“Dad! Dad! No… Arrrrrgggg!!” Jarod yelled at the screen.
So far the Zoom call was not going well.
“Hey! Marie! Can you see this? It’s Jarod! I’ve got Jarod on the screen!” called back Jarod’s father, Jim. “Hey buddy! I can see ya… Can you see me?”
“No Dad,” Jarod groaned. “You have the camera setting wrong… I can see Mum and she is not finished getting dressed…”
“Oh, right,” chuckled Jarod’s father. “Is this better..?”
Jarod swore as the call ended.
Tapping the Zoom icon on his phone and following all the convoluted instructions eventually Jarod managed to activate the call again.
“Marie! I think I got it working again!!” laughed Jim, genuinely proud of his efforts.
Jarod let him claim the rare victory over technology; the son could see clearly the joy nestled amongst his father’s wrinkles.
“Well done Dad!” congratulated the son.
“Happy Thanksgiving, Jarod love,” called Jarod’s mum from the other side of his parent’s master bedroom.
“Thanks Mum! Are you descent now?” replied Jarod with hope obvious in his tone.
“What do you mean descent?” inquired his mum, hurt somewhat. “I’ve always been descent to you and your sister.”
Before Jarod could reply his dad turned the phone so the screen showed Marie, she still hadn’t put on pants.
“Yeah… Say happy Turkey Day to your mother and show some respect,” suggested Jarod’s dad.
Jarod muted himself as he let escape a lengthy sigh.
“Yes, sure dad… Happy Thanksgiving, mum,” said Jarod. “And happy gobble gobble day to you, dad.”
Jim attempted his best impression of a turkey, his chin fat that was covered in a thin film of white and grey hairs wobbled like a real turkey as a sound resembling a strangled giraffe emanated from the phone speaker.
“You should save that for Vick,” Jarod suggested, unable to stop a short chuckle from escaping.
“Don’t encouraging him,” grumbled mum. “He’s been practicing acting like a turkey since sunrise this morning.”
“I wouldn’t have thought he would have needed much practice,” suggested Jarod.
The son’s attempt to keep his face straight lasted four seconds. That was around the same amount of time it took for his mum and dad both to cotton on to the joke.
“You little…” growled Jim. Jarod muted his father as the older man spat profanities at the screen.
“I can’t hear you!” laughed Jarod. “I have you on mute…”
Victoria’s name appeared and was quickly followed by an image, the pretty face of Jarod’s younger sis.
“Hey Vick!” called Jarod.
There was a moment of delay as Victoria’s image froze and then she beamed a smile.
“Hey big bro! Hey Mum and Dad! Happy gobble gobble day!” announced Victoria. “I’m here at the cabin with the twins!”
“Half your luck sis… How did you get away from the flat before lockdown?”
Victoria just smiled her mysterious smile she usually reserved for when she was planning on keeping a secret.
Tommy, Victoria’s oldest (by thirty three minutes) appeared on screen beside his mother.
“Mum got sick of dad and drove us up here in the middle of the night,” the youngster blurted out.
“Hiiiiiiiiii everyone!!!” added Cindy as she popped up beside her brother. “We almost got stopped by a policeman!”
Victoria’s microphone image suddenly switched to mute and her video feed went blank.
Around thirty seconds or so later she was back on screen, alone, the twins had disappeared. Jarod thought to himself that Vick did not look at all pleased.
“Everything ok there, sis?” Jarod asked.
“Yes, darling, what happened to the twins?” asked Marie, concerned.
“The kids are fine mum, not keen on the whole stay indoors and never ever leave the house thing…” began Victoria with a sigh. “I’ve sent them to their room for some quiet time.”
There was a massive thump then followed by a pair of howls.
“I have to go!” stated Victoria.
Jarod watched his sister leap out of her seat and rush through the area of the cabin that was still visible on the screen. There was some muffled shouting and the crying grew in volume. Jarod muted his sister then to give her some privacy.
“What is going on?” asked Jim and Marie together.
Jarod was suddenly confronted by the concerned faces of both his parents.
“Probably nothing,” Jarod suggested, hopeful. “I would say it is just kids being kids.”
“I remember you and your sister had some terrible fights!” laughed Jarod’s dad.
“I remember a few trips to hospital too,” added his mum.
“All I know is there is a turkey in all of our ovens that probably needs to be checked on…” suggested Jarod seriously.
“I’ll go!” said Marie suddenly.
“I’ll just wait here for you to come back, son,” suggested Jim.
“No dad, I’ll bring you with me and show you my bird,” Jarod rebutted.
The trip to the kitchen area of the flat was a swift one.
“You look well settled in,” said Jarod’s dad.
Jarod opened the oven door and took a deep breath as the steam engulfed him. Over his shoulder the younger man called back toward the face on his phone screen.
“When lockdown is over I’ll have to have the whole family over!”
Jarod examined his turkey and smiled. The bird looked succulent, on the very verge of perfection.
“I just wish you and mum could smell this feast right now,” stated Jarod.
“Me too, son,” Jim replied immediately. “Your mother’s burnt ours.”
“Another Thanksgiving vegetarian style?” chortled Jarod.
“You would almost think the woman has me on a diet,” moaned Jarod’s father.
“Hey you two! I’m back!” announced Vick, her screen still blank but her voice audible, far calmer than before. “Where’s mum?”
“Checking on the bird,” stated Jim and Jarod together.
“The turkey?” enquired Victoria, worry creeping into her voice, causing it to crack. “Oh fu…”
Jarod muted his sister just in time.
When Victoria came back online Jarod noticed she and the twins all had toasted sandwiches. Vick’s was just tomato where the twins both had cheese. Marie and Jim had plates full of roasted potatoes and steamed Brussel sprouts. Jarod was the only one with a shiny looking turkey ready to carve.
“For what we are about to eat… May the Lord make us truly thankful,” announced Jim, his head bowed and eyes closed.
“You don’t sound thankful, dad,” muttered Victoria.
Jarod could not help but laugh.
“Amen!” chorused the family.
“Now, come on and carve up that beauty, Jarod,” suggested his mum.
“Yes, we all want to see what years in the kitchen with mum has taught you,” added Vick.
Jarod nodded at his phone and fired up the electric carver. As the knife buzzed to life Jarod touched the breast of. In one terrible moment that encapsulated the year that had been the turkey collapsed. It was there and then Jarod realized he should never had bought his turkey frozen in a box.
As a family the Deersons all laughed. It was indeed the year of know thanks.