Sunday, November 30, 2003

Thanksgiving dinner on 1 hour or less

It was Thanksgiving day. The plan was that I was already supposed to be in Kansas City and Shelly would join me Saturday to go see Shania Twain in concert.

It didn't happen that way.

Earlier in the week, we had tried to find someone to take care of the dogs. Normally, we'd just leave them outside with plenty of water and extra food but Bear is getting old and the weather is getting cold. Shelly was going to stay close to home Thursday and Friday and our good friend Kevin could come in over the weekend.

It didn't happen that way.

I was feeling guilty about being with my folks on the holiday but leaving my family at home. Shelly grew up in a different environment and told me she really didn't mind and knew how important it was to me to see my parents. I didn't make the decision to go until Wednesday night. I went to bed with my mouth watering in anticipation of a big turkey dinner surrounded by my mom, dad, brother, sister, niece and nephews.

It didn't happen that way.

What did happen was that sinusitis made my decision for me. Shelly had started feeling bad Wednesday night and by Thursday morning was on the verge of a cold (that never quite developed). Basically, she felt awful and when it came down to go/no go for KC we had a talk.

Bless he heart because I asked her if she wanted me to stay home with her and she hesitated. From the way she was talking and sniffling, I could tell she was absolutely miserable and didn't really want to be at home by herself. I'd been there myself not a week before and I knew the answer to the question before I asked it but she hesitated. When I asked again, she looked at me and said, "I know you really want to see your parents."

"That's not what I asked," I began. "Would you rather I stay home with you?"

Again, she hesitated, then looked at me with those puffy eyes and nodded. I picked up the phone, let my mom know I wouldn't be there until probably Saturday, and laid down to take a nap.

Later in the afternoon, I was wandering around the kitchen trying to decide what to have for dinner. My lunch had consisted of a peanut butter sandwich (the jelly had crystalized). I needed something of substance and was trying to decide what to make. After turning my nose at some leftovers and deciding a couple of boxed dinners were too complex for my desires at the moment, I came to a realization: It was Thanksgiving and I wanted a turkey dinner.

Thank goodness Wal-Mart is not only open 24 hours but also open on Thanksgiving.

Now, generally, I don't like to support the evil empire that is Wal-Mart unless I can help it but this was desperation.

"I'm off to get dinner." I told Shelly.
"Oh? What's for dinner?"
"Turkey, of course. It's Thanksgiving."
"And, where are you going to get a turkey dinner?" she inquired.

I hopped in the truck and was on my way. One of the local video stores that is not the evil empire that is Blockbuster but that I hadn't patronized in over ten years was open so I stopped there first. I was going to get Terminator 3 and either Bruce Almighty or Santa Clause 2. [T3 - Quality holiday entertainment!] I grabbed T3 then got distracted. Some noodlehead with a voice that could be heard throughout the store was looking for Emperor's New Groove and didn't care who knew about it. Here's how my thought process went...

Let's see... Bruce Almighty... B... Bruce Almighty... Bruce Almighty... Bruce's New Groove... E... Emperor's New Groove... NO NO NO!!! The line from Star Trek 6 popped into my head: "I'd give real money if he'd just SHUT UP!"

In the end, Bruce Almighty was all checked out so Santa Clause 2 was second on the marquee and it was on to Wal-Mart.

Wal-Mart was easy. I had already filled my shopping cart in my head. I grabbed a pre-cooked, processed turkey breast - the kind you might take to the deli to have sliced for sandwiches. Next, it was gravy. That was a little more difficult since they had obviously given up on stocking the shelves and had decided gravy by the paletteload wias the way to go. Problem was, they put it on the opposite end of the aisle.

I started heading toward the bakery for a... ooh! Stove Top stuffing! Can't have Thanksgiving without stuffing. So then it was off to the bakery for a pumpkin pie.

I zoomed up one side of the shelves... no pies. I zoomed down the other side of the shelves... no pumpkin pies. I toook another pass at the first side... still no pies. I headed back along the other side... wait... there'a a pumpkin pie... but it's almost 5 dollars. The store-brand sweet potato pie is only $2.50. I'll just take that. But I really want pumpkin. I guess if I have to pay $5 for a pumpkin pie, I'll just...

I was completely oblivious to the two shopping carts full of store-brand pumpkin pies that were no more than three feet away.

So... at $2.50 a pop, I bought a sweet potato and a pumpkin pie.

Including the stop at the video store, I was back home in just under an hour. I made the stuffing, sliced and heated the turkey and even warmed up some rolls. It was a good Thanksgiving and I loved spending it with my wife.

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