Friday, December 4, 2009

Thanksgiving Side Dishes

I didn’t post last week – things became chaotic with the Thanksgiving holiday and working the day after. I never really got the chance to develop the story I wanted into a full fledged entry. Devoted readers might recognize that I tend to use story themes based on the time of year. For last week I was leaning in two different directions as far as Thanksgiving related stories go – one story about the actual Thanksgiving meal and a more recent story about the insanity that occurs during the day after shopping. Neither of these were really main event stories, both constituted more of a side dish feeling.

Story 1: Turkey Day sans Turkey

When I was a kid, I was a picky eater. I realize now that I might still be considered in the picky range, but thanks to some new found food bravery and constant encouragement (and the occasional forcing) by my fiancé, I’ve tried many new things of late. If you invented a time machine for the sole purpose of going back to tell the child version of me that in the future I would be eating tomatoes, mushrooms and eggplant, I probably would have vomited uncontrollably just from hearing about it.

One of the things I didn’t eat was turkey. I love it now, but back when I was a kid, I could not fathom eating it. My mom would be in the kitchen all day, preparing this amazing meal, and I would stand next to her in the early stages of a tantrum just thinking about what was going to be served. Mom did what any person who was too busy to deal with my annoyance – she gave me what I wanted for dinner that night so I would shut up.

Hot Dogs.

That’s right – for about three years in my elementary school days I would sit down to a beautiful Thanksgiving dinner of Hot Dogs. I liked the side dishes, but it was easier to have me not occupying valuable kitchen space pulling on her sweater to complain about the food she was making. Eventually I got over whatever unknown problem I had with turkey and began to love it, but not a year goes by that my mom doesn’t remind me about being thankful for Hot Dogs.

Story 2: Fishing with my Father

My father counted down to the morning after Thanksgiving every year. Not having celebrated Christmas, this was easily the closest he would ever come. The advertisements for the various stores touted their best deals and he would circle his favorite ones. The shopping list would grow as larger as the times the stores opened crept earlier each year. I would awaken from my post tryptophan coma and find the living room and kitchen covered in shopping bags from the local stores (aside from the hidden ones that would be arriving to us later on).

After watching this from the sidelines my whole like, I finally got into the game last year. My father, the experienced veteran, made sure I was in it for real and not going to balk at the early hours. I assured him I wouldn’t let him down and we called it an early night to wake up long before sunrise.

The alarm hit just before 5:00 in the morning and we quickly dressed and headed to the car. Some fathers and sons rise early to go fishing, but that was never our style - unless of course, we were fishing for the best bargain in town.

The first stop was Wal-mart where I reeled in a Marlin (a new desktop computer) for our new apartment. Dad hit got a hooked a Red Snapper (a digital camera) for my still sleeping sister. We then crossed the street to arrive at Staples for some much discounted Bluefish, (bluetooth headsets). After exhausting my hometown’s resources, we traveled to North Haven and ran into the soon to be extinct Circuit City to catch some Minnows (DVD’s). Best Buy was next up where my Dad stocked up his Trout collection (Wii games). Next door to Best Buy was Target where I lost track of what we got. On the way home was a quick stop in at Kohl’s.

If you’ve never been to Kohl’s, it’s similar to a smaller JC Penny’s or Caldor’s, to those who actually remember it. It’s an “everything” store and all of their merchandise is usually between 60 and 70 percent off. On top of that, anyone with a Kohl’s card got an extra 15% off, and there were always coupons. The big deal was an electric griddle for $9.99, and I had to have one. I darted to the kitchenware section and saw the depleted pile of griddles. I made it and picked up the last one on the stack. No sooner than I read the front of the box, a woman pointed right in my face and asked “Are you buying that?” I wasn’t about to throw it back, so I huddled it under my arm and left that section of the store.

Our cooler was full and it was time to head back to the shore. We arrived home at 7:00 am and the house was still quiet. There would be a second trip out to scrounge the stores for left over deals when the rest of the family woke up. In the mean time, my father and I sat at the breakfast table and admired our haul, already thinking about our next fishing trip.

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