How to Handle Thanksgiving

A week ago, the economy claimed another magazine market and so came an end to my columnist’s days. But I’m ever so grateful for all those years of writing about the funny stuff in life. I learned a ton about humor writing, and writing in general. I met folks whom I would never have met, and I shared lots of family stories that still haunt/embarrass my kids.

Ah, good times, good times. So, I thought I’d share one of my earliest columns here at the Hall of a Fame. Sort of a fond farewell to the art form of writing the funny in 350 words or less. And it just happens to be about Thanksgiving. (P.S. Hope yours is swell!)

How to Handle Thanksgiving

To understand what passes as cooking in the Hall household, one must first be familiar with the Cathy C. Hall 15 Minute Rule of Cooking. Namely, that a quarter hour (fifteen minutes) is all the time that I (Cathy C. Hall) will spend on food preparation (cooking). So you’re probably asking yourself, “Say, how does she handle something really big, something like Thanksgiving?”

Interesting question.

Back in my young newlywed days, no one expected much from me in the kitchen. I could slap together a mean tuna-burger, but somehow that tasty dish didn’t exactly scream, “Happy Thanksgiving!” So, my mom or mother-in-law usually ended up with the holiday detail.

Not that my mother-in-law minded. She was a great cook-from-scratch kind of woman who frequently wondered why her son had not keeled over from starvation living under my roof. For the first few years, she dutifully prepared a Southern Thanksgiving feast fit for a small army. Everyone was happily stuffed. (Except for the bird.)

But one year, someone gave my mother a smoked turkey. It seemed a waste not to fix it. My mom and I discussed the possibility of toting the bird to my mother-in-law’s, but that seemed a little…oh, what’s the word? Oh yeah, rude. So we came up with an alternate plan. I should have Thanksgiving at my house and prepare all the food. My mom thought it was a terrific idea.

We sat at the table that year, my parents, my mother-in-law, my hubby and me. Everything looked delicious. Everything smelled delicious. But something was not quite…right. I believe my mother-in-law said it best: “This turkey is raw.” That put a bit of a damper on the festivities.

After that, it was understood that my cooking services would no longer be required. I had used the Cathy C. Hall Ruination Rule of Cooking Something Really Big. Namely, that I (Cathy C. Hall) will totally screw up (ruin) a turkey (Something Really Big).

So that’s how I handle Thanksgiving. I let someone else do the cooking and everyone is happy. (Well, except for the bird).

10 thoughts on “How to Handle Thanksgiving

  1. Haha! I wish I had ruined the bird early on, and then I wouldn't be spending all day today and half the day tomorrow in the kitchen. In fact, that should be a code we offer our daughters to ensure they never spend a Thanksgiving in the kitchen: "Ruin the Bird." It's too late for me, but not my girls. I think I'll have tee-shirts made that say RTB. Good advice that. I wish you had told me sooner…like 30 years sooner. LOL Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. Sorry about not being able to write for that market any longer. Your turkey story is funny. I love to cook, so I'm afraid I'm stuck with the cooking until I'm not able any longer. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. I love that story and wish you the best (and funniest) Thanksgiving ever. Be sure to share any adventures with us even though the magazine isn't around any more.

  4. And to think I was worried that you had cooked the heart, gizzard, liver, and neck all still in the bag inside the turkey.As a woman who absentmindedly cooked her son a frozen pizza with the cardboard disk stuck to the bottom, I don't anticipate family requesting my culinary services for an important occasion.

  5. Ha ha. My middle age friend cooked steaks for her date in her new stove. Ten minutes after she put them in they were still raw, so she called him in to see. He opened the oven and said, "Where are they?"She opened the storage drawer below the oven, and there they were 🙂

  6. Hey Cathy C….you're like those husbands who do a really awful job of helping their wives with housework, or laundry, so they won't HAVE TO any more! :)Great story..and so sorry about the magazine. Happy Turkey Day to you and yours!

  7. I'm a little late reading this, but I love it! (Not that you lost your column – was it the one in Modern Senior Living?) But your article is hilarious and I'm so glad you shared it here! Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  8. Hahahaa! Becky, I am EXACTLY like those husbands. Where do you think I learned it? ;-)Deb, hope you had a wonderful T'giving, too. Yes, it was MSL, but it's okay. One door closes, another opens, right? 😉

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