Menu Madness: A Thanksgiving Tale

Traditional Thanksgiving Meal
Traditional Thanksgiving Meal

Planning the menu

It was Thanksgiving; that time of year when the ground is blanketed in multicolored leaves, sodden by the cold, autumn rains. A few remaining leaves clung to the neighborhood trees, dreading to let go and become mulch for next summer's garden. Wood smoke hovered in the air, reminding all that a nice fire in the fireplace and a cup of hot chocolate with a book is a nice way to spend a fall evening. Genevive Franks thought it was perfectly lovely to wear a warm coat and gather the collar to keep the nip in the air at bay on her morning walk. 'Ah, autumn is good. So much to be thankful for,' she mused.

She was so excited. She was making the Thanksgiving feast this year. There had been two weddings in the family since last Thanksgiving. Her daughter Stephanie had married a fitness trainer from upstate New York last February. Preston was a hunk, and mighty handsome. He was eight years older than Stephanie, who at age 28, was just finishing up her Doctoral thesis on the obesity epidemic in America. They seemed the perfect couple, both interested in living a lifestyle of health and fitness.

Three months later, Stephanie's older brother Jeff had married his college sweetheart, Abbie. He was an electrical engineer and Abbie did double duty as a high school dance instructor three days a week, and an animal rescue volunteer two days a week. In the five months they'd been married, Jeff had lost some pounds and firmed up. Abbie made nutritious meals at home, and she made sure they exercised daily. The power walks they did together were enjoyable for her and Jeff seemed okay with it most of the time. But secretly, Jeff missed his former staple diet of meat, potatoes, and junk food. He went out to lunch at Denny's once a month just to sate his appetite for a nice, juicy burger. And oh, how he hated exercise. But he had no desire to hurt his new wife. Besides, he did feel better than ever.

In addition to Stephanie, Preston, Jeff and Abbie, Genevive's sister Melissa, and teenage daughter and son, Brooke and Daniel, were also coming. And of course, Genevive's husband of 38 years, Keith, would be there carving the turkey. "It is going to be a wonderful holiday indeed," she sighed. Later that evening, drawing her legs up underneath herself while sitting in the overstuffed chair she settled down with Earl Grey and a crackling fire, the only way to spend a nippy, fall evening. She got out her yellow legal pad and began to make out a menu for the big holiday meal.

What is you favorite type of dressing for Thanksgiving?

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Menu #1

Keith sat in his recliner across from Genevive, reading glasses on his nose, slippers doing their job warming his cold feet, and a copy of short stories by Hemingway in his lap. Come January, he would begin the new semester American Lit class with short stories by Hemingway, Steinbeck, Flannery O'Connor, Updike, Poe, Asimov, to name a few. Man he loved American, early 20th Century writers.

Keith looked up for a moment and smiled at his wife. She was concentrating on the legal pad. He could see the wheels turning. "What are you doing, Gen?"

"Oh, I'm pondering the menu for Thanksgiving. You are going to deep fry the bird this year, right? I paid an arm and a leg for that contraption last Christmas. About time you use it." She smiled and winked.

"You bet," said Keith, returning to his book.

"Good," said Genevive, "that's one thing taken care of. Honey, do you think I should make my famous sausage and apple dressing, or do you want to go with the traditional cornbread kind"

"Mm, doesn't matter to me, hon," he said, shifting in his chair and adjusting his glasses.

"You didn't even hear me, Keith."

He looked up at her over his glasses. "I did to."

"Okay, what did I say?"

"You asked me if I wanted pumpkin or apple pie. I want cheesecake," he said, grinning sheepishly.

"See, I told you. You didn't hear what I said. I asked if you wanted sausage dressing or cornbread?"

He snickered devilishly and said, "I did hear you Gen, I was just messin' with your head. How's that grammar from a handsome, middle aged, English professor?"

Genevive wrinkled up a yellow legal pad sheet and threw it at him, laughing. "Come on over here Keith, and help me with this menu."

Keith was happy to oblige. He loved snuggling with Gen, even if they had been married for...'was it 37 or 38 years?'

They decided to snuggle up on the couch, both looking intently at the sheet of paper that so far only said "20 pound deep fried turkey."

For the next 30 minutes they hemmed and hawed, exchanged ideas, and finally hammered out an impressive, traditional, holiday menu.

Menu

  • 20 pound deep fried Turkey
  • Sausage and apple dressing
  • Green bean casserole (Jeff would insist)
  • Sweet potatoes with marshmallows
  • Creamed onions
  • Orange cranberry salad
  • Garlic mashed potatoes
  • Gravy
  • Gen's homemade Rosemary dinner rolls
  • Pumpkin, apple, and pecan pie, and cheesecake (for Keith).

"I like it," said Keith. "It's traditional. Thanksgiving is all about tradition."

"Shoot," Genevive said, "I forgot to add pickles and olives."


Source

Menu # 2

The next day Genevive was strolling down Dewey Lane walking their Goldie Poo, Greta. She drew the cool, crisp air into her lungs, and smiled at the surge of energy it gave her. Greta seemed invigorated as well, gingerly stepping up her pace, tongue lolling happily in the fall breeze. Genevive felt more alive than she had in months. It had been a stressful, but happy year with two weddings. But after a few months rest, and the anticipation of a big, family holiday season, she could hardly contain her enthusiasm. "Can't you just hardly wait for the holidays, Greta?"

Greta didn't hear her, she was on a walk after all.

As Genevive rounded the corner onto Meridian Avenue, Tony Bennett began to croon, Because of You, in her pocket. She reached in and pulled out her cell phone. 'Oh good, it's Stephanie' she thought. "Hello Steph, how are things? You two ready for the holidays?"

"Oh yes. We are so excited to have our first Thanksgiving together with you and Daddy and Jeff and Abbie. Anyone else coming?"

"Aunt Melissa and Brooke and Daniel are coming as well. Goodness, I'll be cooking for days."

"What's on the menu this year, Mom? Do you need me to help?"

"Well, you can help me in the kitchen, but you don't need to bring anything. Dad is deep frying the turkey this year. I can't wait to taste it. I've never had it that way before."

There was a moment of silence from Stephanie, followed by the clearing of her throat.

"Steph, what's up? You got quiet all of a sudden."

"Well, uh, Mom, it sounds delicious and all, but remember that Preston and I eat pretty healthy and anything fried sends us to the oval office for a night and a day, if you know what I mean. Do you know what all that grease does to your cholesterol?"

"Huh? Oval office?"

"The bathroom, Mom."

Genevive giggled a little too high. "Well darling, maybe I can make a small ham or small butter ball turkey roll baked in the oven."

Silence. "Ahem. Gee Mom, I hate to be picky, but we don't eat pork and those turkey rolls are really unhealthy. They inject them with all kinds of crap, oops, I mean stuff. We try not to eat red meat much either. There must be a solution. Let me think a minute."

Genevive closed her eyes and took a very deep breath. She stopped walking and sat on a 3 foot wall in front of the Dempsey's place. Greta looked up at her with confusion. Waiting quietly while Stephanie tried to come up with an alternative, Genevive felt a little surge in her blood pressure.

"Well Mom, Preston and I eat a lot of fish. How about salmon? It's rich in Omega 3's"

"Salmon? Omega 3's?" Genevive was glad Stephanie could not see the irritated and confused look on her face. "Well, okay honey, but that's not very traditional. Your father loves traditional when it comes to holiday meals."

Cheerfully, Stephanie replied, "Not to worry, Mom. Preston and I will bring the salmon, and the rest of you can have the turkey. Those turkey fryers are dangerous, Mom. I hope Dad knows what he's doing."

Mindlessly, Genevive said, "Yes, I'm sure he does. Greta's getting restless, Steph. I'm out walking her." She looked down at Greta who was sitting on the sidewalk, as relaxed as a dead fish. "I need to go. See you soon."

Before Stephanie could say goodbye, Genevive jammed Tony Bennett back into her pocket. The addition to the menu was sending lightening bolts through her brain. She sighed deeply and turn back toward home with Greta. Suddenly the cold, damp air annoyed her immensely.

Revised Menu:

  • 15 pound deep fried turkey
  • Baked salmon (for Steph and Preston)
  • Sausage and apple dressing (minus the sausage)
  • Green Bean casserole (Jeff would insist)
  • Sweet potatoes with marshmallows
  • Creamed onions
  • Orange cranberry salad
  • Garlic mashed potatoes
  • Gravy
  • Gen's homemade Rosemary dinner rolls
  • Pickles and olives
  • Pumpkin, apple, and pecan pie, and cheesecake (for Keith)

Source

Menu # 3

Keith looked out the living room window and saw Gen and Greta storming up the walkway. He opened the door, concerned. "Have any trouble, hon?" he asked.

Genevive was clearly distracted and miffed about something. She shrugged off her coat and laid it on her favorite chair and dropped Greta's leash right there, with Greta still tethered. This was not the Genevive that left 45 minutes ago. 'She always hangs up her coat, and what is with leaving the leash on Greta?' thought Keith.

"Honey, what's the matter? Did someone bother you on your walk?"

"Oh, just Stephanie," she said, suddenly very present and scowling.

"You saw Stephanie on your walk? Where is she?" he asked, peeking out the window.

"No. She called me. She doesn't want your deep fried turkey. She wants salmon."

"Salmon? You mean for Thanksgiving?"

"Yes. Can you believe it?"

"That's not traditional."

"That's what I said."

Keith scratched his head, bewildered. "But I want turkey."

"Don't worry, Keith. We're still having your turkey. Steph and Preston are bringing their own salmon."

Their eyes met in that moment. "Salmon," they both said in unison.

After lunch, Aretha Franklin cried out for R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

Keith picked up his cell lying on the end table by his recliner.

"Well hi there, Jeff."

"Hey Dad. What are you and Mom up to tonight?"

"Well, nothing really. Mom's being committed to the state mental hospital at five, and I'm going to get a tattoo with your mother's name on it. I think a rose would look nice with it, don't you?"

Jeff howled and together they said "Botta bing."

"Good one, Dad. The reason I'm calling is Abbie and I would like to drop by tonight. We're meeting up at 5:00 to see our accountant, and thought it would be nice to see you and Mom. I know it's short notice, so no problem if you're busy."

"Mm, sounds intriguing. Let me guess. You're filing for bankruptcy and need me to lend you ten grand to pay off gambling debts? I told you to stay away from the track."

"Very funny, Dad."

"Okay, sure son," he said worriedly. "Why don't you guys come by for dinner. Can you make it around six?"

"Sure thing. Thanks Dad. Oh, wait, shouldn't you ask Mom first? Women are funny like that."

"Naaw, she'll be thrilled. See you at six."

Genevive was indeed thrilled. The fare for the evenings supper was pork roast, homemade applesauce, scalloped potatoes, and collard greens. A former girlfriend of Jeff's had turned him on to southern cooking. Genevive got the recipe from her and made them for Jeff whenever she got the chance.

Jeff and Abbie arrived at 6:15. Keith and Greta met them at the door. "Hurry up and get in here, you two. You're letting all the cold in. You're wet. Is it raining again?"

"Hi Dad. Nice to see you, too," Jeff said smiling as he wiped his feet on the mat.

Keith gave Abbie an affectionate squeeze and helped her out of her coat. She kissed him on the cheek fondly. "Hi Dad, you're as gentlemanly as ever."

"Don't be fooled, Abbie. It's all an act."

"I don't believe it for a minute," she said sweetly.

Looking around and sniffing, Jeff said "Oh man, what is Mom cooking? That smells so good."

"You'll never guess. Fire roasted road kill. Found it on the I-5 on the way home from the tavern."

More howling and back slapping between the men. Abbie turned green and headed to the kitchen.

"Hi Mom."

Genevive turned around and smiled. "Abbie, it's so good to see you." She reached out and hugged her tight."

"I hope this is okay. Jeff said Dad said you'd be thrilled."

"Of course it's okay, and I am thrilled. We're family."

"Whatever you've got cooking smells heavenly."

"Thank you. I made some of Jeff's favorites. Pork roast and collard greens cooked with smoked ham hocks."

Abbie looked down at her shoes and quietly cleared her throat. She shifted her weight a few times. "Mom, didn't Jeff tell you or dad that he and I are vegetarian now?"

"Oh," said Genevive, eyes wide. "I didn't hear anything and Dad didn't mention it. When did this happen?"

"Since last month. We feel so much better without all the meat. Especially red meat."

"Is pork red meat?"

"Well, I'm not sure. Don't worry about it Mom. We'll just have a sliver, or maybe just eat the side dishes."

Genevive turned around silently and began to dish up the food.

Eight minutes later they were all at the table. Abbie had a scoop of scalloped potatoes on her plate, a lot of applesauce in her bowl, and two leaves of collard greens. She had been very careful to avoid any leaves that touched the ham hocks. Jeff had the same, but he stared longingly and lustfully at the pork roast. Darn, it was his favorite. Abbie gave him a warning look. He turned back to his apple sauce. Genevive picked at her food, head down, and uncharacteristically silent. Keith was clueless.

"Did you kids hear about the menu for Thanksgiving? Mom's got a real feast planned. I'm going break out the ol' turkey fryer and git 'er done. Oh, and get this. Mom said Steph and Preston have turned healthy and are going to bring salmon. They don't want deep fried turkey, something about spending too much time in the oval office." He winked at Genevive and forked a hunk of pork, shaking his head.

Genevive's eyes got big again and waited for Jeff and Abbie to say something.

Abbie glanced at Jeff, then they both glanced and Genevive. Keith stopped eating and said, "What? What's wrong? Don't tell me you want salmon too?"

Jeff swallowed a scalloped potato hard and just blurted it out. "Not to worry Dad. We're vegetarian now. We don't eat fish...and...I guess...well, any kind of meat." He studied his applesauce intently waiting for his father's response.

"Vegetarian? You mean like, you only eat vegetables? Oh, you're not eating the pork tonight. I just noticed. When did this happen?" He looked truly disappointed.

Abbie took over for Jeff, who was still in a trance, staring at his applesauce.

"For about a month, Dad. But don't worry. I am sure Mom is serving more than just turkey. Vegetable dishes I'm sure?" She glanced over at her mother-in-law questioningly.

"Oh, yes of course. Green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, creamed onions, sweet potatoes..."

"With marshmallows?" Jeff asked. His face lit up like a Christmas tree.

Gen relaxed a little and smiled. "Of course Jeff. Your favorite since you could eat solid food."

Abbie regarded her water glass. Jeff looked at her, puzzled. "What? What's wrong, Abbie?"

"Oh, nothing."

"Honey, you don't look so good. What's wrong? Sweet potatoes are vegetables, right?"

"Well, yes. But we've cut out sugar too."

Gen dropped her fork on her plate. "Excuse me." The look between her and Keith did not go unnoticed by Abbie and Jeff.

"Don't worry, you guys. We'll figure something out," said Genevive.

Tension hung in the air for the rest of the evening. Keith and Jeff talked football, while Genevive and Abbie pretended to be enthused about their Black Friday plans with Stephanie. By 7:30 Abbie and Jeff were out the door, leaving their folks discouraged.

Revised, revised menu

  • 8 pound deep fried turkey
  • Baked salmon (for Stephanie and Preston)
  • Sausage and apple dressing (minus the sausage)
  • Green bean casserole (Jeff would insist)
  • Sweet Potatoes, plain.
  • Creamed onions
  • Sugarless orange cranberry salad
  • Garlic mashed potatoes
  • Gravy
  • Gen's homemade Rosemary dinner rolls
  • Pickles and olives
  • Pumpkin, apple, and Pecan pie, and cheesecake (for Keith)

    Genevive was not going to budge on the pies. A small sliver of pie wasn't going to put anyone into a diabetic coma.

Gluten-Free and Vegan Holidays: Celebrating the Year with Simple, Satisfying Recipes and Menus
Gluten-Free and Vegan Holidays: Celebrating the Year with Simple, Satisfying Recipes and Menus

Mariana Caplan takes a realistic, warm, and open-minded look at some of the problems that can come up during holiday get-togethers and offers clear-headed solutions to nearly all potential problems.

 

Menu # 4

The next morning Keith and Genevive sat quietly in the breakfast nook, picking at their poached eggs and english muffins. The coffee was steaming and strong. It was their salvation for the moment.

"I don't get it," Keith said. "What is wrong with people these days? People have been eating turkey for decades, and I've never seen one person croak from it."

Genevive stirred her coffee nervously and sighed deeply. "I don't know, Keith, but Thanksgiving is becoming a pain. The kids are spoiling all our fun. I was looking so forward to a happy, family celebration. At least Melissa and the kids will be here. They love turkey as far as I know."

Dipping his muffin into the runny yoke, Keith said with resignation, "I sure hope so. Serve them all right if I slipped some octopus tentacles into the green bean casserole. They'll think its water chestnuts." They doubled over so hard with laughter, Greta looked up at them from her nap and cocked her head quizzically.

Just before lunch Genevive called her sister Melissa to chat. It's what they did every Monday at 11:00. Melissa worked at home as a medical transcriber and that was her break time. Since becoming menopausal, Melissa's waistline had filled out considerably. It didn't help that she sat all day for her job. She liked to chat with Genevive while munching soy nuts to hold off her hunger until lunch.

"Hi Mel," said Genevive, with a droopy voice.

"Hi yourself, Gen. You sound kind of down. What's wrong?"

"Oh, you're going to think I'm being petty, but honestly, the kids are driving Keith and I crazy. They are all on a health kick. Keith is going to deep fry the turkey..."

"Oh, yum," said Melissa.

"Yeah, but get this. Stephanie and Preston don't want it because it's going to be deep fried and it will wreak havoc on their intestinal tracks. I offered to make them a small ham or turkey roll, but those are too fattening too. So Stephanie said, "How about salmon, Mom?"

"Salmon for Thanksgiving? Yuck. That's not traditional."

"That's what I said. Anyway, she's bringing the salmon. But then Jeff and Abbie announced the other day that they are now eating vegetarian and will not be eating turkey or salmon, and they're cutting out sugar too, so that eliminates the orange cranberry salad and marshmallows for the sweet potatoes. If they want desert, their going to have to be happy with an apple. We're keeping the pies. This is just too deflating."

Melissa listened patiently, all the while trying to figure out how she could gently inform Gen about Brooke and herself going gluten free. She was so preoccupied with what she would say that she didn't realize Gen had stopped talking. Gen's heart skipped a beat when she heard the stony silence on the other end of the phone. "Oh, goodness, I hope this isn't the same kind of silence that precedes the declaration of lifestyle dietary changes. Please tell me, Melissa, you don't have any dietary bombs to drop?"

"Oh, Gen, not to worry."

Silence.

"Okay, spit it out," Genevive demanded.

"Well, it shouldn't be a problem, but Brooke and I are gluten free now. But don't worry, Gen. There shouldn't be any gluten in the turkey, at least, I'm pretty sure. What brand are you getting? I'll look it up on the internet and find out."

Now it was Genevive's turn to be silent. It was a really, really long silence.

"Sis, you there?" asked Melissa.

Rubbing her forehead and slumping in her chair, Genevive said, "Yes, I'm still here. I'll tell you what Mel, I'll make a list of every ingredient of every dish and you can go on the internet or go to the grocery store and figure it all out. In the mean time, Keith and I are going out to lunch in a few minutes for a burger and fries down at the Dumpster Dive Drive-thru. Anything I can get you? Gluten free of course."

"Oh Gen, don't be that way. Look, the main ingredient with gluten is flour. It's in a lot of other stuff, but that's the biggie. We'll bring our own gluten free pie. I'm sure the turkey, mashed potatoes, and sweet potatoes will be find. Marshmallows have gluten, so it's just as well you aren't using them."

"Oh, good, that's a relief," said Genevive, rolling her eyes.

"Are we good Gen? Are you still upset?"

"Of course not," Gen said sarcastically. "But hey, you forgot about Daniel. What are his dietary restrictions? I'm sure he's got at least one?"

Silence.

"Oh for the love of Pete. What it is Mel? Let's just get it out in the open and deal with it. The Dumpster Dive is hopping this time of day and I'm starving. Waiting a long time for our meal will make Keith very cranky."

"Well...Daniel is...well, he's fasting so he'll meet weight for wrestling."

"Ooohhh, great. Why doesn't he just go up to the next weight level instead of down? At this rate, we're going to have enough food left over to feed a hundred seat soup kitchen."

"Gen, please don't be mad. I'm sure he can have a little dab here and there. And he can eat all the pickles and olives he wants."

Genevive lifted one hand in the air. "Thank goodness! No leftovers of the pickles and olives." She turned her head away from the phone toward Keith who was sitting in his recliner mesmerized by her end of the conversation. He lifted his eyebrows and shrugged at her inquiringly. "Did you hear that Keith?" she hollered, "Daniel's got dibs on all the pickles and olives. Hope you don't mind." Keith rolled his eyes. "Not a problem honey, not a problem."

"Mel, Keith said it's not a problem. That is what you said Keith, right?"

"Genevive Marie, you're being a little twit. I promise, we'll eat as much of the dinner as we can. And to save you some trouble, Brooke and I will make the pies, and you'll only have to make the cheesecake."

"Wait a minute, Mel. I thought flour was full of gluten?"

"Oh, these will be gluten free. And I'll leave the sugar out so Jeff and Abbie can have some. I'll have to make something in exchange for the pumpkin pie. The kids are lactose intolerant. No biggie, it'll be great. Oh, I guess we'll have to skip the creamed onions too of course. Brooke doesn't care for onions anyway."

"What a burden you've lifted from me, Mel. Ta ta."

Revised, revised, revised menu

  • 2 pound deep fried turkey (for Keith and I, possibly Melissa and Brooke if it's gluten free)
  • Baked Salmon (for Stephanie and Preston)
  • Sausage and apple dressing (minus the sausage, wouldn't want anyone stopping to get a four-way bypass on the way home).
  • Green Bean Casserole with octopus tentacles in lieu of water chestnuts (Keith insists)
  • Sweet potatoes, plain (for Jeff and Abbie, and Mel and Brooke)
  • Creamed onions (for Keith and I, and Jeff and Abbie, or is it Stephanie and Preston?)
  • Garlic mashed potatoes (check to see if garlic and potatoes have gluten, if not, they are for everyone)
  • Gravy (Keith and I)
  • Gen's homemade Rosemary dinner rolls (Keith and I, maybe someone else, I'm too confused now to figure it out)
  • Pickles and olives (Daniel only)
  • Gluten free, sugar free pumpkin, apple, and pecan pie (for everyone but Keith and I)
  • Gluten full, animal lard based cheesecake (for Keith and I to gleefully indulge in)

    Genevive was suddenly very weary.

Everything free water.
Everything free water. | Source

An unexpected Thanksgiving meal

Wednesday, Thanksgiving eve, Genevive sent out a text to all her family. It was too risky to talk to them all by phone. The text read,

Thanksgiving dinner at 3:00 sharp. It ought to be a memorable feast that will please you all.

Surprisinglythey all arrived at Genevive and Keith's at 3:00 sharp. They knew Genevive and Keith were not happy campers and it would not be wise to be late. They all met out on the curb and strolled up the walk together, chattering and laughing all the way. When they got to the door there was a yellow sheet of legal paper with Genevive's feminine script.

"Greetings family. Come on in, door's open. There's a big surprise awaiting. There is assigned seating so look for your name tags at each place setting. Dad and I are not going to be able to join you as we decided to forgo health food and volunteered with the Dumpster Dive Drive-in to host and serve a free Thanksgiving meal at the homeless shelter. They begged Keith to deep fry a turkey. Love you all so much. Bon apetite. ♥ Genevive.


The family all looked at each other, bewildered and apprehensive. They walked into the empty house. The fire was crackling in the fireplace and the house was warm and toasty inside. Greta was napping on the hearth. She lifted her eyes open for a nanosecond and indifferently returned to her slumber. They made their way to the dining room. Genevive had outdone herself. The table was beautifully set with her good china, freshly polished silverware, sparkling glass wine goblets filled with water, festive gold linen napkins on a white tablecloth. A beautiful cornucopia graced the center of the table, and candles lit on either side. It took them awhile to realize that Genevive had very strategically made the seating arrangements. Melissa and Brooke side by side, Jeff and Abbie side by side, Stephanie and Preston side by side. Daniel at the head of the table.

Daniel was the first to speak. "I don't smell anything. Wouldn't you expect to smell turkey?"

Brooke exclaimed, "You're right. Let's go check, Mom."

Melissa, Brooke, Abbie, and Stephanie marched single file into the kitchen. The room was immaculate and literally gleaming. No dishes, no heat, no turkey on a platter, not even a turkey carcass. The oven was cool and the refrigerator only contained condiments, three Budweiser's, lunch meat and cheese, iceberg lettuce and an avocado in the crisper, and a 2 liter bottle of Sprite. The dishwasher was empty. It looked as though Mary Mild and Mr. Clean had done their job and done it well.

"What is going on, do you wonder?" Abbie asked.

"What are we gonna eat, Mom?" Brooke asked.

They marched back out to the dining room where Jeff, Preston, and Daniel were seated. They appeared to have some tidbit of knowledge of something.

"Sit down, ladies," Jeff said. "Daniel, go ahead."

Daniel picked up an envelope that rested on his plate. On the front was Keith's handwriting that simply said Daniel.

Daniel swallowed, took his dinner knife and slit open the envelope. He stared at the letter, forgetting his audience. "C'mon Daniel, read it," said Brooke.

Daniel read:

"Dear Family, Genevive and I love you all so much that we tried to accommodate each one of your dietary requirements. You may think there is no meal anywhere, but please read on. If you will all notice, each of you has a wine goblet of water. We want you to know this is very special water. You see, it is has no animal fat or by-products. It is gluten free, calorie and fat free, lactose and sugar free. It is fresh, cold, and delicious. Believe it or not, it is also free of preservatives, additives, hormones, and pesticides. We made sure it was pure, spring, water found here in America, as opposed to being pumped in from China or India.

We understand that you need some substance, so we placed a toothpick on each of your plates. We hope you will enjoy your pine floats (pine toothpicks with water). By the way, no trees were destroyed to make these toothpicks. They are actually made out of recycled plastic from the bottles that the fresh, spring, water was contained in. Took me three days to make them. Sheesh! Oh, and I just remembered, Steph and Preston should have salmon and Melissa some gluten free, sugar free pie. If you have room in your big tummies, by all means, chow them down. I hope you will all be able to enjoy your meal with clear consciences, and leave feeling healthy and happy. Happy Thanksgiving. God bless you one and all.

Love Keith

P.S. It would be so helpful if you could clean up. Genevive and I are going to be exhausted when we get home.

What do you do for Thanksgiving meals?

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Goodnight Dear

Late that evening, Genevive and Keith sat once again by the fire, this time with Hot Toddy's. They sat across from each other and reflected on the day.

"Wonder how it went with the family today," said Keith with amusement in his voice. Greta sat at his feet licking her paws.

"I'll bet there were some growling bellies when they left. But the kitchen was clean, I'll give them that. Keith, do you think we did the wrong thing?"

Their eyes met and held for a second. "Naaaw," they said in unison.

Ten minutes later they were laying side by side in their king sized bed. They just couldn't let the day go.

"That was such a great time at the homeless shelter, wasn't it Gen?"

"It sure was. Not one person asked me for a "something-free" dinner item."

"I know. And they were so grateful. They couldn't thank us enough. What's happened to our kids, Genevive? I thought we raised them to appreciate what they had and to be giving toward others. I know they don't mean to, but they have such an attitude of entitlement. Brooke and Daniel are getting the wrong message. And what about when Jeff and Stephanie have children? There are men, women, and children without homes or food and all they could do was nitpick about specific types of food they felt they were entitled too. Thanksgiving without gratitude stinks like an old shoe."

Genevive sighed and she and her husband of 38 years spooned in the night. "Well darling, I don't think they'll nitpick at the next holiday meal. They'll be grateful for anything we serve. Oh, but then we have to deal with gift giving at Christmas. What do you say we give Steph and Jeff and their partners stock in the spring water company?"

"Hoo, great idea Gen. You're a genius, honey," Keith said, nuzzling and kissing his wife on the back of her neck.

"Oh Keith, you are such a charmer."

"Hmm," he said, nuzzling even closer. "That was my intention. I have a lot more where that came from. May I?"

"It would be lovely, dear, but I am so beat. Why don't you hold that thought until morning."

Silence.

"Keith? Keith are you still with me?"

Genevive heard his familiar, contented snore. Smiling she snuggled still closer to the love of her life. " I love you Keith Franks. Goodnight dear. Happy Thanksgiving."

© 2012 Lori Colbo

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lifegate 4 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

LS,

What a great story and what a great way to make a point! I didn't see the end coming. Thanks for putting this one down for us and hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!


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lambservant 4 years ago from Pacific Northwest Author

God bless you LG.


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Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

Bet they learned a lesson! It is about that bad and not much fun for the major cooks in the family. I say everyone show up who wants to, eat what they want, don't what they don't want and who cares?

Good story, I enjoyed it and it ended very well for many.


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Hyphenbird 4 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

This story is so much fun and so true of today's people. One would think people can find something to eat on the menu without making a big deal over it. I am vegan and managed to get full on Thanksgiving Day without creating a scene. I love, love your story! It made me laugh out lout a couple of times.


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lambservant 4 years ago from Pacific Northwest Author

Glad you were able to enjoy your thanksgiving dinner HB. I actually understand and fully respect people's choices to eat healthier. I often find myself wishing that people would make the extra effort to prepare holiday meals with less fat and calories. But oh, I love all that buttery goodness. Thanks for your kind comments and have a blessed holiday season.

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