Thursday, April 13, 2006

Thanksgiving Do-Over

My sister is a bit off. It's not that she is unstable or lacks a grip on reality- that is reserved exclusively for my mother. It's that she has an obsession with tradition. We're a tightly wound nuclear family, devoid of aunts, uncles, cousins, or nephews. So holidays involved, well... Us.
That's it.
For over twenty years.
Easter. Christmas. Thanksgiving. Bastille Day. Birthdays. That type of acculturation doesn't get wiped from the synapses easily. And now, as our family has been extended through two marriages and countless relocations, my sister carries the Carney torch forward. Eventhough the traditions might not exactly fall on the right day. Or the right month, for that matter.
Since my sister's wedding three years ago, she has made trade-offs with her husband regarding holidays. They decided that Thanksgiving would be spent with his family and Christmas would be spent with ours. To be honest, my family goes fucking ballistic at holidays and I'm sure that my brother-in-law wasn't relishing a lifetime of Christmas carols and Pilgrim salt and pepper shakers at the crazy house.
But my sister conceived a workaround plan.
A Thanksgiving Do-Over in the middle of winter.
Kind of like a Civil War reenactment in Gettysburg, but with less gun powder and (this year) a lot more smoke and fire.
As this year marked my sister's second attempt at the Turkey Day redo, the preparation was smoother. A gargantuan bird had to be pre-ordered because, shockingly, Whole Foods wasn't in the market of stocking oversized turkeys in February. With fourteen people on the guest list, she had planned for everything. Except, of course, for the ridiculous impossibility that the grocer might happen to give away the 25-lb teradactyl to the wrong customer. Thus enter my sister's uncanny resilience. Not to be thwarted by "that fucking moron at the fucking meat counter", she purchased two small 15-pounders. Come hell or high water, there would be turkey for most of Northern Virginia.
Never having the pleasure of roasting two turkeys in tandem, Marf had not accounted for her smallish oven. But she would not be contained by the walls of the GE Profile. She shoved those two birds in like a fat man in a plane seat and shut the door.
Three glasses of wine later, the sting of a near-disaster lost its bite and all was right with the world. Conversation flowed freely, until we noticed the haze that had enveloped the family room. Obviously, someone had turned on a fog machine.
Then Chris pointed to the oven. And the flames.
My sister, already half-in-the-bag and not having witnessed a grease fire in her kitchen before, shrugged it off with the confidence of the Barefoot Contessa.
Over the persistence of the smoke alarm she shouted, "It's just the drippings! It's supposed to fire up every now and then."
Drippings my ass.
3904 North 14th Street was about to burn to the ground.
My brother-in-law, seeing the fate of his house being swallowed by 30 pounds of smoked bird, jumped into action. He turned off the oven and wrestled a turkey from its fiery bowels. The other was left to fend for itself.
A quick call to reserve a neighbor's oven, and John bounded through the kitchen and out the door with potholdered hands and a bird in tow. Who ever thought a man in weejuns couldn't run a sub-10 for the 100 yard dash obviously never tried lighting his house on fire.
The remainder of the night smoothed out as the grease fire was extinguished. The turkeys were salvaged and pictures were taken to document the second annual Thanksgiving Do-Over.
I plan on uploading a couple of pics soon, but will leave off here with a short email exchange between my dad and brother-in-law:

Dear John,
After viewing the photos which Mary Frances sent down today, I feel constrained to suggest that you destroy the negatives dealing with your blatant abuse of what appears to be an underage turkey. I would definitely recommend kicking up my surgical malpractice coverage to 3 million/5 million immediately before representatives of PETA get wind of this. What leads me to believe that this could result in a summary judgement for the plaintiff is the look of sadistic delight you evinced while carrying out what apparently was a pre-meditated barbarous act. It might be wise to consider staying away from the rib roast or the leg of lamb for Easter dinner and sticking with the lasagna or spaghetti and meat balls. Happy Easter.

And John's response:

Thanks, appreciate the advice. If a suit is filed, I'll have to brush up on the med mal law, but I can think of a few defenses, including

(1) the bird had already been lit afire by my wife prior to said atrocities, and

(2) any imprecise cutting was attributable to my wife's refusal to supply the appropriate surgical tools> (i.e., an electric knife)


Blogger John said...

oh. my. god. i am dying laughing! can i come next year?

how are you? hope y'all are well. spring is in full force here, not bad.

1:24 PM  
Anonymous Ryan said...

You are a brave soul for putting an actually address in your blog

9:48 PM  
Anonymous Ryan said...


actual... actual address.

9:50 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Considering every city in America has a 14th street, I doubt there's much cause for alarm.

1:25 PM  

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