Every Thanksgiving, my family invites my grandparents on my dad’s side to come over and eat a big feast. My grandpa puts on quite a show for my sisters and me every time he eats. Of course, he doesn’t know he is entertaining to us kids. But we laugh and laugh (after the meal) and recall all of it. Grandpa always burps out loud, and the burp never interrupts his meal. He doesn’t even say, “Excuse me” as if he did not burp. He has false teeth, and they go clickety-clack while he chews his food.
This year I am nine years old. I never look forward to the big meal we have every Thanksgiving. I just never like to eat that much. I do not like green vegetables and most things taste terrible to me. One time at school, our Principal Mr. Weaver went around the cafeteria and told all the students to try one bite of the spinach. Yuck! I put a small bite of the wilted, slimy, dark green, stinky spinach in my mouth and gagged. I just could not swallow it!
I had all kinds of ways to not really eat food at home. I would put some in my napkin, some under my plate’s rim, and some in the bottom of my milk glass. I even would stuff my mouth full of food and ask to go to the bathroom and spit it all out in the toilet. No, I did not have what they call bulimia, and I was not anorexic. I learned those words from my big sister Alice after we watched a movie on TV one time.
Anyway, I want to tell you about this year’s Thanksgiving dinner. It was a time I will always remember. It changed my life!
I could smell the turkey roasting in the oven and the homemade bread baking. My mom was busy in the kitchen. My sisters and I had already set the table for seven people. We got to use the special Thanksgiving dishes that Mom made out of ceramics. The green glasses went well with the dishes. Mom even bought some napkins that had the fruit coming out of that funny shaped basket, called a cornucopia. We were just about ready for Grandpa and Grandma to arrive. We usually only got to see them twice a year since we did not live in the same city.
During Christmas, my family invites my aunts, uncles, and cousins. There are so many of us that we always have a kid’s table and a big people’s table. I like sitting at the big people’s table during Thanksgiving.
Dad always sits at one head of the table and Mom at the other head. Dad would always say grace before we ate the big meal. When dad prays, he always says: “Use this food to the nourishment of our bodies.” I always wonder why he would say that.
So, here we all were sitting around the big table with the two extra leaves added making it an extra-long table. I forgot to mention the dark green tablecloth. Mom’s favorite colors are green and blue. Anyway, we passed the food around, and I happened to sit next to my dad. If I did not put any peas on my plate, he would plunk a spoonful of them right on my plate. That went the same for the broccoli and the cooked carrots. Oh well, put them on the plate, but I am not going to eat them!
I have mashed potatoes with gravy in the middle of them, peas, broccoli, corn, carrots, turkey, and bread. Mom said, “Oh, Ann try the cranberry sauce. Just put a little on your plate. You never know you might like it.” I put about a half of a spoonful on my plate. No way would I eat cranberry sauce! As usual, I am moving my food around my plate pretending to eat, but not. I only like mashed potatoes, bread, and turkey. The adults are talking about boring things and every once and a while, Mom would say, “Stop playing with your food, Ann.” I was miserable because the meal would last for a long time, and I had to sit there at the table until I ate everything on my plate.
All of a sudden, this little tiny blue guy jumps on my plate. He is not a Smurf. He is just like those skinny bendable things that are fun to play with. He does not talk; he only gestures to me. He jumps into my gravy and swims around! Oh no! What is he doing? Then he covers himself in my potatoes and looks like a snowman. I laughed out loud, and everyone turned to look at me. I just said, “That was funny!” Everyone seemed to accept my comment and kept on talking and laughing through the meal. Next, the little blue guy made a goal with my bread roll. He hollowed a hole in the center and started kicking the peas into the goal. He made hand and foot signals that if he made a goal, I had to eat the pea. He kicked my peas over and over. I ended up eating about half of my peas. Then, the blue guy made a circle of the corn kernels and he sat in the middle. He twirled around and around until I ate all the corn surrounding him. He was quite dizzy after a few times of that!
Then, as if on queue, my grandpa lets out a huge sounding burp. The little blue guy looked frightened, threw up his arms and fell back into the cranberry sauce. He got up shaking his head and now he was purple! He looked at his arms and legs and gave a big smile. That was a good use of the cranberry sauce! My sisters and I tried not to laugh at grandpa’s burp, but the blue guy that changed to purple got me laughing so hard that I had to start coughing and leave the table to disguise my laugh.
Once I could control myself, I returned to the table. Everyone looked happy and just kept on eating. I kept looking around to see if anyone else could see the now purple guy. No one could see him, except me. He was really fun to watch and he made me forget about not liking to eat my vegetables.
Next, the purple guy played with the carrots. The purple guy threw them like Frisbees around my plate. Then he gestured me to open my mouth and he threw them into my mouth! After about five times, I said, ”Stop!” That got everyone’s attention again. I said, “I want to say what I am thankful for this year.” My mom said, “That is a good idea Anne. Why don’t we all share something that we are thankful for from this past year. Ann you can start.”
“OK”, I began. “I am thankful for my new friends. They make me laugh and have fun during times that are not so fun.”
“That is good Ann,” said my dad. Then, everyone shared something that they were thankful for. In the meantime, the little purple guy on my plate got some broccoli and made it look like, with his pleading eyes, he wanted to give me a bouquet of flowers. I took the broccoli, smelled it, and crunched my eyes, held my breath, and I ate it!
I looked down at my plate and was surprised to see that I had almost eaten everything! Wow! The purple guy wanted me to finish off the peas, but I pressed my lips and shook my head no. His eyes opened wide and he made a gesture that if I did not eat them, he would kick them right over onto my father’s plate, on top of his potatoes. Boy, would I get in trouble! So, the blue guy won, and I ate all of my peas.
My mom asked everyone, “Who wants dessert?” We all said together in unison, “I do!” I like pecan pie and ice cream. I don’t even mind a small slice of pumpkin pie on the side. Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Don’t forget to try the cranberry sauce!