In Celebration Of Our Worst Thanksgivings Ever!

thanksgivingIs there anything more hacky than when people say things like “How could it be November already?!” It’s hacktastic. However… I’m guilty of it. Because I’m always genuinely amazed; I’m not just filling space when I say it. I mean, for instance, how could baseball season be over already?? It just started. And get off my lawn, you little shits! I know your daddies.

Anyway, Thanksgiving will somehow be here within minutes. And I thought I’d take this opportunity to quickly tell you about the worst one I can remember, and turn it over to you guys to do the same. How’s that sound? Good, let’s go.

When we lived in Southern California we visited Toney’s mother, Sunshine, in Reno, Nevada a few times. It was a horrible drive, past a million slaughterhouses that produce one of the most godawful stenches I’ve ever encountered. As my dad would say, it was a stink that could gag a maggot.

On this particular trip we left very early in the morning, in my little extended-cab Toyota truck. The older boy was very small, still in a car seat, and I think Toney was pregnant with the younger youngling. We were packed into that thing, uncomfortable before we’d even backed out of the driveway.

For some reason we were listening to a talk radio station, and they were taking calls about the best way to prepare a turkey. This was at something like 5:30 am, so most of the callers were roughly 75 years old. Why we didn’t change the channel, or pop in a CD, I cannot tell you. But, for what seemed like hours, we listened to people arguing about the pros and cons of “brining,” how to properly deep-fry a bird without burning your house down, etc. It was excruciating.

Then we went through Slaughterhouse Alley, which always made me want to upchuck into the console. I remember there was a convenience store in that area that sold many, many different flavors of “gourmet jerky.” I think some of it still had hair on it. It was revolting.

While we were in Reno Toney and I were sent to the store to buy dinner rolls or somesuch, and Toney suggested we walk. She didn’t want to get back into that truck, and I was with her on that one. But there were a lot of questionable characters wandering around that shitty graffiti-laden neighborhood, and it felt like they were sizing us up. Good god. We were deep inside the ‘hood.

Toney’s mother lived (and presumably lives) in a tiny apartment. During Thanksgiving dinner her brother got up, went into the bathroom — which was RIGHT THERE — and blasted ass so loud the felons on the first floor could probably hear it. I mean, he put his full diaphragm behind it. Then, seconds later, he returned to the table and said, “Could somebody pass the potatoes?” I couldn’t believe what I’d just witnessed.

We slept on uncomfortable beds, in a neighborhood full of criminals in doo-rags, behind windows with bars on them. And the next day we folded ourselves back into that truck, and drove through snow across the Sierra Nevada mountains. I was white-knuckling it, thinking we were getting ourselves into a modern-day Donner Party situation.

But we made it through the snow without incident. However… there was some kind of horrific accident near the slaughterhouse/hairy jerky part of the trip, and we were stopped for an hour. I mean literally stopped, on the interstate, with the motor off. People were out walking around, setting up impromptu picnics and whatnot. One family was throwing a Frisbee around.

Yeah, folks were making the most of it, but I felt claustrophobic and trapped. I was mildly panicked the whole time. And at one point some Mexican guy climbed out of a truck, walked to the side of the highway, and started pissing. He didn’t bother to turn his back, or anything. His wang was visible to everyone, and he was peeing in a great arc. It felt like he was showboating a bit, letting everyone in on his mad urination skillz.

It was the day that wouldn’t stop: one of the most uncomfortable and stressful in memory. And it came on the back-end of a Thanksgiving in the slums, with some power-shitting tater-eater, and the joys of Sunshine and Mumbles. Oh yeah.

Now, what about you? What’s the most disastrous Thanksgiving you can remember? Please tell us about it in the comments.

And I’ll see you guys next time.

Have a great day!

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  1. I had one about underage drinking the night before Thanksgiving and being hungover on the big day, struggling to eat without letting on that I was hurting, but I can’t top your story.

    Congratulations, or rather, condolences, Artist Formerly Known As Mr. Surf Report.

  2. Jazzbone Swirly says

    On the topic of the worst Thanksgiving ever; you win, Mr Kay.

    • Jazzbone Swirly says

      My worst Thanksgiving ever would have to be last year. I spent a couple of days in my kitchen cooking for my in-laws (my wife’s sister’s family; about 6 of them), and I brought all of the food that I had prepared over to their house across town. I prepared and brought the turkey, dressing, butternut squash soup, veggies, etc: Pretty much a complete Thanksgiving dinner. When I got to their house, I made myself a plate (consisting of pretty much 100 percent of what I had prepared and brought, because all of the dishes that they had prepared were gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free, taste-free, color-free, and not in the least bit tempting) and sat down to eat. By the time I was about halfway through eating, everyone else had finished nibbling away at their portions of food-free food along with what I had prepared, and left the table. I finished my meal in solitude, and went outside to play catch with my son for a few minutes. When I went back inside, everyone else had vanished. Did they all go for a walk? Were they abducted by aliens? Terrorists? I will never know the answer. I packed up my leftovers and drove back home with my son. Not a single thank you, no acknowledgement that I had spent two days preparing Thanksgiving dinner for them. That was the least convivial and rewarding Thanksgiving that I have or probably will ever experience. Two days of work in exchange for about five minutes of sitting at a table with people that I don’t even like, and that clearly have no regard for me whatsoever. I made certain to communicate to my wife that I won’t be sharing any future Thanksgivings with this portion of her family again.

  3. My Thanksgivings have all been pretty harmless except for the occasional minor family drama. These days it’s more a question of whether I’m going to cook for three people and hope to rope in a few additional stragglers to help finish off the obscene amount of food, or just give up and go to an overpriced buffet.

  4. Erica in Charlotte says

    Power-shitting tater-eater.

  5. Dr. Buford says

    The year: 1990-ish
    The place: my ex-wife’s family’s (oh my god, the Horror!, so many stories there…) farmhouse
    The setting: her folks, her brother, me, my folks
    Just as we’re really getting our eat on (my ex-MIL was a stellar cook) my very squeamish mother comments on how this is the best turkey she’s ever had (it WAS good).
    Ex-MIL: it should be, it was walking around the yard this morning.
    My mom immediately vomited all over her plate and the nearest dishes.
    Ex-MIL: what the hell?!?! If you didn’t want to know, then why the hell did you ask?
    The rest of the night was a terror, though I can laugh about it now, and as the one who cooks thanksgiving dinner now, I always remark that the bird was ‘walking around this morning’.

  6. I don’t recall a bad Thanksgiving. I probably enjoyed them more when we had them at my parents house and my Mom did the cooking. My brother and SiL do a good job of hosting nowadays, all I have to do is bring the deviled eggs, which, if I can get them shelled with out destroying them, is a pretty easy dish.

  7. In the unsolicited opinion of this Alien, Thanksgiving is the best holiday you have. There is minimal decoration crap, no gifts are exchanged, it’s really just a day off work to eat and drink too much. The traditional food makes great leftovers. What’s not to like?

    Although, we are hosting this year so it may be a little less fun for me.

    • Start drinking early. Start the day with mimosas or Bloody Marys!

      • Excuse the pun, but if I do that it’ll a recipe for some messed up food later in the day. I can only drink and cook when it’s something I can cook on autopilot 🙂 Not turkey or prime rib.

  8. 2 come to mind and both involve me violently puking.

    the first one was when I was about 17 and started dipping into the wine at my aunt’s house. This was back in the day when my connosieur family thought the gallon sized jug of Gallo’s rose was high falutin’. We head for home which was about a 45 minute drive all 3 lane highway and as soon as my father started getting the car up to 60 I had to hurl. Immediately. This went on for what seemed like 15 stops with my whole family ready to rip me a new one.

    The second was getting food poisoning the day before and crawling on my hands and knees into my bathroom and puking up what seemed like my entire stomach lining but I was able to rally and made it to my parents’ house literally 3 minutes before dinner was ready.

  9. RIP Tom Magliozzi. I never met him, but I would have liked to. What a great guy.

    • Uncle_Wedgie says

      He and his brother would be in the top 5 people I would like to have coffee with.

    • johnthebasket says

      Tom and Ray showed the proper use of an MIT education by painting laughter and love on the canvas of their lives. Those of us who, for two decades, spent our Saturday mornings with “the boys” are the richer for it.


    • I got teary-eyed when I heard about it. He was a seriously great guy, or so it seemed.

  10. About 12 years ago, just as I was carving the turkey, my mom had a stroke. At first it appeared that she just tipped her glass over and was a bit embarrassed by it. After several minutes of her not talking, just nodding and smiling, we started asking her if everything was OK and soon realized she couldn’t talk. So, one 911 call later the paramedics arrived and my brother and I accompanied her to the hospital, leaving my wife and her family to dinner. My mom didn’t have medical insurance at the time, so I was treated to our wonderful health care system at its best. It took approximately 7 hours for them to find a doctor who would sign the admittance for her – so much for administering the stroke medication within 2 hours of a stroke. She then spent most of the night in the ER waiting for a room to open up. I got home about midnight, my bro stayed the night with her. Didn’t even have any leftovers until the next day. Mom recovered, tho has never been quite the same, so every Thanksgiving since then has been a breeze by comparison.

    • Ten years ago my dad had a stroke the day before Thanksgiving. I had to relieve my sister at the hospital early on Thursday so she could cook dinner, then joined the family at her house. At least we had a fairly peaceful meal before hopping in the car with a plate of left-overs for Dad – his last ever home-cooked meal.

      Then we came home and drank way too much wine because stress.

  11. I’ve always loved this letter of instruction from “Aunt Marney”, who is the Hitler of all Thanksgiving dinners.

  12. My MIL was so excited because SHE was going to cook Tgiving!! Every piece of food was brown. The green beans were brown I shit you not. Ugh,, at least I had the foresight to chop a salad.

  13. weird- I can’t reply to other people’s posts. It takes me to the archives.

  14. Oh wait, nevermind.

    • johnthebasket says

      I thought that album got a little more attention than it deserved. On the other hand, a huge majority of the music industry since, has stopped recording songs and started recording triple-dub, micro-delayed shlock.

      • Jazzbone Swirly says

        With respect to it’s influence on popular music, Nevermind can be seen as the Highway 61 Revisited of the 1990s.

        • johnthebasket says

          A reasonable point of view. However, I suspect that had there been a Highway 61 revisited in the 90s, we wouldn’t be putting up with screech like Katy Perry and Taylor Swift now. Not that WE are, but somebody clearly is.

          I’ll go back and listen to the boys from Aberdeen again, but I don’t think Nevermind is being enjoyed 20 years later the same way Highway 61 is 50 years later. And Dylan is still walkin’ around; but that’s mostly a function of not having Lizzie Borden for a girlfriend. Kurt shoulda stuck with Mary Lou Lord: better writer, better singer, better girlfriend and not a felon.