Thanksgiving at the Graves household begins each year in typical fashion, 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 usually do manage to watch the Westminster Dog Show, and we spend most of the show trying to find a breed like our own little Bailey, but apparently they don’t include dogs from the worthless group.

During the dog show, I cook two platforms for whipped cream and Bluebell Homemade Vanilla ice cream, otherwise known as pumpkin pie and pecan pie.  (These are two of the few menu items I’m 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.)  I suppose at some point we’ll be forced to consult some mysterious book of spells that will reveal the dark magic of cooking turkey and dressing, but as long as our parents are willing, we’ll gladly stick to the Thanksgiving equivalent of heating up Pop Tarts.

When the pies are done (we think), we begin our annual mad dash to get to my parents’ house before Thanksgiving officially expires and my dad accuses us of 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 do finally arrive, we prolong my dad’s agony by forcing our daughters to participate in a family photo session in front of the old magnolia tree in the front yard before they have a chance to soil their outfits with cranberry sauce and ketchup-yes, ketchup.  The whining that ensues when we mention taking photos probably makes my parents’ neighbors suspect us of some kind of severe child abuse-like making our children pose for photos.

After the torture of the family photo session, we proceed to the main event-Thanksgiving dinner.  The meal always begins with a prayer, which almost always (ironically) is my responsibility.   I thank 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 pray for an IV drip of Pepto.  My parents usually prepare enough food to send us into a gravy overdose.  They undoubtedly spend hours the night before, and on Thanksgiving morning, cooking for us, so we feel obliged to test the capacity of our internal organs.  And still, when I pry myself out from between my chair and the dining table, my always dad asks accusingly, “Is that all you’re going to eat?”

What choice do 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 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 and Pop Tarts.




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