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Thanksgiving more than just sitting and eating

November 20, 2011
By JOSHUA FLESHER , Tribune Chronicle |

Last time I graced the front of this Zone section, I discussed how much I disliked the way Christmas was being pushed earlier and earlier.

I spoke about the way Thanksgiving is often overlooked because of the grand scale of all things Christmas, urging everyone to take this time to take stock of what you were truly thankful for.

Well, here we are, two weeks later, and my mission to curb the Christmas holiday for a few more weeks has failed ... miserably.

This being Sunday, we will soon be celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday. The turkeys are beginning to thaw, the bags of bread are being purchased and left to become stale, and the cans of cranberry sauce that have been collecting dust all year long are finally being purchased.

It's the time of year that people get together and have the annual experiment of cooking in large quantities the foods that are normally not seen in the house, let alone on the table.

Casseroles will be filled with beans and broccoli; sweet potatoes or yams, depending on where you are from, are smothered in marshmallow fluff and sweetened with brown sugar; and enormous birds will be shoved into ovens for hours in the sake of togetherness and overeating.

I am not a big eater.

I say that, but much like Barry Bonds' homerun record, that comes with an asterisk.

I am not a big eater at one time. I've never been any good at the all-you-can eat buffets, and to sit down and have three or four helpings of one meal is completely outside my abilities.

I do, however, have the ability to eat all day long.

This has been my way since I was a small child, which at times drove my mother crazy. If given the time and the resources, I could eat throughout the day, never actually sitting for a meal, and be completely satisfied.

Never have I been able to sit down and eat an entire bag of potato chips, but a handful here and there is not out of the question.

I say this because I've always seen Thanksgiving dinner as a challenge to some to eat as much as possible because there is so much to be had.

As for me, I fail. I have a plate and that's it.

But the sitting and eating portion of the day is only part of what makes it such a special day.

First off, no one works. It's nice, and a rare occasion anymore, that everyone can have the same day off work and school to get together.

Second, it is the chance for everyone to get involved in the kitchen, sharing their ideas and talking as items are prepared.

Quick alert: this may seem sexist to some.

It's a day when the women in the family can gather in the kitchen, some cooking, some not, and talk about past holidays and the dishes that were disasters or the triumphs of a mistake gone good.

It's a chance for the guys to gather outside around a propane tank and intensely boiling oil.

In some cases, it is a chance for those guys to make a makeshift tent to keep rain from falling into the boiling oil and frying turkey using a garage door, basketball hoop and ladder.And maybe the ladder needed a 10-year-old to sit on it to keep it from falling into the basketball hoop, which would then fall into the fryer creating what I can only assume to be a huge problem.

I'm proud to say, the ''tent'' held, the turkey was great, and now the neighbors think I am slightly crazy.

But that's what Thanksgiving is all about. Togetherness, laughter, eating and questionable engineering of major solutions to miniature problems.

Have a fun, safe and memorable Thanksgiving this year. Tell those you are thankful for how much they mean to you and for fun, try to make something new. It may be good, it may not, but it will be something to talk about next year.

Contact Joshua with your holiday horror or success stories at



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