Manolo says, it is Tuesday and you are back at your desk doing whatever it is you normally do, but very badly, as you are completely distracted by Thanksgiving, which is now barreling down upon you like the runaway freight train full of free-range turkeys.
Thanksgiving was not supposed to be crazy this year. It was going to be just you and Gary and the kids and your mother. But then your mother called two weeks ago, and said she’d invited your Uncle Bill to fly out from Buffalo for Thanksgiving.
“Okay,” you thought, “one more won’t hurt. Uncle Bill is an old school nut who will probably goad Gary into an argument about professional football. But one more won’t hurt.”
And then your mother informed you that Uncle Bill insisted on inviting his son, your layabout cousin Billy, to fly in from Hollywood to join you. Billy calls himself the “writer-director-actor-producer,” although what he really is is the 43-year-old, cut-rate playboy who subsists on the variety of menial jobs and handouts from your uncle. Although, to his credit, he did once appear as the non-speaking extra on Will and Grace, in the distant background, as the coffee shop patron.
Speaking of people subsisting on handouts, two days after your mother’s call, your daughter Jeannie, who is away at the college, called to say that she has invited some dorm friends home for Thanksgiving — three foreign girls and one Latvian boy — who have nowhere to go for the holiday.
“The more the merrier,” you think. And then the conversation takes the surreal turn.
“Mom,” says Jeannie, “one of the girls is from Africa, and in her culture the turkey is considered sacred.”
“We can’t have turkey, because Ki’x’il’ko,” the name included three clicks and the pop, “says her people consider the turkey to be a type of sacred spirit.”
Later, when you tell Gary that you’re going to have to order goose for Thanksgiving, his reply is succinct.
“Bull-crap. The turkey is sacred to my people, too, especially when served with sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce.”
“But we can’t be offending this girl.”
“Tell her it’s a really big chicken. Nobody thinks chickens are holy.”
And then five minutes after you get off the phone with the butcher, who informs you that you cannot order the 23-pound goose, so you’ll need three smaller birds, Jeannie calls back.
“Mom,” she says, “Ki’x’il’ko says it’s okay to have a turkey. She looked up the word. It’s ostrich that’s supposed to be sacred to her people.”
Luckily, you were able to call the butcher back and cancel the flock of geese.
And now, on Tuesday, with two days to go, you are frazzled and distracted from your work. And yet you are also filled with pride that everyone would consider your home and your family as being the good place to celebrate this important holiday.
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