What would I do without my friend Tracy when I am stuck for a blog topic. Plus, he can be a lot funnier than I am….
And now it’s time for my annual post-Turkey Day apology
I’m so sorry I ruined your Thanksgiving dinner this year. I thought you knew that I hate being put on the spot, trying to express what I’m thankful for in front of a room full of other people. But please believe me when I say I had absolutely no intention of saying, “I’m thankful for not living any closer to my in-laws.” You’ve got to believe me that it was just nerves.
I know this might be hard to imagine, but between the time I knew it was my turn, and the moment I opened my mouth to speak, the following thoughts flashed through my itty-bitty brain:
I could say, “I’m really thankful for my goats not escaping this week, and so are you, because if they had, we would have brought something else instead of the chicken casserole.”
No, wait a minute, I can’t mention “goats” and “casserole” in the same sentence. We’re just about to eat, and if I do, some of them won’t. Okay, how about this:
“I’m thankful that the turkey did not become our national emblem like Benjamin Franklin wanted. Can you imagine heating up leftover bald eagle for supper tomorrow? It’d probably be a little tough, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it tasted just like chicken.”
Okay, maybe not that either. Let’s try to stay away from mentioning food.
“I’m thankful that our little town voted ‘No’ against the local sale of beer and wine, because that means if I want a brewsky, I have to drive to the next little town, but before I get there, I always forget why I was going there in the first place, so I just fill up my car with gas, keep heading west and hope I remember what I went out to get by the time I get to where I was supposed to be going in the first place.
But I never do, so I stop off at the Bass Pro Shop to look for fishing lures, because I’ve realized that I’ve become an old man who doesn’t own a stinking-huge tackle box full of lures, and just the thought of that actually made me cry the other day. So I need to start doing something about it before I’m dead and gone, because if I don’t, it’ll be too late, and then I won’t care.”
Well, that’s a bit long isn’t it? Besides, I can’t admit that I don’t own a tackle box. What would the father-in-law say? What would the brother-in-law say? They would look down upon me with more scorn than they already do, even with it being Thanksgiving. Nope, no mention of tackle boxes today. So how about coming up with something short and sweet like:
“I’m thankful for Thanksgiving!”
You’ve got to be kidding! Everybody else will be spilling their guts about how thankful they are for family, and health, and good times, and friends – and you’re going to be thankful for Thanksgiving? How pathetic.
I know, I’ll say something completely “off the wall.” They’ll know I’m joking, it’ll break the ice a little bit, and everything will be peachy-keen! But what? But what? Oh, but what?
So, all those ideas went through my brain right before I opened my mouth to say, “I’m thankful for not living any closer to my in-laws.” And when I saw all those jaws drop open in shock, and then didn’t hear one bit of laughter, and then felt this sharp pain in my side from the fork your daughter was stabbing me with, I thought: “Oops!”
Dear Mother-in-law: I’m thankful that you’re such an understanding mother-in-law and that over the years you’ve always forgiven the foolish things that I have said and done. If you’ll forgive me just one more time, I promise I’ll never come to your house again, I’ll never invite you over to mine, and I will never talk bad about you in front of the children. So, how about it? Do we have a deal?
(CLARIFICATION: The above essay is a work of fiction. I have an absolutely wonderful mother-in-law who will not be offended in the least that I’ve made her the butt of my joke in a story that hopefully she’ll NEVER know about or read – which would be something I could truly be thankful for.)
Tracy Farr is a teacher living in East Texas who drives a school bus for the fun of it. In his spare time he plays the banjo, but never on Thursdays. You can read more of his stories at www.stinkycreektexas.com.