In January of 2002 I took a creative writing class at a local community college with my mom. Not only did we learn creative writing skills, we met some great friends and with them formed a writer’s group. We have been meeting regularly ever since!
Our last meeting was right before Christmas and besides catching up and sharing the writing we had done at home, we chose from a list of writing prompts that I found on the Writer’s Digest site, and wrote for 20 minutes.
I chose the following prompt:
Write about the only time you hosted Thanksgiving-and how it went so terribly wrong. Start with the line, “For my first Thanksgiving as host, I bought the biggest turkey they had in the store,” and end your story with “And that’s why we all ate hamburgers.”
And here is what I came up with:
For my first Thanksgiving as host, I bought the biggest turkey they had in the store. Normally mom and dad host Thanksgiving dinner but as my siblings and I continue to add new branches and leaves to the family tree, their dining room and kitchen cannot fit all the new sprouting buds.
My husband and I recently bought a beautiful open-concept and very large six-bedroom home for us and our four children so we decided to host the family dinner. My four siblings and fourteen nieces and nephews were thankful for personal space being reinstated to the dinner for the first time in many years. We joined several tables together so that everyone could sit and eat at once, instead of taking shifts.
I was happy to have everyone together and proud to be the host. I was especially proud of not only having cooked the turkey to golden brown perfection but to having cooked it within the estimated time frame. As I carried the turkey to the table I thought to myself For my first year as host I am the hostess with the mostest. That was true until one nephew poked another nephew who retaliated by hitting that nephew back, provoking my brother to give them “the look”, causing the retaliating nephew to say, “What are you looking at me for? He started it?”
“You’re a liar! Dad he’s lying!”
“Enough you two,” my sister-in-law said.
My youngest niece, who cannot stand conflict of any kind, covered her ears with her hands but as she did, she hit her plate, which knocked her milk over, which ran onto the lap of her older sister causing her to stand upright suddenly, which threw her chair backwards.
Nothing to worry about at this point. Not only was I the hostess with the mostest but I also have superb reflexes. I avoided that chair like Sidney Crosby avoids a hit on the ice. I guess I just lack the total awareness he has on the ice, or should I say hardwood floor? I did not notice my dog and his furry cousins come to life from the mat by the patio door, racing to lap up the milk. One ran in front of me, one behind me and two between my legs. To prevent myself from falling I threw out one of my hands, like I was walking on a tightrope, keeping the other hand under the platter, trying for dear life to keep the turkey from falling to no avail. It was too heavy.
The biggest turkey they had in the store slipped from its silver platter almost in slow motion. Luckily my quick-thinking sister noticed the beginning of its plunge and jumped up to save the day. She came towards me, arms outstretched, and grabbed for the golden fowl. She caught it but I had that thing buttered and basted to perfection. It was moist – far too moist to grasp. As the turkey slipped through her fingers she tried to pull it towards her like a football. She may have made the catch if her momentum had not carried her on a collision path with me. Upon impact that turkey was squeezed from her grasp with such force that it shot straight into the air before falling on the top of her head and ricocheting to the floor, directly in the middle of the puddle of spilled milk. The four dogs, now spattered with milk, wasted no time sinking their teeth into my turkey, which is why we all ate hamburgers.