Epic Thanksgiving in Two Parts

November 27, 2010 by Jen

Thanksgiving is like a giant “Don’t Panic” sign in the midst of a galaxy full of exam- and school-related Vogons.

Thanksgiving in the South, I might add, is a cultural experience unlike any other.

You Might Be at a Southern Potluck If…

…you ask, “was that pimento cheese in my corn casserole?”
…walking by another woman carrying the same dessert is a travesty akin to seeing another woman in the same Dior dress.
…to keep the peace, you must take a spoonful of each homemade applesauce. The respective owners will have a running tally of whose dish is emptier, and it might come to blows.
…watching what you eat means you forgo thirds and skip straight to dessert.
…the vegetarian option is to eat around the ham in the green bean casserole.
…normal laws of fractions don’t apply when you eat “just a sliver” of multiple kinds of pie.
…cooking, eating, hospitality, and complimenting the cook are 100% still art forms.

Beyond the Bounty

(…the quilted quicker picker-upper)

Thanksgiving is definitely about more than the food, however. This year, I’ve managed to renew my fear and utter, complete, total, infinite loathing of the sound of styrofoam squeaking against itself. It brings back memories of easing frosted china figurines out of a thick shell of styrofoam for the family snow village. Fingernails on a chalkboard x 10 to the power of 10. Shiver.

What being the resident English grad student means is that I can’t escape the Shakespeare recitation after Thanksgiving dinner, with its panicked mid-Julius Caesar memory check to make sure there are no sexual innuendos in the piece I’ve started declaiming.

There’s also the glorious experience of sitting in Denny’s and drinking enormous whipped-cream topped coffees with my sis and brother-to-be because nothing else is open on Thanksgiving evening. Let’s not forget the small child in the restroom who looks through the crack in the stall door and asks “Who’s that?”

On the way home, there’s that magical moment of turning on Christmas music for the drive and singing along, loudly. With it comes the overnight multiplication of bundled up Christmas trees on other cars’ roof racks. And knowing that I’m enjoying the warmth of bed while the madness of Black Friday shopping goes on without me.

The Don’t Panic sign starts to blink feebly on Friday, and by Saturday, it’s needing new batteries desperately. But after all, panic is the best motivation, and I can always justify the time off from schoolwork by saying confidently, “Imagine the time I’ll save on eating during finals week because I’m still stuffed from Thanksgiving dinner(s)!”

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