isn't large enough to fit a bird of that size. A fireball that melted a pair of flip-flop sandals on the deck twenty feet above the grill. A pair of hedge trimmers (because the turkey wasn't cooking fast enough). Leftover ribs for dinner (along with your traditional Thanksgiving side dishes).

Aunt Candy - Uncle Bob's wife. I have very little to say about her, because she absolutely refused to talk to anyone. She ate breakfast before everyone else woke up, she ate dinner after we'd all retired for the night, and spent the rest of the time locked in her room. I don't know the whole story, but the rumor was she was upset about an incident involving paper towels and decided the best way to solve the problem was complete isolation. I was also told that I was lucky she wasn't out socializing.

Uncle Jamie - Is a pretty nice guy. An aging hippie who has an uncontrollable fear of onions. He wandered into the kitchen on Saturday while I was preparing dinner, saw me chopping onions, and ran away screaming without a word. His wife later came in to politely ask that I not chop any more onions until Jamie had time to gather his things and leave the house for a bit. I never got any more explanation than that.

Aunt Beth - Is married to Uncle Jamie. Her contribution to the festivities was a garlic bread type concoction made from leftover hamburger buns. I'm sharing the recipe, but I do not advise its use: Take some old buns. Spread butter on them until you run out of butter, then soak the remaining ones in vegetable oil. Chop fresh garlic and cover buns with enough garlic to make vampires nine states over cringe. Sprinkle with paprika in doses large enough to make the prime ministers of paprika producing nations wake up with cartoon dollar signs in their eyes. Bake on a cookie sheet until the oil has deep fried the bread and the bread itself has reached the consistency of a stale hockey puck. Serve. To be in true Aunt Beth form, be sure to remark - "It's amazing the wonderful things you can do with toasted bread" and be painfully unaware that you're being mocked when your relatives attempt to create a top ten list of the amazing things you can do with toasted bread.

Uncle Tom - Has some sort of social disorder. He is in his 60s and lives in his parent's basement. The very basement where I was to sleep. I overheard rumblings that Tom had gone off his meds and the "voices were back," so when he decided 3am while I was sleeping was the right time to watch his video collection of bad science fiction movies, I pretended to stay asleep.

Cousin John - Gave new meaning to the phrase fall down drunk - well, actually, he just stuck with the original intent of the idea. Every night he was so drunk that he'd actually fall down. Out of a chair, down the stairs, into the lake... The cream of the fall down crop was the night he fell down just outside my bedroom window, going up the rocky steps leading from the backyard to the front of the house. John fell down, stayed there all night bleeding from several places, and wasn't found until I let the dogs out the next morning and they brought me back his pants - which had somehow been removed in the night.

Cousin Tara - Is probably the friendliest person I've ever met, but she made the Spinal Tap amps set on 11 look soft spoken. She was so loud that people across the lake called us one night to ask her to please shut up. She didn't. She lacked the ability.

Cousin Mindy - Finally we get to Mindy. Mindy makes even the most hardened alcoholics look like lightweights. I once witnessed her consuming an entire six pack in under a minute, and not in a bar bet or contest, just because her blood alcohol level had dropped below inebriated, so she needed an adjustment. To make things more fun, Mindy was not a happy drunk, and she was upset that my wife was allowed to bring an "outsider," but she wasn't given permission to bring her boyfriend to Thanksgiving. So, in the middle of the night, having ingested enough alcohol to make a rhino dizzy, Mindy decided to head off into the woods to find a payphone and call her fella. Apparently she did not have her orienteering merit badge, because instead she found a house she though was the rental one of her uncles was staying in, broke in, and called her beau. The owners of the home didn't really care about Mindy's heartache, their concern was the drunk stranger making long distance calls at 4am in their living room. The police didn't find the situation nearly as amusing as I do either.

So there's My Extended Family Thanksgiving. Even after all that, I married her anyway, and lucky for me and my need to have humorous characters to write about, her family was part of the package. I've got my bags packed for this year's gathering already, tucked away in the suitcase is an extra pad of paper to write all this down, some paper towels to keep the peace, a bag of onions to add to the hilarity, bail money, and a packet of Carl Budding sliced turkey, because ribs on Thanksgiving just aren't right


Anonymous said...

Fantastic post! & you're lucky to have some entertaining extended family.

Carol said...

Sounds like my crazy, Cajun family. I feel bad for my poor husband sometimes.

Hey, Old Man - I like the new header. Looks great. I'd never say that out loud, of course.

eve cleveland said...

Boy, that was outta da' park! Hahahah, I'm still howlin', weight gain contest, paper towel dispute, hambuger bun recipe.....I think cough sypryp agrees with you, Hon. Great job, my friend.

PlainOleMike said...

Thanks Joe for hosting my posting. Happy Turkey Day to you, the entire Crotchety family, and all your incredibly intelligent and good looking readers.


Unknown said...

Nice post, Mike! I think National Lampoon needs to consider your material for a Thanksgiving Vacation movie. Hang in there this year, my friend!

ReformingGeek said...

And I thought I had weird family members. Great job!

Donnie said...

Hilarious. What a family...cross between the Beverly Hillbillies and The Munsters!

Unknown said...

Oh honey I did not know we were related. Funny as hell!

Kelly Ann said...

Actually they seem to be pretty normal considering how crazy families can get. LOL :)

Petra a.k.a The Wise (*Young*) Mommy said...

Hilarious! I love crazy family stories because they make me feel better about my crazy family!

Love the new layout as well.

Adullamite said...

Best post I've read anywhere for a while. 'How the other half lives,' just like us!
Great stuff!

Anonymous said...

LMAO That is one of the funniest things I've ever read. Ummmm, how is it that your wife isn't totally'd the crazy fairy miss her?!!

Happy "Budding Sliced Turkey" Day!

Anonymous said...


I'm glad to know I'm not the only person in the world who is afraid of onions.

A New Yorker said...

Makes my bunch of screamers look sane. :)

michiganderlady said...

How funny!!!! :)

It sounds like my crew. Only in mine you add more drunks to it. LOL!!!

Bee said...

Mike, I'm so happy you're going prepared to instigate posts. That is what the holidays are all about!

Chat Blanc said...

Wow! Seriously, wow! *slack jaw*

Paul Eilers said...


I wanted to say that your new blog header looks good!