Thanksgiving this year began as it typically does in the Graves household, with everyone getting out of bed just in time to see Al Roker make his final insufferably corny joke at the conclusion of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade of Lip-syncing One-Hit Wonders.  We did manage to watch the Westminster Dog Show while I cooked two side dishes for whipped cream and Bluebell Homemade Vanilla ice cream, otherwise respectively known as pumpkin pie and pecan pie.  (These are two of the few menu items we are entrusted to contribute to my parents’ Thanksgiving feast, probably because they are almost impossible to ruin, and the only culinary skill they require is the adept use of a can opener.)  We spent most of the dog show trying to find a dog like our new puppy, but apparently they don’t include breeds from the worthless group.

Once my pies were done, my wife prepared a corn casserole that gives the illusion that we can actually cook something that can’t be made in an Easy Bake Oven. I suppose at some point we will be forced to consult some mysterious book of spells that will reveal the dark arts of cooking turkey and dressing, but as long as our parents are able, we’ll gladly stick to the Thanksgiving equivalent of heating Pop Tarts.  It’s at this point when we began our annual mad dash to get to my parents’ house before Thanksgiving officially expired and my dad accused us of personally putting him at risk of malnutrition. Unfortunately,  arriving anywhere on time with my wife and three daughters ranks right up there trying to split an atom with a popsicle stick.

Once we did finally arrive at my childhood home, we prolonged my dad’s agony by forcing my daughters to participate in a family photo session in front of the old magnolia tree in the front yard before they had a chance to soil their outfits with cranberry sauce and ketchup-yes, ketchup.  The whining and wailing that ensued when we mentioned taking photos probably made my parents’ neighbors suspect us of some kind of grave child abuse-like forcing our kids to pose for photos.

After the torture of the family photo session, we proceeded to the main event-Thanksgiving dinner.  The meal always begins with a prayer, which almost always (ironically) is my responsibility.  When I prayed this year, I thanked the Lord for my family, the food, and all of the other blessings He has given us.  Looking at the spread before us, though, I should have prayed for an IV drip of Pepto.  My parents prepared enough food this year to cause all of us to die of a gravy overdose.  They undoubtedly spent hours the night before and Thanksgiving morning cooking for us, so we felt obliged to test the capacity of our internal organs.  And still, when I pried myself out from between my chair and the dining table, my dad asked accusingly, “Is that all you’re going to eat?”  What choice did I have-other than to say, “Of course not,” and head for the pie.

I truly do have a lot to be grateful for this Thanksgiving.  My family is healthy, we have more than we need, and we get to sleep until noon for three days straight. The Lord has blessed us all, and I truly look forward to the day when I can host Thanksgiving for my own grandchildren and we can sit down together for a delicious meal of pie, corn casserole, and Pop Tarts.


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