Thanksgiving Needs More Cowbell


Happy Thanksgiving.  It’s that tiny window in our year, wedged between summer frolic and Halloween.  I say wedged because Halloween is a full two month ordeal around our house, with decorating, planning meals for a Halloween party, designing costumes – there’s very little time for this turkey nonsense to be honest.  However it still is a time of family and friends so we find a day to squeeze it in between zombies and snowmobile polishing.  If thanksgiving has snuck up on you and you haven’t done it the honour of two weeks of planning, here’s a little piece of information to keep handy:  the grocery stores are an absolute zoo. If you have social tendencies and like to visit with people you hardly know, then this is a great time for you to shop.  What better way to spend an entire afternoon than standing in a lineup with a bag of the wrong kind of buns, (because your favourites were sold out), talking to the brother of a lady who knew your grade 12 history teacher’s wife?  This scintillating conversation really plays on the heartstrings of the social butterfly but most normal people recognize it for what it is: a complete nightmare.  At this point you may consider dropping the buns on the spot and screaming “I NEVER LIKED CARBS ANYWAY!!” and then climbing into your car and driving.  A long ways.  If you need to say “Dónde está la gasolinera más cercana” then you may be far enough, but barely.  Of course we don’t do this (usually) – instead we smile, talk about the weather and silently count the items the lady has in line ahead if you.  (Thanksgiving or not, you put down 17 items at the 15-or-less express till and you will get “THE LOOK” from me.  Fair warning).
Upon returning home I find that the real chaos is happening.  At least it appears chaotic to me.  It is, in fact, the complete opposite of chaos.   I must point out that most of the time the day to day cooking of meals in our house is done by yours truly.   These large multi-serving extravaganzas though?  Thats my wife’s department – and she is good at it.  So what looks like complete food havoc to me is actually being run with military precision.  I take notes and keep track as best I can but I really can’t keep up.  POTATOES ON AT 1:45!  STUFFING OUT AT 2:10!  The notes are detailed and exact – and leave just enough room for assumption to make sure I can screw it up.  “Well of COURSE the salad should be tossed now, in 7 minutes and 18 seconds you’ll be mashing potatoes and then the turkey will be out 36 seconds after that.  When did you THINK it would get done?”
Whew – when she’s right shes right. Really dodged a bullet there.
Like a master conductor in front of an orchestra, my wife stirs, covers, mixes and roasts a vast array of vegetables, meats, salads and desserts – all timed out to the second.  It’s actually impressive to watch, except I dont have time to enjoy the moment – I’m too busy trying to keep up with the tasks that I’ve been given.  That’s the difference with the orchestra analogy – a maestro usually has musicians that at least know how to play.  By this point I have realized that the tasks I’ve been given are ridiculously easy – she has obviously figured out my competency level, and it’s not flattering.  I’m the cowbell guy in this band.  She masterfully adds dozens of  spices and seasonings in an exact recipe of perfection while I ask questions like “how big a chunks do you want this potato cut into?” CLANG CLANG CLANG
After a couple of mistakes and near misses, my nerves are frazzled and I start to think perhaps the idea I originally had was better; I’m actually still not convinced that individual packaged TV dinners for everyone is that bad of a thought.  But just as it looks – to me at least – like all hope may be lost, my amazing wife calls everyone to the table and starts setting out this incredible meal. Turkey, stuffing, cranberries, potatoes, gravy, brusselsprouts, ceaser salad, carrots, and of course, the buns – wow!  I’m not sure how this all came together. Now if only she would let me put out the Pez dispensers that I had picked out for dessert it would be a perfect meal. I guess Chewbacca and Darth Vader will have to wait for Christmas.

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