GALLOPIN’ GRANDMA: Thankful, again, I guess

By on November 26, 2013

JACKSON HOLE, WYO – Once upon a time a bunch of people in odd-looking clothes boarded an odd-looking ship and sailed to a foreign shore where they hoped to acquire some beachfront property and go into business. Unfortunately, someone already owned this property, and they took a dim view of this.

There followed all sorts of real estate double-dealing and just plain rotten behavior on both sides until they declared a truce and planned a big dinner, as if that would make a difference. This dinner turned into another fight over whom to invite, where to sit, whom should carve the roast beast and whose mother made the best green bean casserole. They named the dinner Thanksgiving because they were thankful that they wouldn’t have to do it again. Once was OK, but more than that was too much.

Apparently someone didn’t get the message, because nothing has changed. People are still fighting over the same things, still whining and complaining, still arguing about where they are supposed to sit, and refusing to eat the dark meat. The only difference now is that instead of running off to fight Indians, we are running off to the mall to fight other shoppers. We should be thankful this only happens once a year.

It could be worse, and it is. My friend LaWanda from back home writes that she is in charge of the annual Lutefisk Dinner. Lutefisk is dried cod even the Norwegians won’t eat so they ship it over here. It looks like a chunk of floor tile and after three days of soaking in lye, water and bleach, it gets all white and squishy. It is then boiled until it looks, smells and tastes like fish-flavored Jell-O before being served with boiled potatoes. You can tell it’s done when people in Hazmat suits are nailing your door shut. LaWanda can’t understand why the Norwegians subject themselves to such awfulness. She figures it’s God’s punishment for living in Minnesota and being Vikings fans when one could easily move to Wisconsin and be a Packers fan.

While fighting to wrestle the turkey into the oven I was reminded of our old neighbors who had a boiled head dinner for Christmas. Some unfortunate sheep’s or pig’s head is gussied up and boiled, then served surrounded by various random animal parts. Everyone fights over the eyeballs, because they are the best part, apparently.

Overall, there are best things and worst things, and sometimes they happen to be the same things, but they are ultimately only things. And if it takes a boiled eyeball to make your holiday, so be it. I’ll leave you with a little poem for the holidays.

May your days be merry and bright,
With nary an eyeball in sight,
And if there is one, then deal with it,
It could be fun.


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