And That’s Why We All Ate Hamburgers This Thanksgiving

Write about the only time you hosted Thanksgiving—and how it went so terribly wrong. Start with the line, “For my first Thanksgiving as host, I bought the biggest turkey they had in the store,” and end your story with “And that’s why we all ate hamburgers.”

Post your response (500 words or fewer) in the comments below.

Want more creative writing prompts? Consider:
The Writer’s Book of Matches

You might also like:

56 thoughts on “And That’s Why We All Ate Hamburgers This Thanksgiving

  1. Smileyface256

    My second ever attempt at writing from a prompt that is months old. Advice is more than welcome!

    That darned cat

    For my first Thanksgiving as host, I bought the biggest turkey in the store. I drove home and began the ritual, rubbing it with salty lemon juice and cramming in all the onions, celery and carrots I could, imagining the smell and admiration that would come when I would take it out of the oven, when the phone rang from my room.
    It was my mom asking me if everything was going all right and telling me that she would arrive at around noon tomorrow. I assured and thanked her and went back to the kitchen. The turkey was GONE! My mind turned to my roommate’s Siamese cat. Sure enough, it had somehow managed to drag the bird off the counter and behind the table.
    “YOU!!! I lunged for the cat but it leaped out of the way and I ended up clutching the raw turkey in a death grip. I jumped to my feet and ran after the cat in hot pursuit. It ran into the bathroom and I thought I had it cornered. I threw back the shower curtain and the cat JUMPED at me! OH MY GOSH! The thing was ON me! Its claws were digging into my shoulder blades! My life flashed before my eyes; I wondered if this monstrous cat with its creepy slit pupils was going to get vengeance for all the “accidentally” stepped-on tails.
    Then I heard the front door open. The cat leaped off of me and ran to the front door, leaving me panting. I staggered to the living room.
    “What happened? Are you okay?” asked Jessica.
    I must have looked pretty awful. I glared at her and pointed at the cat. “That thing has to go.”
    She looked shocked. “Why should I get rid of Pookums?” She stroked the object of my hate as it rubbed against her leg and purred.
    “Look!” I pointed to the turkey on the floor. There were just enough bites in it to ruin the whole thing. “That beast almost killed me! It would have if you didn’t come in just now!”
    “I’m sorry about the turkey, but I don’t think Pookums would ever actually kill you. Come on, he’s half your size.” The beast still rubbed against her leg, acting like the perfect little angel it wasn’t.
    “It had murder in its eyes, Jessica! Murder! Either it goes, or I go! If that thing is still here after tomorrow, I won’t be!” I stomped off to the bathroom to clean my scratches as Jessica heaved an exasperated sigh.
    After cleaning up the mess I went out to search for another turkey. By that time it was midnight and all the stores that would have one were closed. I went home and opened the freezer. Hmm, ground beef. I already had rolls, ketchup, lettuce and pickles. No one would forget this Thanksgiving.
    And that’s why we all had hamburgers.

    The cat went missing and was never seen again. I won’t say why…

  2. Joel H

    For my first Thanksgiving as host, I bought the biggest turkey they had in the store. Frozen. But quite a bird.

    It was trimmed in the cart. The lady ahead didn’t really care. She looked slightly distracted in a worn, tan, felt coat and half-brushed hair. Greyed, glasses. Arms full. Everyone’s had those days. I understand. Better leave the cart where it is.

    I thought of today’s preparations to look after, me and the cat. Yeah. Well. It’s the season and the cat gets his fair share of holiday indulgence. Leftovers. Cut straight from the bird.

    You know, for every last, unclaimed cookie or Hershey’s, this bird went home. Against all commiseration. Walmart would have countless other mighty birds for Tiny Tim this year. They’ll get one.

    This one was special. It’s mine, and the cat’s.

    Otherwise, I’d have said something. What a catch. Wonder where it came from.

    Cashier commented, though.

    Still in the cart, it rolled out to the car. Holiday traffic, frost, Country radio. It’s the season. The turn signal snapped away. Bermuda.

    Over to Toy Town. Supposedly, they have giant model train layouts in industrial warehouses in Hamburg, Germany. Seen it. Flughafen. Odd. Wobbling water. Wobbling toy yachts. I think Nosferatu was filmed in the north.

    Ding, dong. Normal, swinging door. Plod the aisle-way. Stand-by model trains? Sure. Two popular brands, wider gauge.

    Frozen puddle at the nose of the car.

    I like eating chips.

    I noticed a car beneath the marquee opposite, lights blinking. Christmas recitals. No parking there. Hmm.

    I slow to look, blocking traffic. My guess the car behind, waiting patiently to turn, has special meetings, or holiday preparations.

    Best get home. It’ll take half the day getting this stuff up the steps.

    No hardware store. There’s batteries, should electricity blink. Brr. Cold almost comes through the walls, heat dissipating. Then candles, and lighting the fireplace. City ordinances. Pshaw. Smoke billowing out on a cold winter’s evening.

    I’ve heard of severe winters, and houses not the same place without power. Find some normal life by friends or family, til things are on line.

    Boy, howdy. Tis the season.

    But bills are paid. Turkey goes up the steps, to later ruminate on the rest of the world.

    I left it on the counter.

    Now here’s where I fixed a quick cup of coffee, with a slight drip, drip of any ice left on the plastic wrap, the rock-like surface getting a mist of condensation.

    In short: the turkey didn’t get cooked til Christmas, and tomorrow, guests didn’t arrive til later.

    I left the turkey in the fridge to thaw.

    On the phone, stowing items, with a cup of soup, I was called away to the office.

    Color tests, adjustments, buried for over an hour.

    Finals made the printers.

    It’s a long story.

    Back at the house, it can be expected that everything carried on normally as a quiet, empty building, because nothing was later found amiss.

    And that’s why we all ate hamburgers.

  3. Joel H

    For my first Thanksgiving as host, I bought the biggest turkey they had in the store. Frozen. But quite a bird.

    It was trimmed in the cart. The lady ahead didn’t really care. She looked slightly distracted in a worn, tan, felt coat and half-brushed hair. Greyed, glasses. Arms full. Everyone’s had those days. I understand. Better leave the cart where it is.

    I thought of today’s preparations to look after, me and the cat. Yeah. Well. It’s the season and the cat gets his fair share of holiday indulgence. Leftovers. Cut straight from the bird.

    You know, for every last, unclaimed cookie or Hershey’s, this bird went home. Against all commiseration. Walmart would have countless other mighty birds for Tiny Tim this year. They’ll get one.

    This one was special. It’s mine, and the cat’s.

    Otherwise, I’d have said something. What a catch. Wonder where it came from.

    Cashier commented, though.

    Still in the cart, it rolled out to the car. Holiday traffic, frost, Country radio. It’s the season. The turn signal snapped away. Bermuda.

    Over to Toy Town. Supposedly, they have giant model train layouts in industrial warehouses in Hamburg, Germany. Seen it. Flughafen. Odd. Wobbling water. Wobbling toy yachts. I think Nosferatu was filmed in the north.

    Ding, dong. Normal, swinging door. Plod the aisle-way. Stand-by model trains? Sure. Two popular brands, wider gauge.

    Frozen puddle at the nose of the car.

    I like eating chips.

    I noticed a car beneath the marquee opposite, lights blinking. Christmas recitals. No parking there. Hmm.

    I slow to look, blocking traffic. My guess the car behind, waiting patiently to turn, has special meetings, or important holiday preparations.

    Best get home. It’ll take half the day getting this stuff up the steps.

    No hardware store. There’s batteries, should electricity blink. Brr. Cold almost comes through the walls, heat dissipating. Then candles, and lighting the fireplace. City ordinances. Pshaw. Smoke billowing out on a cold winter’s evening.

    I’ve heard of severe winters, and houses not the same place without power. Find some normal life by friends or family, til things are on line.

    Boy, howdy. Tis the season.

    But bills are paid. Turkey goes up the steps, to later ruminate on the rest of the world.

    I left it on the counter.

    Now here’s where I fixed a quick cup of coffee, with a slight drip, drip of any ice left on the plastic wrap, the rock-like surface getting a mist of condensation.

    In short: the turkey didn’t get cooked til Christmas, and tomorrow, guests didn’t arrive til later.

    I left the turkey in the fridge to thaw.

    On the phone, stowing items, with a cup of soup, I was called away to the office.

    Color tests, adjustments, buried for over an hour.

    Finals made the printers.

    It’s a long story.

    Back at the house, it can be expected that everything carried on normally as a quiet, empty building, because nothing was later found amiss.

    And that’s why we all ate hamburgers.

  4. Joel H

    For my first Thanksgiving as host, I bought the biggest turkey they had in the store. Frozen. But quite a bird.

    It was trimmed in the cart. The lady ahead didn’t really care. She looked slightly distracted in a worn, tan, felt coat and half-brushed hair. Greyed, glasses. Arms full. Everyone’s has those days. I understand. Better leave the cart where it is.

    I thought of today’s preparations to look after, me and the cat. Yeah. Well. It’s the season and the cat gets his fair share of holiday indulgence. Leftovers. Cut straight from the bird.

    You know. For every last, unclaimed cookie or Hershey’s, this bird went home. Against all commiseration. Walmart would have countless other mighty birds for Tiny Tim this year. They’ll get one.

    This one was special. It’s mine, and the cat’s.

    Otherwise, I’d have said something. What a catch. Wonder where it came from.

    Cashier commented, though.

    Still in the cart, it rolled out to the car. Holiday traffic, frost, Country radio. It’s the season. The turn signal snapped away. Bermuda.

    Over to Toy Town. Supposedly, they have giant model train layouts in industrial warehouses in Hamburg, Germany. Seen it. Flughafen. Odd. Wobbling water. Wobbling toy yachts. I think Nosferatu was filmed in the north.

    Ding, dong. Normal, swinging door. Plod the aisle-way. Stand-by model trains? Sure. Two popular brands, wider gauge.

    Frozen puddle at the nose of the car.

    I like eating chips.

    I noticed a car beneath the marquee opposite, lights blinking. Christmas recitals. No parking there. Hmm.

    I slow to look, blocking traffic. My guess the car behind, waiting patiently to turn, has special meetings, or important holiday preparations.

    Best get home. It’ll take half the day getting this stuff up the steps.

    No hardware store. There’s batteries, should electricity blink. Brr. Cold almost comes through the walls, heat dissipating. Then candles, and lighting the fireplace. City ordinances. Pshaw. Smoke billowing out on a cold winter’s evening.

    I’ve heard of severe winters, and houses not the same place without power. Find some normal life by friends or family, til things are on line.

    Boy, howdy. Tis the season.

    But bills are paid. Turkey goes up the steps, to later ruminate on the rest of the world.

    I left it on the counter.

    Now here’s where I fixed a quick cup of coffee, with a slight drip, drip of any ice left on the plastic wrap, the rock-like surface getting a mist of condensation.

    In short: the turkey didn’t get cooked til Christmas, and tomorrow, guests didn’t arrive til later.

    I left the turkey in the fridge to thaw.

    On the phone, stowing items, with a cup of soup, I was called away to the office.

    Color tests, adjustments, buried for over an hour.

    Finals made the printers.

    It’s a long story.

    Back at the house, it can be expected that everything carried on normally as a quiet, empty building, because nothing was later found amiss.

    And that’s why we all ate hamburgers.

  5. Joel H

    For my first Thanksgiving as host, I bought the biggest turkey they had in the store. Frozen. But quite a bird.

    The lady ahead didn’t really care. It was trimmed in the cart. She looked slightly distracted in a worn, tan, felt coat and half-brushed hair. Greyed, glasses. Arms full. Everyone’s had those days. I understand. Better leave the cart where it is.

    I thought of today’s preparations to look after, me and the cat. Yeah. Well. It’s the season and the cat gets his fair share of holiday indulgence. Leftovers. Cut straight from the bird.

    You know. For every last, unclaimed cookie or Hershey’s, this bird went home. Against all commiseration. Walmart would have countless other mighty birds for Tiny Tim this year. They’ll get one.

    This one was special. It’s mine, and the cat’s.

    Otherwise, I’d have said something. What a catch. Wonder where it came from.

    Cashier commented, though.

    Still in the cart, it rolled out to the car. High traffic, frost, Country radio. It’s the season. The turn signal snapped away. Bermuda.

    Over to Toy Town. Supposedly, they have giant model train layouts in industrial warehouses in Hamburg, Germany. Seen it. Flughafen. Odd. Wobbling water. Wobbling toy yachts. I think Nosferatu was filmed the north.

    Ding, dong. Normal, swinging door. Plod the aisle-way. Stand-by model trains? Sure. Two popular brands, wider gauge.

    Frozen puddle at the nose of the car.

    I like eating chips.

    I noticed a car beneath the marquee opposite, lights blinking. Christmas recitals. No parking there. Hmm.

    I slow to look, blocking traffic. My guess the patient car behind, waiting to turn, has special meetings, or important holiday preparations.

    Best get home. It’ll take half the day getting this stuff up the steps.

    No hardware store. There’s batteries, should electricity blink. Brr. Cold almost comes through the walls, heat dissipating. Then candles, and lighting the fireplace. City ordinances. Pshaw. Smoke billowing out on a cold winter’s evening.

    I’ve heard of severe winters, and houses not the same place without power. Find some normal life by friends or family, til things are on line.

    Boy, howdy. Tis the season.

    But bills are paid. Turkey goes up the steps, to later ruminate on the rest of the world.

    I left it on the counter.

    Now here’s where I fixed a quick cup of coffee, with a slight drip, drip of any ice left on the plastic wrap, the rock-like surface getting a mist of condensation.

    In short: the turkey didn’t get cooked til Christmas, and tomorrow, guests didn’t arrive til later.

    I left the turkey in the fridge to thaw.

    On the phone, stowing items, with a cup of soup, I was called away to the office.

    Color tests, adjustments, buried for over an hour.

    Finals made the printers.

    It’s a long story.

    Back at the house, it can be expected that everything carried on normally as a quiet, empty building, because nothing was later found amiss.

    And that’s why we all ate hamburgers.

  6. Joel H

    For my first Thanksgiving as host, I bought the biggest turkey they had in the store. Frozen. But quite a bird.

    The lady ahead of me didn’t seem to care. I had it in my shopping cart, already with trimmings, a can of salt, makings for sauce, produce. She was looking a little distracted in a worn, tan, felt coat and half brushed hair. Greyed with glasses. Things in her arms. We’ve all had days like that. I understand. Better leave the cart where it is.

    I had the day’s preparations in mind, activities for the day to look after, me and the cat. Yeah. Well. It’s the season and the cat gets his fair share of holiday indulgence. Leftovers. Cut straight from the bird.

    You know. Of all the times that the last cookie or Hershey’s kiss is left in the plate, I decided this bird was going home. Against all commiseration. Tiny Tim’s family was just going to have to shop at Walmart to get one of the other countless mighty birds there are in America this year. They’ll get one.

    This one was special. It was mine, and the cat’s.

    Otherwise I’d have mentioned something to the next person in line. Look at the catch. Wonder where it came from.

    Many comments at the cashier, though. It stayed in the cart and rolled out to the car. Traffic was higher at this time of year. And weather colder. Breath in the air, and puffy exhaust pipes from cold cars. One can’t pass on the chance to put on a Country and Western station at this point and stare past the frost at the turn out, waiting for traffic. It’s the season. The turn signal snaps away. Bermuda.

    There were lots of things to do. I’d bought much. It was time to cross over and down to Toy Town. I hear they have great big, model train layouts in one of those industrial warehouses in Hamburg, Germany. Seen it. Flughafen. Odd. Wobbling water. Wobbling toy yachts. I think Nosferatu was filmed in a northern town.

    Ding, dong. A normal door, not modern, going in. I plod the aisle way. Let us tell you all about the stand-by in model train engines. Most go with this brand or the other, wider gauge.

    Frozen puddle at the nose of the car.

    I like eating chips.

    I noticed a car parked beneath the theater marquee opposite, with the blinking lights. Christmas recitals coming up. There usually isn’t traffic parked there. Hmm.

    A slow drive by to look, traffic backing up behind. My guess the car waiting patiently behind me to turn is going to a special meeting, or important holiday preparations.

    Best get home. It will take half the day getting this stuff out of the car and up the steps.

    I would stop at the hardware store for batteries, but I should have enough, should the electricity go out on a cold evening or night. Brr. Eventually the cold starts to almost come through the walls when the left-over heat dissipates. Then it’s candles, and a light in the fireplace. No one will bug me about city ordinances then. Pshaw. Smoke billowing out on a cold winter’s evening.

    I’ve heard stories of power going out in significant winter weather and the houses are not the same place without the utilities. Time to find some normal life by some friends or family, til things come back on line.

    Boy, howdy. Tis the season.

    But we’re paying the bills now. And this turkey makes it up the steps, to later ruminate on the rest of the world.

    I left it on the counter.

    Now here is where I fixed up a quick cup of coffee, with a slight drip, drip of any ice left on the plastic wrap, the rock-like surface getting a mist of condensation.

    In short: the turkey didn’t get cooked til Christmas, and on the day following today, the guests didn’t arrive til a later time than expected.

    I left the turkey in the fridge to thaw.

    While on the phone and disposing with the other shopping items, I made a cup of soup. I was called away to the office to look over some printing material.

    Comps, preliminary print outs, color adjustment.

    I was buried there for more than an hour.

    The finals made it out to the printers.

    It’s a long story.

    Back at the house, it can be expected that everything carried on normally as a quiet, empty building, because nothing was later found amiss.

    And that’s why we all ate hamburgers.

  7. penney

    For my first Thanksgiving as host, I bought the biggest turkey they had at the store. The invitations were sent out and all the family was coming. Nothing was going to stop me from doing this.

    It all started when my cousin said that I couldn’t handle the pressure of doing the whole Thanksgiving situation; though I said I could prove him wrong. We lived in a small apartment so the smell of the turkey and other fixings cooking made it hard for me and my husband to not snack. I had to keep my husband away from the kitchen.

    As for the guest, my mother arrived early to help. My Aunt Sam was not going to make it because she has to go back on ship tonight. I never expect her but I always hope. One of these days maybe she will show up. I don’t have time to think too much on it because; I’m still cooking the turkey and getting the mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, stuffing, and cranberries finished.

    Now it was almost time for the family to arrive and the turkey was still in the oven! I couldn’t tell if it was almost done or not. It seemed I forgot to set the timer. While I stepped out for a quick breath of air, all hell broke loose. From inside the apartment my husband yelled.

    “Allison, get in here quick! Fire, the damned turkey is on fire!” He and my mom were dancing a hilarious jig in the kitchen swinging their arms and grabbing what they could to put the fire out. Then with a heave and a hoe I tossed the fruit juice bowl at the open oven door. Steam rose everywhere and the bird was drenched.

    Just then my grandparents had arrived and I knew that my other aunts and uncles weren’t too far behind. Of course my twin cousins get here right when this is happening so, everything is now up in smoke and there is no way I’m saving this occasion. I passed around drinks and apologized as the smoke filtered out the patio window. I came to the conclusion that doing the whole Thanksgiving dinner is not for me. I’ll just blow up all the birds, bum food off of my family and hear gobble jokes forever. That’s why we all ate hamburgers.

  8. Tia

    For my first Thanksgiving as host, I bought the biggest turkey they had in the store. Of course, I didn’t tell my family that it was actually made from tofu.

    It was a delicate little item, that Tofurky. Soft, spongy, and moist like that of a freshly baked pound cake (minus the delectable smell).

    I set the oven to three-hundred degrees and proceeded with finishing the side dishes, the pies, and the elaborate, intricate details of the festive designs. As I was finishing the last touches on the reddish-brown place settings, I heard the chimes of my doorbell.

    I took a deep breath, and walked towards the door.

    Anxiety over the main event had yet to set in, and I greeted my family and friends with all of the common normalities. We hugged, kissed, and embraced one another in only the way that family can. The last to arrive were my dear aunt and uncle, and their two gorgeous terriers – Toto and Teetee.

    As the time neared for dinner, we proceeded to the dining room to enjoy our meal. I set the lights to dim, lit the dinner candles, and we waited for grace to be said.

    “Everything is perfect!” I thought to myself with much pomposity.

    And then… then began a quick series of unfortunate events.

    As my uncle came in the room to say grace, he accidentally stepped on one of the dogs lying on the floor. A yip and a bark later, the dog ran towards my dog-phobic great-aunt. In fear of being bitten, by the small dog, she quickly jumped onto her chair – disregarding the fact that she had tucked the tablecloth into her blouse. This, in turn, knocked a few dishes off of the table, and spilled others. At this point, everyone was to their feet, trying to save the food, and preventing possible incineration from fallen candles. Then, my great-aunt, of whom was still standing aghast in her chair, jumped onto the table in an effort to get away from a walking dog (my dear nephew who thought he would spook my aunt further). The table tipped, and well, any option of amelioration was now completely lost.

    It was then that I remembered my one saving grace – the Tofurky in the oven. Thanksgiving would be saved!

    “It’s okay; I still have the turkey!” I exclaimed.

    As my family begun to pick-up what they could, and place the table back in an upright position, I hurried into the kitchen. I returned to the dining room, where everyone was still gathering their composure. I placed the Tofurky onto the table, happy with the fact that they now had to eat the Tofurky – what else could they eat?

    There was not a single word uttered. Then one by one, my family looked at me as if it were my fault that the day was ruined.

    And that’s why we all ate hamburgers.

  9. l24y

    For my first Thanksgiving as host, I bought the biggest turkey they had in the store. I had to fight with two unnerved old women, a weary man that had just come from work, and an animated little boy for it; but I was determined to bring the poultry home. My apartment was, for the first time in three years, completely clean. I had spent a week dusting and mopping and throwing things out, but it was definitely worth it. The place had been decorated with cute little turkeys and plastic colorful leaves, and the only thing I needed now was the food.
    My shopping cart is filled to the top with appetizers and ingredients. I don’t know what half of it is, only know that they are the items from my mother’s old shopping list. I also know that I have to impress everyone that’s coming over, and I only have twenty four hours to do it.
    I quickly pay for my items, throw the fifty-three plastic grocery bags into the back of my friend’s van, and go slightly over the speed limit on the way home. I stop to buy three coffees- God knows I’d need them. When I reach the apartment, I have to call my neighbor out to help me carry the surplus of bags up the four flights of steps and down the long hallway. We manage it in two trips, and I thank her and send her on her way. I quickly set to work, calling my mother up as I unpack the groceries, and she kindly walks me through every step.
    At midnight, I finally finish and pack away all the ready food. The fridge is overfull with deviled eggs, jars of pickles, and dough for rolls. I thankfully sink onto the couch, turn the TV on, and fall asleep listening to the drone of the news channel.

    An annoying beeping wakes me up. The clock beneath the TV set read one-thirty in the morning. My mind is groggy, and I can’t immediately place what the beeping is. Until it hits me- the fire alarm. Smoke is clogging up the ceiling of the apartment, and I can hardly breathe. I sprint into the kitchen and moan at the horrible sight of smoke rolling out of the small oven. I yank on the conveniently placed oven mitts and throw open the oven’s door and turning it off.
    I cough at the overwhelming stench of burnt meat. My heart sinks as I see my beautiful Thanksgiving turkey destroyed. I pull it out, careful not to burn myself, and toss it in the sink. I run the water, air out the apartment, and once I’m sure everything’s ok, I sprint down the stairs. I forget to take off my slippers and replace them with shoes, or put on my makeup, or even change out of my pajamas.
    I reach the nearby convenience store, hoping to get a last-minute turkey. I don’t see any, and ask if there are any in the back. The man at the counter sleepily shakes his head and apologizes, and I race the next store, and the next, and the next. It’s four in the morning by the time I get home, heart completely broken. I fall limply onto the couch and cry myself back to sleep.

    I don’t wake up until it’s nearly three, my phone repeatedly buzzing. I answer it groggily, and am surprised to hear my friends will be here in a half hour. I quickly wake and take a shower. I have five minutes, the clock says, and I throw on my already made outfit. I hear the doorbell ring, and decide I looked fine without my makeup, although it wasn’t entirely true.
    I answer the door, looking rumpled and out of breath. My friends give me a few more minutes to get ready, out of sympathy, and then it’s time to eat. We all sit down, and I smile at them widely. They’d all be so impressed by the- the food! I bold up, apologize over and over, nearly in tears again. They laugh it off and say it’s fine, even though the food will never be ready in time. We only had an hour together, before everyone separated to spend time with their families.
    I pathetically offer to buy everyone some food at a nearby restaurant, and they all agree whole-heartedly. The only thing open, though, was a McDonalds, which we decided was good enough. And that’s why we all ate hamburgers on our first ever Thanksgiving together.

  10. Ben Waschke

    For my first Thanksgiving as host, I bought the biggest turkey in the store. It turned out only a few family members could make it over, so my monster bird was a bit excessive. As usual with holiday encounters, Cousin Bob was in the living room sleeping off whatever he had filled his coffee mug with that morning. Aunt Ruby and Uncle Ted were arguing over what to watch on TV and the kids were playing in their rooms. Unfortunately I had to run to the store for a few last minute items. What I returned home to was “interesting” to say the least. Apparently Cousin Bob (who is an experimental pathologist for the CDC) woke up and injected the 40 pound turkey with an experimental solution that reanimated the lifeless bird and the damn thing was chasing the cat around the house. The sight of a plucked, headless turkey waddling around on foot-less legs triggered a Vietnam flashback in Uncle Ted, who was crouched behind the entertainment center wearing a stainless steel colander as a helmet, using a baguette as a rifle and barking orders for reinforcements into the Wii remote. Aunt Ruby had once again forgotten to take her pills and was filling the baby’s diaper with stuffing (luckily I got to her before she placed the giggling infant into the oven). By that time our reanimated main entree had turned its attention from the cat to little Johnny and was sitting on the poor child’s chest slapping him with stubby useless wings. Just as I managed to wrestle the baseball bat out of Johnny’s sisters hands (who was posed to swing down at the antagonistic bird), a loud speaker sounded from the front lawn. Apparently all the commotion inside the house could be heard from several houses down and the police were in the yard trying to convince Uncle Ted to come down off the roof and to “please stop throwing dinner rolls like grenades.” Aunt Ruby was the first one out the door and by the time I reached her she was insistently trying to persuade the police to dance naked with her. After a 45 minute standoff with Uncle Ted, the chemical compound had worn off on the bird, which had come to a lifeless halt perched on top of the flag pole. Once the smoke cleared, the police chief gave me ticket for disturbing the peace and a confident “see you at Christmas”. And that’s why we all ate hamburgers for dinner.

  11. mjsca07

    For my first Thanksgiving as host, I bought the biggest turkey they had in the store. I returned home, excited to be the hero of Thanksgiving. I had visions of smiles and pats on the back from all the guests slated to come over.

    I eyeballed how much room I needed in the fridge and took out a shelf, so as to not confine the bird. I was excited for everyone to open the fridge when they returned home and see the beast I had bested all others at the store for (I pretended not to notice an old woman admiring it as I hefted it out of the cooler).

    I walked to the counter to haul the bird into the fridge. What I saw shocked and infuriated me. Someone took the bird from the counter. The first suspect in mind was my 17 year old son. I looked around to see where he could’ve exited the kitchen. I made a mental note to be sure he would be served ramen noodles for the feast, but with mere sprinkles of the tasty bird. I peered around the corner and thought I would catch him going upstairs. The feeling that overcame me could only be compared to experiencing impending doom. My mind grasped to register either fear or shock.

    The turkey was at the door, attempting to open it. The featherless, white, small boulder sized bird had its wings on the doorknob, trying to turn it. It felt like an eternity watching the bird trying to grasp the brass handle with slimy, pale appendages which were supposed to be my feast the next day.

    It suddenly stopped and froze. It looked like a movie, where the victim stops doing whatever they’re doing, realizing the killer was right behind them. The giant bird turned around. The headless neck, which was supposed to be detached, had protruded from the dark cavity and looked at me. My brain told my lungs to stop breathing, a defense mechanism most likely, as the bird walked towards me and picked up speed only a few feet away. I turned in terror and ran.

    I tried to dart around the corner towards the garage. Something tripped me and I fell flat on my face, my head inches away from slamming though the glass backdoor. The turkey catapulted off my back and smashed through the glass, leaving the shards to fall around my face and ears. I pretended to be unconscious to try and save my life.

    I got up when I realized it was gone. A few scratches, a bleeding nose, and bruised chin were the aftermath. My family got home right after I bandaged myself and the door.
    I told them I tripped over myself into the door. I wasn’t the hero, I was the victim. Everyone was just happy I wasn’t seriously injured. I said that I couldn’t stomach turkey for the dinner. The guests were disappointed, but understood. And that’s why we all ate hamburgers.

  12. Icabu

    “For my first Thanksgiving as host, I bought the biggest turkey they had in the store,” I boasted.

    “Yeah, sure,” Lil said as she tore off a slat from one of the pallets we’d dragged down from the warehouse on Shore Road and dropped it into the fire barrel. “And I bought twenty pecan pies, too.”

    “Yum,” Ed said, his three teeth showing as he grinned. “I love pecan pie.” He scratched his wiry, matted hair, “I think.”

    Lil patted Ed’s hand. “Sure do, hon. With piles of whipped cream.”

    “Yeah.” Ed stared at the revived flames licking above the barrel’s rim.

    “Hey,” I growled, “it’s my story and I can have the biggest turkey if I want to.”

    “What’d you do, poke a stick up its butt and roast it over a barrel?” Lil howled at her joke.

    This time my stomach growled. Thinking about food wasn’t very filling.

    “You going down to the shelter for the big meal?” Lil asked.

    I shrugged. The food was good, but I didn’t like the pushing and shoving. And last year there was a spiffy TV reporter sticking her microphone in everyone’s face and the camera with its glaring light in your eyes, asking for everyone’s life story. The reporter didn’t really care. Sometimes life just dealt real shitty cards.

    Bud came running into our little hovel under the Water Street bridge. He shook the sleet from his tattered jacket.

    “I got us something special,” Bud announced. He pulled a package out from under several layers of grimy clothes.

    We all gathered around the barrel to see. Everyone’s face lit up with smiles. Lil had tears on her cheeks.

    “The expiration date is today,” Bud exclaimed. “It musta been fate that told me to dig in the dumpster behind Joel’s Market tonight.”

    The smell of cooked fresh meat still clung in the damp, chilly air hours after we’d had our feast.

    “Everyone was buying up all those turkeys at the market,” Lil said.

    “Which made more throw-outs when Joel closed early today,” added Bud.

    I smiled, rubbing my full tummy. “And that’s why we all ate hamburgers.”

  13. Kaz Gatis

    For my first Thanksgiving as host, I bought the biggest turkey they had in the store. I wasn’t sure exactly what a turkey was but the human … man behind the counter was very helpful. As I stood in line to exchange currency for my turkey I noted that many people had turkeys of varying sizes in their large metal baskets on wheels and this generated good feelings about my skills in blending in.

    When I arrived at my house I was greeted with concern by the other members of my group.

    “We have to cook it,” I was informed. “It needs to be heated to an internal temperature of 170 to 180 degrees.”

    “But that will require a source of heat,” I said in alarm, “Inside a house made of wood!”

    “We have been looking into alternate methods of heating the turkey.”

    “Couldn’t we build a fire outside?” I suggested.

    It was agreed that this was a brilliant idea and so we went about discussing how big a fire we would need and what we would use as a combustible material to feed the fire. It was decided that since we didn’t use the provided table and chairs these would make an excellent fire to cook the turkey.

    In our back yard we carefully piled the chairs and table in such as way as our turkey could have a place of pride on top. We had learned that gasoline was an excellent fire starter and one of my group tipped the gas out of the small bladed motor that had been provided to cut grass. It worked excellently as with one match we had what I thought was an impressive fire.

    With great ceremony the bird was brought from the house and placed on top.

    “How do we know when it has reached an internal temperature of 170 to 180 degrees?”

    We were pondering this very dilemma when we heard sirens approaching. We had all heard this jarring sound before but this time it stopped in the street at the front of our house.

    To our astonishment several men came running into our backyard carrying a hose! Before we could protest they were pouring fire on our Thanksgiving turkey!

    As we stood there, unsure what to do, another man in uniform came up to me.

    “Haven’t been out in the world very long, have you?” the man asked.

    “We were released from quarantine 4 days ago,” I replied.

    The man sighed, “This is the third fire we’ve put out today. I appreciate the effort your kind are putting into getting into the spirit of things but I just wish someone at the Assimilation Centre had taught you how to cook!”

    I looked at our ruined Thanksgiving dinner. “What should we do?”

    The man scratched his chin thoughtfully for a moment, “Have you tried hamburgers yet? There’s a place just outside the community that sells them. Just look for the big gold M.”

    And that’s why we all ate hamburgers.

  14. hillsworth

    For my first Thanksgiving as host, I bought the biggest turkey they had in the store, along with a Cornish Game Hen. When I placed them in the cart, my wife rolled her eyes and shook her head.

    “You’re not serious, are you?” she asked.

    With a smirk on my face, I answered, “Absolutely.”

    “You know she’ll freak out?”

    “Yep.”

    “Okay, but this is all on you.” She waved her hands out it front of her, signifying the fact that she wanted nothing to do with my plan.

    “Come on. It’ll be fun.” I replied.

    “Yeah, fun. Haha…”

    Late that evening, I stuffed both birds, getting them ready to cook, then headed to bed. Since the turkey was so large, I set the alarm for three-thirty in the morning so I could get it in the oven, giving it plenty of time to be ready for a one o’clock dinner.

    Our guests began to roll in around eleven thirty, starting with my youngest sister, who always came early enough to roll out and cut homemade noodles and make her famous lumpy mashed potatoes. At noon, Mom and Dad showed up with their traditional casserole dish of coconut-pecan sweet potatoes and a cherry cobbler for dessert. My oldest sister and her family followed close behind, toting a basket full of rolls and a veggie tray.

    Aunts and uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews, all filed through the door in a steady wave. Conversations were held, the television was locked on football, the level of each periodically elevated to out-do the other. In essence, our home was in chaos.

    At five minutes to one, my Dad pulled me aside and handed me a paper sack. I peered inside and my eyes lit up. Pulling it out, I unwrapped the cloth and gazed for a moment at the copper cowbell that my grandfather had made specifically for Thanksgiving Day. It had been calling my family to dinner every Thanksgiving for nearly eighty years, and finally, the honor was mine.

    Chitter-chatter stopped and the television was turned off as I proudly rang the bell. Everyone piled into the dining room and found a seat around the conglomeration of tables. Grace was short and sweet but long enough to cover all bases.

    I handed a spoon to my oldest sister and asked, “You were always the best at this part, would you mind doing the unstuffing? I smiled my best smart-alec smile for her and she reciprocated as she yanked the spoon out of my hand.

    My wife suddenly became very engrossed in her empty plate and refused to look up. On the third scoop, Sis stopped and got everyone’s attention by saying “Uh-oh.” She reached inside the cavity and pulled out the little stuffed game hen, staring in horror.

    All I said was, “It must have been pregnant.”

    She was so mad, the turkey left the table at roughly ninety miles an hour and exploded against the wall, and that’s why we all ate hamburgers.

  15. cj1593

    For my first Thanksgiving as host, I bought the biggest turkey they had in the store. I was having my new in-laws over for the holiday and wanted to dazzle them with my culinary skills.
    The morning of Thanksgiving, eager to get the cooking underway, I sprang out of bed and strode into the kitchen.
    “Meow,” Midnight sang loudly as she weaved around my legs.
    My husband Mark, an animal lover, had brought Midnight and a parrot named Diablo with him into our relationship.
    “I know, fur face, you’re hungry,” I said as I opened a can of cat food.
    The cat fed, I began my preparations for dinner. I had just finished washing the turkey, when Mark came up behind me and planted a kiss on my shoulder.
    “How’s it going?” he asked, nuzzling my neck.
    “So far, so good,” I said and turned around to return the embrace.
    “I just got off the phone with Kate,” he said. “Per your request, I asked that she give Damian a nap before coming over.” Kate was Mark’s sister and Damian was her 3 year old son. He was a holy terror if he didn’t get a nap. “She assured me that she would,” he said.
    “Good,” I said and gave him a quick kiss. “I don’t want anything to ruin our first Thanksgiving together.”
    “And nothing will,” he promised. After a peck on the forehead, he turned and left me to my work.
    As I turned back, I stood stunned for a moment. Midnight was on the counter and she was licking the turkey. “Hey!” I yelled and swished her off the counter. “Bad cat!”
    Grateful that no one was around to see, hurriedly, I washed the turkey off.
    Later that afternoon, the heavenly aroma of freshly baked pumpkin pie wafted through the house, as I placed the last of the food onto the dining room table. I was about to call everyone to the table when I heard a loud “squawk” come from the den. “What the…?” I muttered. Uneasy, I went to investigate.
    Much to my chagrin, I saw Damian holding the bird’s cage door open. An impish grin lit his little face as the frantic bird flew clumsily over my head. “Oh my God!” I shrieked and ducked.
    As we all scrambled to catch the bird, he flew into the dining room. The cat hot on his tail. He landed gracelessly on the table, toddled toward the turkey and climbed on top of it.
    “Get him!” I yelled to Mark, waving my hands frenetically.
    Midnight was the first to react and jumped onto the table. She rushed the bird, knocking glasses over in her wake.
    “Ha ha,” Diablo squawked as he again took flight.
    Shocked, I watched in horror as green and white goo drip languidly down the side of the beautiful golden brown skin of the turkey. Evidently, the cat had literally scared the crap out of him.
    And that’s why we all ate hamburgers.

  16. Morgan Le Fables

    For my first Thanksgiving as host, I bought the biggest turkey they had in the store. My plan was to get in and out of the supermarket without any detours, browsing or shop lifting.

    Yet as I reached the entrance of the store – having purchased the holiday poultry – I spun around and made a bee-line straight to the wine section, sweat beading on my brow as I snatched up a shopping trolley along the way.

    Up to this point I’d felt in control of my kleptomania. Through weekly therapy sessions, I’d begun to feel confident enough to shop without my husband in tow. What I hadn’t counted on was how stressful hosting thanksgiving would be, the pressure managing to churn up my anxiety.

    As I browsed the store shelves, one careful eye on the CCTV camera, I felt that long-familiar urge to capture a bottle of wine and slip it into my purse. Running a hand through my hair, as I took a shaky deep breath, I knew I had to call my therapist.

    Fumbling about in my purse, my hands trembled as I searched for my cell phone, finding it at the very bottom of my bag. Pressing the speed dial number, I soon held the phone tight to my ear, my other hand grasping the bar of the shopping trolley so tightly, the knuckles of my hand turned a taut pale grey.

    “Sarah?” I choked back a sob of relief as the voice on the other end – my therapist Janice – answered the phone.

    I swallowed thickly before answering. “Yes, its Sarah” my voice was barely above a whisper as I guardedly glanced around at the other shoppers in the store. “I’m really struggling right now.” My eyes were awash with unbidden tears as I began to pace back and forth in the aisle.

    “Tell me,” Janice spoke soothingly. “What are you thinking right now, specifically?”

    “That its starting again. That I will never stop.”

    “I was in the same position you are in right now.” Janice replied. “Struggling to overcome my alcohol addiction, fighting for myself and my family.”

    My therapist hesitated for a few moments, pausing long enough that it interrupted my back and forth trek mid-stride. “Sarah you have done so much work,” Janice eventually continued. “You’ve come so far. The fact that you are on the phone to me right now proves that you are doing everything you can to not fall back into those old habits.”

    “When did you recognise that you had to change?” I started to moving again, drifting out of the aisle, leaving the empty shopping trolley behind.

    “The Christmas my family ate hamburgers for dinner.” As I made my way towards the exit, I listened as Janice uttered a short self-depreciating laugh.

    “Why hamburgers?” I asked curiously.

    “It was my fault.” Janice began. “I was so drunk back then I barely knew where I was half the time. That particular Christmas I burned the turkey and almost set the kitchen on fire. So my husband went to the local 7-Eleven, bought some burgers, and brought out the barbecue.”

    Janice sighed heavily. “We all stood outside, wrapped in jumpers and coats and had a Christmas barbecue. It was nice, in a strange way.” I nodded in understanding, walking out of the store as Janice concluded her story. “And that’s why we all ate hamburgers.”

    ————————————————————————————————————–

    Authors Note : Not the jolliest of holiday season stories, but I felt it ended on a hopeful note.

  17. Kerrie

    For my first Thanksgiving as host, I bought the biggest turkey they had in the store. That’s what I told everyone anyway.

    “Really. It was the biggest one they had left,” I said, leaning over a pot of popping cranberries and inhaling. I pretended I couldn’t see my sister squinting, staring me down.

    “Well, if that’s what they had, then that’s what they had. Come help me tie this tiny turkey up,” said my mom, giggling. Oblivious, as usual. Love that about her.

    Standing next to her at the sink, though, I felt bad. Anybody with any sort of fowl experience could see this was most definitely not a turkey, but a chicken. And not even a big chicken because I stupidly went with a natural, non-plumped one. Grain-fed, cage-free. I may be trying to pass this pathetic bird off as a turkey, but at least I can sleep at night knowing it had a good little life.

    I imagined it pecking around in a field with its chicken friends. Wait. Do chickens have friends? How can they tell who’s who? Especially those all-white chickens? Are they like dogs? Do they sniff butts? I laughed in my head.

    The cracking of bones brought me back to attention in time to see my mom taking the second skimpy wing with her bare hands and tucking it behind the poor dead chicken’s naked, plucked body. Snap crack snap!

    I didn’t notice my sister leaving the kitchen because I was too busy assisting with the rope-tying of a turkey that’s actually a chicken. But I did notice her returning because she was waving the plastic chicken package (that was IN THE GARBAGE, by the way) in the air screaming, “Aha! Aha! I KNEW it! I KNEW it!” and cackling like a little witch.

    Lunging at her, I grabbed for it, but she whipped it away. Suddenly, I was slipping on, what I think now, was some chicken juice. My foot went forward and my body went backward, and then I heard another crack that was less like a chicken wing and more like the back of my head on the edge of the sink. I stayed on the floor, stunned. Then I looked up at my guests, pulling the most pathetic face possible.

    My sister’s mouth was tightly shut. For once. My mom was bracing herself with the edge of the counter. So shocked by my lie, she was about to pass out.

    “I’m sorry,” I said. “I just don’t like turkey. I know you all do, but turkey is just disgusting. Sorry. I didn’t want to fail at my first Thanksgiving.” I gave them a moment, but nobody said anything. “Turkey’s just so, so, so…dry.”

    “You moron,” said my sister. “You ruined the turk…chicken.” I followed the end of her pointing finger to a horrific scene. A raw turkey, I mean chicken, covered in blood. That’s the last thing I remember from that morning. And that’s why we all ate hamburgers.

  18. sarahbecker

    For my first Thanksgiving as host, I bought the biggest turkey they had in the store. It didn’t take long for me to lug it up to the fifteenth floor – the elevators were broken in my apartment. My husband was already standing at the kitchen counter chopping onions. He was so focused he never saw me walk through the door. Which was unfortunate, and I really and truly do blame his ability to focus on one thing mindlessly for the Destruction of Thanksgiving 2010.

    It was with his back turned that I flailed about trying to keep the door propped open while carrying in a twenty-five pound turkey. I suppose I can also blame Dave for the fact that it was his idea I go get the turkey – me, the clumsiest person in our family, who got straight A’s in dropping, losing, tripping, flailing, and most important disaster creating.

    So in other words, I dropped the turkey. The twenty-five pound turkey I paid thirty-five ninety eight for.

    “AGUAH!” I exclaimed.

    Dave kept choppin’ those onions.

    “AWWWW! NO!!!!” I tried again, dropping my arms back and screaming at the ceiling.

    My deaf, blind, mother looked up.

    He did not.

    I stared at his back thinking about that article I read about how people can feel if you’re staring at them.

    Nothing.

    “DAVE!” I said. He turned to look at me. He smiled. Then he noticed the turkey.

    “Oh no.” He said, his smile drooping. “Don’t tell me you dropped it.”

    “Okay,” I said. I walked over to him leaving the turkey on the ground.

    His eyes followed me, his knife raised in the air as though he were prepared to know focus on the act of cutting oxygen atoms.

    “You shouldn’t have sent me.” I retorted. Or I suppose I simply torted since he hadn’t said anything I could respond to.

    He rolled his eyes, “You could’ve picked it up.”

    I rolled my eyes, “It’s done, it’s on the ground, we’re not eating it.”

    Placing his hand, with the knife, on the counter and his other hand on his hip he said, “We can always get another one. It’s thanksgiving.”

    “I know what day it is.” I walked around him, purposefully bumping into his elbow. “We don’t have to eat Turkey.”

    “Turkey is the greatest tradion we have in America.” He argued. He stuck his knife into the rest of the onion to free up his other hand to place on his other hip.

    He looked like his mother.

    “So is divorce.” I looked him square in the eye.

    He swallowed sharply and returned to chopping his onion. He took a deep breath before responding, “Well, what else can we eat with these onions?”

    “Hotdogs, hamburgers, meatloaf.” I said, “All great America traditions too.”

    “Fine.” He said. Then he slammed his knife on the counter and without looking at me he said, “I’ll take a divorce with a side of Hamburger.”

    And that’s why we all ate hamburgers.

  19. peetaweet

    For my first Thanksgiving as a host, I bought the biggest turkey they had in the store. As newlyweds, Carol and I wanted to start our own traditions and customs, so we decided to call up the family and let them know our intentions. To our surprise, both her mother and my father were up for the event.

    The day reared its dreary head on that third Thursday in November, we settled at the table, scooting and settling as the smells hovered waking my stomach with the promising scents of the season. I gave my father the honors of the blessing, which he declined, so I put a few words together and quickly completed my first Thanksgiving blessing without much fanfare. It was when I sat down that I noticed it, the subtle, yet discernible smile from my wife’s mother in the direction of my father. I cleared my throat softly, attempting to assuage the growing lump forming in my throat.

    The small talk began in earnest as napkins were placed in laps and faux compliments were made to the chef. Flustered, I dropped my napkin on the floor, bending down to pick it up before my dogs, Cosmo and Kramer could snatch it. It was then I made the second unsettling discovery in as many minutes. My father, a Vietnam war vet and strict disciplinarian who my mother once called emotionless, was playing footsie, with—I surfaced above the table to double check and then swallowed hard—my mother in law.

    My appetite vanished. I coughed awkwardly, garnering my wife’s attention. I motioned towards the kitchen, mumbling a brief announcement to our guests.

    “Uh, could you ahem, excuse us for just one moment?” I grabbed her arm and led her to the kitchen.

    “What is it?” she asked, perturbed by my strange behavior.

    “It’s our parents, they’re-“ I couldn’t bring myself to utter the words.

    “They’re getting along quite well, aren’t they?” she answered, and I envied her naivety. I waited a moment, taking a deep breath before telling her what I had seen.

    “What!” She shrieked and I jumped, glancing towards the dining room and debating whether to cover her mouth with my hand.

    “What’s going on in here?” It was none other than my sister in law, the busy body of the family who feeds off of drama as if it were her life sustaining substance. She was followed by her husband, their two kids, and the lovebirds.

    “Everybody calm down, we have an announcement to make.”

    I openly winced.

    “Glenda and I, well, we’ve been seeing each other since the wedding and…”

    This cannot be happening.

    “I know this may be uncomfortable for you all….”

    Please, don’t say it.

    “We are getting married.”

    I heard a moan and my sister-in-law fainted. The kids began to cry, I looked over at my wife/step-sister in complete anguish. The lovebirds attended to the sister, no one noticed the dogs in the dining room, on the table eating the massive turkey. And that’s why we all ate hamburgers.

  20. Wanett

    Those Old Twin Bitches

    For my first Thanksgiving as host, I bought the biggest turkey they had in the store. Because I don’t do shit half-ass. We had never bothered with the holiday before, but if you do Thanksgiving, YOU DO THANKSGIVING. Ya know what I mean??? Anyway, I get this sucker into the cart and start pushing this big bitch around the store. And I get tired. I decide to leave it to one side so I could run down the aisle instead of maneuvering through it with the Turkey-Mobile. I get about halfway down, to the spices, when I catch some movement near the model T.

    Two old ladies where attempting to hoist the turkey out!

    What the ever loving f@#*!

    I abandon the spices and reach the old ladies just as they’re getting the beast over the side. I slam my hands down on top of it, sending it crashing to the bottom. It nearly takes the two would-be thieves inside with it. I open my mouth to lay into these broads when the one closest to me rights herself and roundhouses me with her, apparently brick filled, purse. I see stars. But this doesn’t stop me from blocking a hit from the other one.

    It’s then that I realize that they’re twins.

    And I know them.

    The one I currently have by the scruff of her neck (and bottom of her wig) is Ms. Betty Carmichael. I let go and say “Oh, shit! Sorry about th-” Before I complete the word, she’s shoved me full on in my chest. I go flying into the fresh corn display, and all of the people surrounding it who have stopped to observe the developing brawl. When I get to my feet, I don’t waste time with questions like,

    “Why the f@#* did you push ME when you were stealing my turkey!?!?!”

    Instead, I go into a running crouch and shove her right into the side of the cart.

    I realized then, I should have thought things out a bit. I have now blocked the T-Mobile in. I’m trying to disentangle Ms. B.C., and get around Ms. Alice Carmichael, when I’m grabbed from behind. I immediately open my mouth to explain that they were taking my big ass turkey when Ms. A.C., the one still right side, starts to cry.

    Big. Ass. Tears.

    “Oh! Look at what you’ve done to my sister!” she weeps, like the fragile old lady she is NOT.

    Suffused with fresh rage, I lunge for her, only to be brought up short by the guard holding me by my coat. I am then unceremoniously dragged out and dumped on the pavement. Big ass turkey and all the fixings…inside with the thieving spinsters.

    I called home to deliver the bad news. My family is always game for a laugh so I hoped that they could find the humor in my being kicked out of the only store in town with anything left in it. The phone is answered on the first ring. Before a greeting is uttered I say,

    “I’ve lost everything in a fight to two old, twin bitches!”

    The reply is instantaneous “The Carmichaels?!?”

    “In-f@#*ing-deed!”

    “Eh, f@#* this Thanksgiving shit…go to that joint we like and then bring your ass home.”

    And that’s why we all ate hamburgers.

  21. Lemmy

    For my first Thanksgiving as host, I bought the biggest turkey they had in the store. Tonight would be the night where I finally proved to Emily’s parents that I wasn’t a complete and utter buffoon. In the six years of our marriage, she has been trying to assure me that her parents do in fact like me. However I know that they’re always judging me with fake smiles…staring at me thinking “There he goes again, classic Daniel Murphy” in their condescending old-person ways.

    After flying the Grissoms in from Boca Raton (“Be a good son-in-law and pay for them!” Em pleaded. Christ. Joke’s on them, they flew Spirit) and after being forced to treat them like the lords of the house they would finally be departing back to Boca tomorrow morning. All I had to do was make it through one more grueling night and then I wouldn’t have to see them until a date unknown, hopefully never.

    It was seven in the evening, Emily left for a quick stop at the supermarket to pick up some croissants…our daughter Jessie wanted some for dinner last night and Em being Em just couldn’t say no to her. The Grissoms sat in the dining room, Mama watching Jessie play in the living room with a smile of admiration; Papa drumming his fingers at the head of the table, eyes staring off deep in thought. They then shot to me. Dammit.

    “How big’s the bird?” He muttered, voice rough as sandpaper.
    “Sixteen pounds, largest one I could find.”

    “I once shot a twenty five pounder on the U.P, ate for days.” He scoffed, now smiling. What? I didn’t know I was competing with my father-in-law’s old hunting record from ages ago! Restraining myself from retorting something that would leave me sleeping on the couch for weeks, I begrudgingly smiled back. He continued smiling, slowly turning his head towards me. Our faces pointed directly at one another, both of us smiling holding back shooting off words of hate like a Magnum.

    I let you into my home, I paid your airfare, I’m cooking you your Thanksgiving dinner, and this is your gratuity? For ten years I have never received so much as a thank you or a genuine smile from these two. I open my house to you for my first time hosting a holiday and yet it is still not enough. For a decade I have just wanted to impress you!

    Minutes pass feeling like hours, John grins as his nose suddenly twitches.

    “Th’ hell is that smell?” My nose picks up the aforementioned stench as I look behind me, the oven is on fire. In all of my effort to impress my in-laws I ended up catching my kitchen on fire. Murphy’s Law at its finest.

    After making a quick call to Emily outside of the home after dialing 911, we “enjoyed” our Thanksgiving dinner of cheap 99 cent burgers. Murphy’s Law. That’s why we all ate hamburgers for Thanksgiving.

  22. seliz

    For my first Thanksgiving as host, I bought the biggest turkey they had in the store. That is to say, the biggest plump pig I could find in the store to dress up as a turkey. You see, I’ve always been outdone by my older sister.

    Ophelia is everything I’m not. She’s prim and proper, with good looks to boot, and of course, is an amazing cook. The latter being the reason why Ophelia has hosted Thanksgiving for the past ten years. But this year I had put my foot down. In a battle of the spatulas, I would be queen.

    “Sophie, that’s darling but we both know you can’t cook,” Ophelia cooed sweetly when I told her the news.

    I glowered at the perfectly frosted hair that screamed, “I’m better than you” in every glint of light. “We’ll see about that at my place this Thanksgiving. I guarantee you this will be the biggest and best Thanksgiving yet.”

    With words like that, I had to get the pig. I figured some strategically placed feathers and the pig would be passable for a fowl to anyone with eyes.

    “Sophie,” my husband paused as he watched me begin my work with the super glue. “Are you sure that’s edible?”

    I answered that question with a hearty, “Get out!” and my husband didn’t question me again, which I took as a good sign. I even went out of my way and bought a whole pumpkin for dessert. I swear, this was the biggest pumpkin I had ever lay eyes on. The table trembled at the sheer weight of it and seemed to curve in pleadingly underneath it.

    I looked with satisfaction at the table I had set and couldn’t help giving Ophelia a smug look as I directed her to take her seat. Once the entire family was sitting around the still slightly trembling table, I went to grab my pride and joy–the “turkey”.

    I will admit, I was slightly worried about the putrid smell coming from the singed feathers but upon seeing my families widened eyes, I knew that I had done well. I proudly set the “turkey” down in the center of the table and to my delight, even the table moaned in appreciation.

    Suddenly the table was folding in on itself sending pumpkin and pig flying through the air. In the middle of it all, sat my sister, wearing a bowl of mashed potatoes as a hat and screaming shrilly. This of course brought out the neighbor, who thought his alarm system was going off and was soon firing off a round from his gun.

    I looked at my husband, who was now hiding with his hands over his head under the table and begged him to help me. He crawled slowly out from his hiding spot and planted a quick peck on my cheek and told me, there was still a way to make it the best Thanksgiving yet.
    And that’s why we all ate hamburgers.

  23. hillsworth

    For my first Thanksgiving as host, I bought the biggest turkey they had in the store. The fact that it was the only turkey had a lot to do with it. Thanksgiving dinner had been pushed on me at the last minute, due to the untimely death of Aunt Gertrude, Mom’s oldest half sister from Wisconsin.

    Gertie wasn’t what you’d call a sociable sort, but rather introverted, not talking to anyone for years. She hadn’t been home to visit since Clarice and I were wee little, maybe seven or eight, which is why it was such a shock this morning when Mom called and announced she was flying out at once to attend the funeral.

    “That’s okay, Mom, I’ll just swing by your place and pick up the turkey.”

    “Well, here’s the problem. I was just about to take it out of the oven when I got the call from your cousin, Eustace. I lost track of time while on the phone with him and burned the bird. Sorry.”

    “Okay… then I guess I’m going shopping. How hard can it be, anyway? Give my regards to her family.” I hung up the phone, grabbed my keys and coat and headed to the store.

    Shopping for cranberry sauce or another bag of stuffing mix on Thanksgiving morning is not an uncommon practice in our family. On average, there are probably three trips made to the grocery store on that particular day, and we are not alone in this oversight. You could say the store is usually packed with last minuters. But, I will say this: Most people have already bought their turkey, at least the night before.

    Standing in front of the endcap, I could only shake my head in disbelief. It was completely empty. Feeling distraught, I stepped over to the next endcap and was trying to figure out how I was going to serve hamburgers to everyone for Thanksgiving, when I spied the traditional white plastic mesh poking out from under a couple boxes. Almost lunging, I snagged it up and headed to the checkout.

    I payed the girl running the register and headed out the door, a smile playing on my face. I was clearly not paying attention and almost stepped on the man sitting against the side of the store. In his lap was a sign that read ‘Please help a Gulf War Vet and his family’.

    I had to stutter step to keep from falling on him, and I made it almost to the car before it hit me. I stopped and turned to look at him. That man served our country. He laid his life on the line so I could be free. What would Thanksgiving be without people like him?

    Moments later, when I got back to the cash register, the vet was there, showing the turkey to his daughter, the cashier. They both looked at me with tears in their eyes.

    “Thank you.” She said.

    And that’s why we all ate hamburgers.

  24. TIJoe

    For my first Thanksgiving as host, I bought the biggest turkey they had in the store. Since I had always heard that an oven-cooked bird was supposedly dry (and my wife was still furious with me for not having asked her before I invited the family to my house), I decided that the best idea was to get one of those big propane deep frying units. Our house had a big back yard, and I figured there was plenty of room for me to use it without becoming one of those news stories about the guy who burned his house down for Thanksgiving. The week before Thanksgiving passed with nary a word passed between us. I didn’t want to press my luck any further, since she had already stocked the house with everything she would need for an impressive feast. I woke up Thanksgiving morning, conducted my normal routine, and made for the garage as quietly as possible to avoid the ire of the mad woman in the kitchen. As soon as I was out the door I grabbed the bird from the freezer and everything for the fryer. I had put the fryer together the day before, but had neglected to figure in the thaw and cooking time. I poured in what I thought was the right amount of oil and set up my lawn chair to play the waiting game. Every ten minutes or so I checked the temperature of the oil with the long thermometer provided, all the while wondering how long the whole process was going to take. After a long time, but fortunately before family arrived, I reached the sought-after temperature of 400°. That’s when I saw the kicker: one minute per pound. I looked at the turkey, which was an impressive 24 pounds, still frozen. I heard the first car pull in the driveway, and I knew that if I didn’t put the turkey in right then and there one of the two of us was gonna be cooked. I decided to chance it and removed the lid. I tried to gingerly drop the bird in the pot, only to fail miserably when hot oil exploded everywhere: all over me, the pot, the burner, everything. I ran to the garage to get the fire extinguisher, trying desperately to ignore the oil cooking my skin as my legs moved. I came back to see flames engulfing the pot. I tore out the safety pin and doused everything with the chemical, starting with the propane tank and connections. With those out I turned the fuel off until I had the rest of the fire out. I didn’t move for a long time, trying to calm myself and figure out when to do next. My decision made, I walked back into the house, not making eye contact with anyone, still hauling my fire extinguisher. I opened the refrigerator door, grabbed some ground beef, and walked back out to my grill. And that’s why we all ate hamburgers.

  25. Chrisgiraffe

    For my first Thanksgiving as host, I bought the biggest turkey they had in the store.

    “If I were you I’d have gotten the big one.” a familiar voice said behind me in the checkout line.

    “Jerry?” I turned around. “Dude! I haven’t seen you in, what?”

    “Since I stole that moped.” He laughed.

    It’s funny how time helps us forget all the reasons we stopped hanging out with someone. Jerry was a hooligan by every measure. His long greasy hair and torn jeans kept most shoppers at a safe distance should he flip out and… who knows what? He looked capable of anything. I didn’t bother to ask how he’d been- odds are he’d been in jail.

    “It’s weird seeing you dressed like that. Did you just rob a Dockers outlet?” he chided.

    “Yeah, I look pretty average these days.” I had no idea what to say. “So, you all ready for Thanksgiving?”

    “Well, that’s the thing. My girlfriend and I broke up today and my Dad doesn’t want me hanging around anymore, so I’m high and dry tomorrow. What about you?”

    I couldn’t help feel bad for him. “Oh, just the usual. Mary’s cooking, I’m eating. We’re having her family over.” The awkward pause and his sad look weakened my senses. “You know, if you’ want you can eat at our place. We’ll have plenty of food.” I regretted it as soon as I said it.

    “No kidding? Man, that would be…” he almost cried. “Alright, let me get your address.”

    The next day my wife was running a marathon of pots, pans, sauces, meats and desserts. I couldn’t help be impressed. Her family showed up at three, I entertained and all was going smoothly until that knock came at the door. I had no idea who it might be and then I remembered.

    “DUDE!”

    “What’s up, Jerry?” I asked. To my surprise he was wearing a suit and brought a bottle of wine. My father-in-law was mesmerized by him, the kids thought he was funny. My wife thought I described the wrong person all these years. It was amazing to see this side of him.

    We sat down at a magnificent spread. I thanked the Lord for everything under the sun, especially my wife and that’s when the door burst open.

    “Freeze, you sons of bitches!”

    Jerry ducked under the table. My wife screamed.

    “Jerry! Where the hell are you? We know you’re here.” The biker holding the gun ran over to the table and dragged Jerry out. His friends loved the show. “I oughtta beat the piss out of you right here. You owe me, man!”

    “I ain’t got anything!” he said. “Don’t kill me!”

    The biker threw him. “Damn! I damn well should have known you were broke. But you ain’t gettin’ off that easy.” The motorcycle gang proceeded to take every scrap of food from the table. Good thing McDonald’s was still open.

    And that’s why we all ate hamburgers.

  26. sami93

    For my first Thanksgiving as host, I bought the biggest turkey they had in the store. As I was pushing the cart aroud the store I started to imagine how the big day would play out. I would wake up and prepare the house and start on the food while my husband, Mark, got the deep fryer ready for the turkey and stocked the fridge with beer. On my way home I thought about the decorations that I still needed to put up and the last minute cleaning that I had to do. Once home, I started to unpack all of the groceries and talk with my husband about the day to come.
    While putting the groceries away I realized that the turkey was too big for the fridge so I asked Mark to put it in the freezer. He pointed out to me that if we put it in the freezer it would take loner to thaw out and cook; but I thought we could make it work so I told him to do it anyway.
    We carried on that night like usual busily cleaning and decorating while watching the news. As I was brushing my teeth and getting ready for bed I remembered that I had to take the turkey out of the freezer to thaw over night. Since I was still brushing my teeth I decided that I would finish my bed time routine and then pull the turkey out. I never rememebered to take the turkey out.
    The next morning I woke up at six am to start all of my cooking preperations. I start making pie dough, washing vegetables, seperating the ingredients for stuffing, and making gravy. Right as I was finishing all of my cooking prepearations and starting to clean up Mark came down the stairs to get the fryer ready that was on the back patio.
    Mark said good morning and continued on his way out the back door. I watched through the kitchen window as he added the oil and turned the knob to start heating it. He came back into the house, proclaimed his work finished, and resided on the couch to watch football.
    As I walked by the couch to go upstairs I flicked the back of his head for behaving like such a man. With the food ready to be cooked and the kitchen clean once again, it was my turn to make myself look presentable. I hopped in the shower to clean up and then put on the thanksgiving shirt that had a cute little turkey on it. I brushed my hair and put in my turkey earrings that jingled as I walked; with my earrings as the finishing touch I was ready for some football and turkey with my family.
    A little after I sat down on the couch and got comfy with my hubby the family started to show up. First it was my mother, who immediately went to the kitchen to start fussing with everything I had done. The it was my brother and sister with their herd of children. Finally the last to show up were my aunt and uncle. Once everyone was under one roof we sat around the tv to finish watching the football game.
    After the game it was time to sit down and eat. I dressed the table in mountains of food that was sure to please everyone’s appetie. As I went to sit down at my spot I realized that we were missing something. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it but was soon reminded that we were missing the turkey by a very hungry and fiesty eight year old niece. I asked Mark to go get the turkey out of the fryer; he didn’t respond he just looked at me like I had two heads and said, “you never told me to put it in the fryer.”
    I was so mad at him! While yes I forgot to take it out of the freezer but he hadn’t even thought to put it in the fryer once he added the oil?! Here we were on Thanksgiving without a turkey! Oh Great! I yelled at him, “You had ONE job!” I then proceded to grab my car keys and drive to the closest fast food joint, and that is why we had hamburgers instead.

  27. Imaginalchemy

    Felt like doing this as a poem today…and once again, felt like being stupid-silly about it…

    “Thansgiving Travesty”

    For my first Thanksgiving as host,
    I bought the biggest turkey in the store.
    This would be the best holiday meal
    Than my family had ever had before.
    But when I brought the turkey home
    I was in for a surprise,
    As my front door was broken down
    By Cranberry-Stuffing Samurais
    Who shouted, “Hand the turkey over
    If you wish your life be spared!”
    But through my backdoor came a-running
    Pumpkin Pie-rates with pie servers bared.
    “That turkey be ours!” the pie-rates growled,
    And soon a battle did ensue,
    I grabbed the turkey and tried to escape
    Through the kitchen, but the stove blew
    And from that fiery burst a portal opened
    And out stepped some alien beast,
    Which smelled yummy…was that Cornbread?
    Yes, a Cornbread Creature from Planet Yeast
    It chased me into the dining room
    To gobble me up, and the turkey too,
    But then what came crashing through the window?
    A time-traveling William Wallace, face painted blue,
    And he hacked down that Cornbread Beast
    With a mighty warrior’s cry,
    But by then the house was crashing down
    From the Pie-rates and the Samurai
    So by now I’d had enough,
    And as I ran out of the front door,
    I hefted that turkey at the throng
    Shouting, “I don’t want it anymore!”
    But I didn’t know the turkey I had bought,
    And why they all wanted it so badly,
    Was there was a Giblet Grenade inside of it
    That went off with a Boom! And sadly
    There was nothing left but a crater
    Where my house once stood,
    (actually I was only renting, so it’s not really mine)
    But the Thanksgiving dinner was gone for good.
    So when the family arrived that day,
    Gaping at the smoldering ruins in dread,
    I just told them, “Let’s just go to McDonald’s,”
    And that’s why we all ate hamburgers instead.

    1. handyman43127

      I loved the twist on the prompt you had. Telling the story in a poem and with so much imagination. I am not one that enjoys a story that goes to far beyond what is possible, but yours was very,very fun.

  28. handyman43127

    “ALL THE FIXINGS.:
    “For my first Thanksgiving as host, I bought the biggest turkey they had in the store.” Each year my family gathered together, coming from several different states. My father tried to discourage me from hosting the dinner sighting the fact that I was a bachelor and thought, “I was getting in over my head.”

    Not being discouraged I insisted. I had a secret plan. With the turkey secured in the car I hurried off to the home of a longtime friend and sometimes dance partner named Kelly. There I would pick up the rest of the dinner side dishes she had prepared for me, completing the plan I had in place.

    At Kelly’s home she gave me a tour of all that she had prepared, fresh tossed salad, home made stuffing, two kinds of veggies, fresh pumpkin pie, home made rolls,mashed potatoes and gravy and a favorite of most of my family that was a combination of several fruits and mixed into a bowl of chilled jello. I don’t know what the real name of it was but my grandmother called it Nixon salad.

    Thanking Kelly I loaded up the bounty and promised to return her dishes the next day.

    Arriving home I placed the precooked side dishes in a warming table I had rented and the cold dishes in the frig. With just enough time to cook the turkey I washed it and slid it into the oven. As the turkey cooked I set the table and took a shower preparing for the first arrivals.

    My mother and father arrived first, I knew they would. Handing me her coat mom asked “everything ready?” A concerned look covered her face as she turned and hurried for the kitchen. “Yes mom” I pronounced as she vanished around the corner.

    The smell of the baking turkey filled the house and the sound of car doors slamming prompted me to begin arranging the dishes of food on the table.

    Voices now filled the once silent dinning room and probing eye’s and hand’s investigated the many wonderful food’s that covered the table, except for the spot in the middle of the table for the turkey. After accepting the many complements from my family for the job I had done, some with a look of unbelief about them I said “let’s eat.”

    Setting the turkey in its place and taking my seat I asked my dad to say grace. In the middle of his long and well practiced speech to the Lord I began smelling something foreign to the surroundings. At first the smell was faint but soon began to overwhelm the room and burn the eye’s of everyone.

    A look from my father said it all to me. “Where’s the giblets?” he asked.

    “The what?” I replied.

    Cutting open the turkey my father uncovered the source of the foul smell. A large plastic bag of turkey parts melted and coating the entire inside of the turkey.

    Picking up the platter of ruined turkey I exclaimed “I’ll go start the grill.”

    “And that’s why we all ate hamburgers.”

  29. Wende

    For my first Thanksgiving as host, I bought the biggest turkey they had in the store. I was newly married, heavily pregnant, and living far from home, in the country of Turkey. I had enlisted the help of a friend, Bonnie, to help me procure the bird, which involved taking a bus, a taxi and a ferry, and crossing between the continents of Asia to Europe.

    When the butcher proudly handed me a giant bird with head and feathers still intact, I had to leave the shop. I was easily nauseated in my pregnant state, so it fell to Bonnie to do the plucking, decapitating, and baking of the bird. I was responsible only for the pies.

    The morning of Thanksgiving, I woke up with high hopes. We had thirteen guests coming for dinner, all expats like myself. I let our cats (Thelma and Louise) out to play on our balcony, but when I let them back in, only Thelma appeared. After a frantic search, I discovered Louise had fallen and broken leg.

    My husband rushed her to the vet, but I had to start on my pies. As I was rolling out the crust, I heard a knock on the door. Thinking it was my husband, I opened it without looking. An old, wizened gypsy lady stood in the doorway, colorful scarves draped across her arms. She begged me to buy one, but I didn’t have time. I had pies to bake, a table to set, a bunch of guests arriving, and a cat being put into a cast. I had to be harsh.

    I pretended that I couldn’t speak Turkish, and tried to shut the door in her face. She wasn’t having any of it. She stuck her gnarled old hand into the doorway before I could close it and pushed the door open. She glared at me, muttered something in a language I didn’t understand, and then spit on my floor before walking away.

    As soon as she left, I slammed the door and then double locked and chained it. After cleaning her spit and washing my hands, I went back to the pies. My crust refused to roll out. It fell to pieces in my hands. I was an experienced cook. I tried every trick I knew, but nothing worked.

    That gypsy had cursed me, and for the next ten years, I was unable to make a decent pie crust. It may not have been a horrible curse, but it definitely was a hardship that year. I attempted to use a box of puff pastry from my fridge as a crust, but it was a dismal, soggy failure.

    My husband arrived with a drugged and bandaged Louise just before everyone else. And when Bonnie came with the turkey, glistening and gorgeous, all I could picture was the bird as I’d seen it in the butcher shop, and in my pregnant state, I couldn’t swallow a bite. And that’s why we all ate hamburgers.

  30. Chrisgiraffe

    For my first Thanksgiving as host, I bought the biggest turkey they had in the store. The closest I’d ever come to cooking one was peaking in at my mother every holiday as she transformed an ugly pale blob of meat into a golden miracle with steady heat and a little stuffing. I’d have to call her for instructions but I knew she wouldn’t mind. She always loved hearing from me since I’d left for college. My roommates were psyched about having a real Thanksgiving on our own and everyone was chipping in with family recipes. It felt exciting to celebrate with this new family of sorts.

    “Anybody see the last Indiana Jones?” Mark asked us.

    It was anyone’s guess where he was going with this. I took the bait. “Yeah, why?”

    “You know that part where they ‘nuke the fridge’?”

    “Yeah.”

    “That would really work. Fridges are indestructible.”

    There it was. Everyone laughed.

    “Seriously, I saw a documentary about them on the History channel. You could jump in one, fall off a building and not get a scratch. They’re tougher than Volvo’s!”

    “Yeah, right.” Tom said.

    “”Seriously.” Mark said.

    “Anyway, it gave me an idea. How about we put someone our a fridge and drop it off a roof?”

    This caused an immediate commotion amid our little tribe.

    “What about the food inside?” I asked.

    “We can put it in Toms.” Mark said.

    “Sure.” Tom agreed. “I’d let you put in mine if Mark does it first.”

    We all looked at Mark with a wild look in our eyes. We were ten year olds playing truth or dare.

    “Alright!” Mark said.

    We drove the fridge to Tom’s, unloaded everything into his fridge and then drove to Mark’s work- a simple one story warehouse with stairs leading to the roof wide enough to accommodate a fridge. Getting the fridge up that narrow staircase was like trying to take Iwo Jima… with a fridge on your back.

    When we got to the top Mark put on his motorcycle helmet and stepped inside. He looked completely insane. Jack filmed the whole thing.

    “GET OFF MY PLANE!” Mark said, in his best Harrison Ford. We closed the door and quickly wrapped it shut in duct tape.

    “You OK in there?” I shouted to him.

    “I’m good, just hurry. It’s getting warm!” he called back.

    On the count of three we all pushed the fridge and our friend off the roof. The fridge smashed below. We suddenly realized this might not be a good idea and ran downstairs to see if we might be accountable for involuntary manslaughter. Mark climbed out, raised his hands up in triumph. We went monkey nuts.

    “I thought I was going to help you with your first bird.” My mom said over the phone.

    “Well, we didn’t realize Tom’s fridge was on the fritz. Everything spoiled.”

    “Wait, what happened to your fridge?”

    And that’s why we all ate hamburgers.

      1. Chrisgiraffe

        Thanks, Beth. It was fun to imagine. I always get a kick out of that line, ‘Get off my plane!’ You can use it in just about any situation and look completely nuts.

        “Sir, I think we were in line first.”

        “Get off my plane!”

        “Didn’t you realize this was a handicapped spot?”

        “Get off my plane!”

        :-)

        1. Beth-is-the-one

          Oh man.. I can’t stop laughing at that!

          “Ma’am can you please quiet down, others are trying to enjoy the movie.”

          “Get off my plane!”

          “Mom, may i have more mac n’ cheese?”

          “Get off my plane!”

COMMENT