Tips for Turkey Day

25 Nov

Yesterday my husband and I went out to pick up groceries for the weekend. We found ourselves surrounded by tourists. Here we are in the Purple Tier, and people are still coming to Chico to spend the weekend.

Standing at the deli counter, I was privvy to various conversations. One woman says to the other, “It’s only Tuesday and he’s already bored…” I had to wonder if she was talking about her spouse or a child. Nerves are always raw at Thanksgiving, it’s a weirdly depressing holiday. On the news I’ve seen at least a story a day about the pending mental breakdown – I’ve heard Super Bowl Sunday is the worst day for domestic violence, but I’m going to guess Thanksgiving Thursday is a close second.

Throw in the COVID Crazy and wow – batten down the hatches and shelter in place Folks!

I hate to think, a holiday with such good intentions, has become something we just get through. Here’s my suggestions:

  1. Stop watching the news. “The news” isn’t journalism anymore, it’s government propaganda. The main gist these days is “Be Afraid, Obey, Comply.” It’s almost hypnotic, it interferes with your own train of thought, and makes you paranoid about everything. Try tuning it out this weekend, and maybe it will become a non-habit.
  2. Read a book. If you have kids, read it to/with them. Here’s a few recommendations: “A Christmas Carol,” by Charles Dickens, “Cinderella Man,” by Jeremy Schaap, “The Autobiography of Jim Beckwourth (Mountain Man, Indian Scout, etc) by Jim Beckwourth, “Huckleberry Finn,” by Mark Twain, “A Tree Grows In Brooklyn,” by Betty Smith, “The Long Winter,” by Laura Ingalls Wilder, “The Boys of Summer,” by Roger Kahn. That’s just a short list, but it will keep you busy. Yeah, these are all old books – with old values.
  3. Write letters. This is a lost art, and I notice, my letters are always appreciated. Here’s an idea – sit at the family table and tell everybody you are writing to somebody who couldn’t make it, ask them to chime in. One of my favorite things to do in a letter is draw cartoons of family members or friends, tell what’s going on right in that minute – “Uncle drops the turkey, platter and all…” I get letters back, it’s worth the effort.
  4. Get a joke book, try to make it tasteful, the cornier the better. Make your family laugh. One of my favorites is a collection of stories from old comedians – Orson Bean, Lenny Bruce, Burns and Schreiber, to name a few – it’s not all tasteful, but there’s something in it for everybody. The one that makes everybody laugh is the old Burns and Schreiber cab driver routine – you can find that on youtube, along with some of their other greatest bits.
  5. THINK before you speak. Do you think you really need to bring up that old story about your sister’s/daughter’s/wife’s old boyfriend? You really need to tell that story about your brother-in-law/son/cousin at the dinner table? Is it wise to pick on your family members? THINK!

I think the best thing to remember is pay attention, be sensitive to people’s moods. Try to smile and make others feel better, that always works for me. We let ourselves forget sometimes – it’s good to have family and friends who care about you, make it about them.

Happy Thanksgiving Everybody!

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