One gray and sad Christmas our family had gathered for the traditional Slatherfest, where our family would wet its beaks with the most delicious turkey, stuffing, and the junky vegetables the adults would eat. My Dad and Mom were there, my brother and I, and my mother’s parents were also welcomed, as always, to the table-blanketing meal.
Cooking had not gone too well. My mother, out of desperation, perhaps, forgot the number one rule in our family: never let Dad anywhere near the kitchen to “help.”
Did I mention that he had been making sure his beak was already wet?
At any rate, it was time to “test” the bird, and my father tentatively guided it out of the oven to utter the words “it’s perfect” without piercing its skin – maybe he had X-ray vision? My mom told him he would have to cut into the side to see what the meat looked like, but Dad unfortunately discovered that both of his hands were holding the pan with the turkey in it, and had no room for a knife.
He carefully slid the turkey back into the oven and almost put it onto the rack successfully. The pan collapsed like the worth of the dollar and turkey juice splashed everywhere inside the oven and onto my father’s forearms, which hurt.
“Tis the season to be bullshi-,” my Dad sang through gritted teeth.
After shooing my father out of the kitchen where he belonged, my mother did her best to save the turkey and finish the rest of the dinner by herself.
Dinnertime!! Everyone stormed the table. The bird was plopped onto its cutting board, which presented a problem for my father. What to do with the rest of the slop still in the pan?
My father opted for the truly American solution of dumping the waste into the woods where no one can see it. He upended the pan at the back of our yard, and the juice instantly melted away a circle of snow.
Finally we all sat down to the meal. Jokes and stories were told, everyone laughed and enjoyed each other’s company.
Weee-ooo, weee-ooo. The noise sounded from farther off.
It was getting closer.
It was coming down our street!
The fire trucks were stopping in front of our house!
We watched through the front window in horror, feeling like vermin, as a gang of firefighters stormed around to the back of the house. That was when we finally looked out the back window to see a plume of smoke billowing skywards to paint the world a new hue of gray. It came from the place, duh, where my father had dumped the turkey goop.
At least we all had something to laugh about, looking back.