1973, Thanksgiving Day. 22 years old.
My roommates Geoff and Mark and I drug ourselves out of bed at the crack of noon. The first order of the day was to locate a Thanksgiving Dinner we could crash.
Although we were all working in the restaurant business, the mystery of “Thanksgiving Dinner” wasn’t something we wanted to tackle. It was best left to Moms who, presumably, had stood at their own Mothers apron strings going back generations to 1621…or so.
I remember watching my Nana and then Mom whip together what amounted to an 11 course dinner and still be able to cook a bird the size of a spare tire.
It was later that I learned the task also involved a bottle of wine stashed in the cupboard, 17 trips to the market and a few choice words muttered about the men watching the Lions play football.
All families develop their Thanksgiving Day traditions and we had ours. After a couple of beers we headed off to the Castle Miniature Golf Course. Nothing says Turkey Day like an invigorating round of mini golf. I remember at one family’s celebration there was an uncle who insisted on peeling the potatoes for the mashed potatoes. He was an artist with a peeler. Not a speck of skin or bruise was left when he finished. Of course he pared 10 pounds of potatoes down to about 3 pounds and shaved each spud down to a point, honed sharp enough to be used as a shiv at a prison riot.
My memories a little bit hazy about that year, but I believe we scored pretty well on our turkey-mooching. Dressed in my best bell bottom pants, silky rayon shirt and corduroy wide lapel jacket I looked totally…well, just totally.
Fortunately no photos are known to exist of that evening. But I do remember meeting a cute girl in a granny dress.
Now flash forward to the present.
We are sitting in a hotel in New Jersey. Since a gathering of the clan at our home in Massachusetts would require a logistic endeavor similar to the invasion of Iraq, we decided to haul ourselves west (but not far enough west) to New Jersey.
This year the National Weather Service and their evil minions (the TV weather babes) decided to panic the east coast with reports of a storm of biblical proportion that would cripple all transportation except for ox carts.
It rained…a little.
This morning I discovered another Massachusetts fun fact. They have blue laws. No, this doesn’t refer to swearing in nightclub comedy acts. Evidently the powers that be think every store should be closed on Thanksgiving…that includes markets! (however the Kennedy Clause allows liquor stores to be open).
Holy Crap! Trying to put on a Thanksgiving Dinner when the only backup is 7-11? Imagine battling it out over the last jar of Turkey Gravy with a large Irish woman…probably Sully’s wife. Not preparing T-Day Dinner was a lucky move for me. I had the fun of playing answer man to my daughter’s first big Thanksgiving shindig (14 people) in Iowa without having to chop a single onion.