Thanksgiving 2017

I can’t believe that we’ve managed to flip enough pages in our 2017 calendars to be at the end of November already.  It seems like I was just griping about the heat… THE HEAT… STOP THE CRAZY HEAT AND THESE 96 DEGREE DAYS… last week, and here we are now shivering, because it is RAINING in Small Town, USA today.

Yes.  Raining… exactly like it’s November on the equator, in a tropical rain forest.  Apparently, Mother Nature did not read SUGGESTED DATES FOR RAIN in her operating systems handbook for our area, because… come tomorrow… this rain is going to be frozen into sheets of ice on our streets that make bobsled runs look mediocre in terms of HOW FAST CAN YOU SLIDE?  The end of November is not our optimal time for rain, what with the frigid overnight temperatures and all.

Go home, Mother Nature.  You’re drunk.

This is the type of weather that makes me crazy, as I send my seventeen-year-old off to school, yelling, “THE HILLS!  The hills in town will be icy!!  Try to drive on only FLAT streets!”  To this he yells back, “Ma, the high school is ON THE TOP OF A HILL!  And I’m a professional driver, Ma.  My skills make Richard Petty look like a preschooler!”

Hubs and I are really working on the boy’s self esteem.

But yes.  Thanksgiving has already come and gone, and it treated us fairly well.

We started Thanksgiving Break by joining Thing 2 at his elementary school for their annual Turkey Trot.  This is when the entire school — all three hundred of their students and teachers — are joined by sixty-two million parents, and everyone trots along the streets, for a mile-long loop around the neighborhood.  The kids love that a policeman leads the way, with the lights flashing on the top of his car.

Although this particular Turkey Trot is not a race AT ALL, Thing 2 walked two blocks with me and Hubs, and then announced, “I’m totally going to win this trot!”  His competitive nature couldn’t take being twenty-five people behind the leading police car, so off he ran, leaving Hubs and I alone.

Clearly, it was a family affair… but the polar opposite.

At one point, Thing 2’s teacher asked us, “Are you two on a date without kids?”

Yes.  That was exactly it.  What we love to do together, when we find ourselves childless, is to walk a mile with three hundred other children who DON’T belong to us.

I suppose that it goes without saying that Thing 2 WON the non-competitive Turkey Trot, as he was the first one to step onto the school’s property, behind that policeman.  He was a little disappointed to learn that this was not a competition, and that NO, YOU’RE NOT GETTING A MEDAL OR ANY MONETARY AWARD.

Hubs and I finished somewhere around 30th and 31st place.  Come to think of it, I guess that’s not a bad finish, out of three hundred students and all the accompanying parents.

The kids didn’t have school on Wednesday, so they each did their favorite things.

The boy slept in until 11:30 that morning, and Thing 2 went ice skating with their cousin.  Cousin R is a freshman.  She is a SEASONED ice skater, and she ended up saying, “I can barely keep up with him out there!”  As much as the boy thinks he’s Richard Petty behind the wheel of his car, Thing 2 believes he’s Apollo Ohno and Wayne Gretsky, all rolled up into one small package, on ice skates.

After he’d gone to open skate with Cousin R, Thing 2 had his REAL hockey team practice.  He has been so excited to finally be old enough to play REAL hockey, that he could barely stand it.  That group of 5 and 6 year olds broke into little teams to scrimmage one another on Wednesday night, while we all cheered them on.  It was Thing 2’s very first experience playing in a real hockey game, and he LOVED IT.

He came away with a hat trick, plus one.

Yes.  That stinker scored FOUR GOALS for his little team in their little scrimmage.  He had a ball.  He came off the ice dripping sweat, grinning wide enough to split his face in half, and happy as he’s ever been in his life.

Ultimately, this means we may be traveling for hockey games IN THE WINTER.  Do you know what I HATE, LOATHE and also DESPISE doing in the winter?  That would be TRAVELING.  I had been hoping that Thing 2 would just play baseball, which is such a SUMMER GIG.


Every Thanksgiving, our church puts on a dinner.  It’s a rather popular place for members of our congregation to go, and everyone seems to bring friends.  We gave it a try this year.  Hubs and the boys and I joined Mam and Pa for dinner there.  The menu included all the traditional foods of turkey and mashed potatoes, stuffing and green bean casseroles, sweet potatoes and pumpkin pies.

And then Hubs smoked four racks of ribs.  His biggest disappointment with the Pilgrims is that they decided bagging a turkey for their feast was good enough, when they could have shot a wild boar, trimmed it out, and smoked it right up over a roaring fire.  He threw the ribs on his Traeger grill at 6:00 Thanksgiving morning, and by 1:00 that afternoon, he wrapped everything up in aluminum foil and shouted, “These may be my finest masterpiece yet.”

We’re working on his self esteem, too.

I was a little reluctant to have him set SMOKED RIBS next to the traditional turkey on the buffet table, but listen, y’all.  EVERYONE THERE complimented Hubs on his ribs.  People argued over who got MORE ribs than others.  While I was in the kitchen, getting paper towels, one elderly gentleman came in to grab plastic wrap.  When he saw me, he smiled sheepishly and said, “I stole two extra ribs to wrap up and take home for a snack later.  I love them!”

In other words, Hubs just proved that what everyone wants for Thanksgiving dinner is a piglet with a thick, seasoned, smoked crust.

Also, it was exactly like I didn’t even know myself on Thanksgiving Day, because I took ZERO PICTURES of my children that day.

Zero.  Zip.  Zilch.

The only picture I took on Thanksgiving 2017 was this one:

When you live in a house dominated by boys, you’re never surprised at the weird things you find.  I walked downstairs on Thursday afternoon, to find Spider-Man, hanging out, tearing both of his rotator cuffs, as he whispered, “Could you bring me a plate of turkey with extra gravy and some Ben-Gay?  My shoulder muscles are a little achy.”

Every single year, on the  Friday night after Thanksgiving, Small Town closes off our main streets in the downtown area, so that everyone can mill around, jaywalk and enjoy some nighttime shopping.  It’s kind of a big deal here, as the entire town’s population shows up.  Every single year, we pop in to see Santa Claus.

This year, Thing 2 was a wee bit worried that he was actually on Santa’s Naughty List.  He kept telling me, “I’m not going to ask him for anything, in case I really AM on the Naughty List.”

I guess he knows himself pretty well.

In the end, Santa asked him what he wanted, and Thing 2 blurted out, “I want a drone and a real snow blower.”

A REAL snow blower?  He IS his dad’s boy, with the same motto of “Go big or go home.”  I just worry that Santa isn’t going to come through on that gift.

In fact, I already know that Santa laughed his head off over that and didn’t even bother to write it down on his list entitled WHAT AM I TAKING TO THING 2’S HOUSE?

Later, after we’d left Santa Claus behind, Thing 2 looked at me while he was holding my hand and asked, “Mom?  Did I ask for a drone?  Did you HEAR me ask Santa for a drone?  I was so nervous to talk to him, I don’t even remember if I asked him for that!”

Later, Thing 2 wanted to ride one of the tractor-pulled wagons, and he talked his big brother into riding it with him.

We managed to bump into EVERYONE we knew downtown on Friday night, because… well… EVERYONE WE KNEW was actually DOWNTOWN.

Thing 2 scored a skewered marshmallow, which he roasted over a fire pit in the street.  He toasted it to an absolutely picture-perfect golden, toasty brown.  It was the most beautiful marshmallow I’d ever seen come out of a campfire!  How OUR KID pulled it off, without shoving that chunk of spun sugar straight into the flames and incinerating it to black ash, is beyond me.  But, it was roasted perfection.  Thing 2 gobbled it straight down, and then he looked at me, sighed and declared, “This was the best day of my life!”

And really?  Everyone should enjoy the simple things in life, to where a toasted marshmallow and a wagon ride can give you the best day of your life.

We did a little shopping in the stores after that, roamed the street in the dark, bought the boy a pair of loafers that were on sale for Black Friday, and talked and talked to everyone we passed.

Hubs and I ended up taking Thing 2 out to eat dinner, while the boy met up with friends and stayed downtown.  Then we took our little man to the 8:00 fireworks show, where he managed to watch the FIRECRACKS without screaming like a banshee with his robe on fire this time.

We chalked it up as a Christmas miracle.

On Sunday morning, we had to WAKE this kid up for church:

The Thanksgiving holiday had taken its toll on him.

The boy and Cousin L looked kind of cute at church, so OF COURSE there was a picture.

And I couldn’t resist a picture of my boys together this morning, seeing as how the boy actually GOT UP EARLY ENOUGH to stop and smile.  That in itself was a Thanksgiving weekend miracle.

And the answer is YES.  The boy really IS wearing the same shirt today that he wore to church yesterday.  But, in his defense, he wore it for ONE HOUR on Sunday, and then he tried to take it off and throw it into the dirty clothes.

UM… SON?!  Hang that shirt back up in the closet, save your mama some unnecessary laundry work, and wear it again!

Anyway.  That’s how we spent OUR Thanksgiving Break.  What did all y’all do?

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