Column: Be thankful Al isn’t allowed to cook for Thanksgiving

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 21, 2001

I love Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 21, 2001

I love Thanksgiving. I have so many things to be thankful for. I love hearing the ringing of the alarm clock because it means that I have been blessed with another day.

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My parents always told me to be thankful when I don’t know something for it gives me the opportunity to learn. And that if I can’t be satisfied with what I have, I should be thankful for what I do not have. These two things alone have filled my days with gratitude.

I am thankful for the clothes that fit a little too snugly on me because that means I have had enough to eat. I am thankful for windows that need washing because it means that I have a home. I enjoy getting the spot at the very end of the parking lot. It means that I am capable of walking. I welcome my heating bill because it means that I am warm when the weather is cold. I am thankful for rap music, as bad as it is, because it means that I can hear. I am most thankful for my wife, The Queen B, and our family.

It’s a time for turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, corn, cranberry sauce, hot rolls, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie, family and friends. Even with all of these things to be thankful for, I try to make things better at Thanksgiving. I once developed a breed of turkey that had six legs. I did so because there are never enough drumsticks to go around. How did it taste? I don’t know. I was never able to catch one.

One year, I decided to surprise everyone and cook the turkey myself. It was a huge bird, big enough to carry passengers. That was a good thing as I had some eaters coming to the table. One of my cousins, the one who is the perfect weight for a man 19 feet tall, always complains about the rash on his stomach. It is steering wheel burn. This was enough turkey to make us all look like sumo wrestlers after we would polish it off. I figured we would need the Jaws of Life just to get a one of us out of the E-Z Boy. I would serve the bird with enough mashed potatoes to set off another famine in Ireland. We would eat so much that we would be responsible for a measurable shift of the earth’s axis.

I read the instructions on the package and it sounded like preparing a turkey was a lot of work. In past years, I had watched my wife prepare the turkey. She would do things to that poor old bird that would make even the most experienced proctologist blush. I didn’t want any of that. I would concentrate on carving the bird – a kind way of saying that I hack the bird into small pieces with a dull electric knife as though I were a demented Samurai.

As I studied up some more on the proper preparation of a turkey, I discovered that it took a lot of time. Too much time. There had to be an easier and a quicker way. Later that day, the turkey shot out of our oven and hit the kitchen table, driving one of the kitchen chairs through one of the new windows we had just had installed. The turkey ricocheted off the table, off the refrigerator, through the cupboard where the plates were kept and then hit the picture of my mother-in-law on our dining room wall with a sickening thud. The broken turkey clung to the wall for a few minutes before it began to ooze down. There would be no roast turkey that year. There would be no leftovers lasting until New Year’s Day. For one thing, the mad turkey had destroyed all the tableware that we would have used to serve it. Oh, I scraped the splattered turkey off the wall and mopped the remains from the floor. I wrung out the mop into a bucket. With that, we had enough turkey soup for the big day.

I am thankful for my mistakes, for they do indeed teach valuable lessons. I learned that I will never again stuff a turkey with unpopped popcorn. This year, I am saving time by stuffing the turkey with pumpkin pie.

Remember to eat hearty or be faced with a never-ending supply of leftovers.

At this time of year, I am most thankful that my wife is not standing behind me with a bowl of stuffing. I am very thankful for all you kind readers. I am truly blessed. Happy Thanksgiving.

Hartland resident Al Batt writes columns for the Wednesday and Sunday editions of the Tribune.