Friday, November 11, 2016

Don't Mess with Tradition

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

my words are: turkey, duck, permit required, EMT, hazmat suit, green belt

These words don't really belong in any sort of normal tale. Good thing I'm not a normal sort of person. I took this one a little less seriously than I do with a lot of my fiction. I needed that after everything that happened this year and especially this week. 


It was a normal Thanksgiving at our house. Well, at least until the guys in hazmat suits arrived.

Okay, let me backtrack here. I’m getting ahead of myself.

So the thing about Thanksgiving is that the fam is kind of spread out, right? My brothers and I are all grown and married with kids of our own. There’s 12 grandchildren total. It’s tough to get everyone together on actual Thanksgiving and still have time to visit respective in-laws and not lose our sanity in the process of traveling every-fucking-where in such little time. My family agreed a long time ago that we’d do Thanksgiving on the Sunday before that way no one was in a rush, and we could kind of spend some time that weekend catching up and letting the kids visit.

That part was the normal part.

We all came down on Friday to Mom and Dad’s. We don’t all spend the night here because 12 kids in one house along with 4 couples is a big no, man, but my oldest brother drove his RV down so he and his wife were in the driveway with his 4 kids. My youngest brother and his wife and baby get the spare room because, you know, he’s the baby with a baby. My family and my closest brother’s family both stay in these little cabins by the lake. We’re only about 10 miles from the old homestead, but it’s nice and peaceful out there by the water, and the rest of the crew comes by on Saturdays to hang out for awhile before we all head over to the Fall Festival. That’s always the plan, and that’s exactly how it all went down this year.

Sundays are for our big dinner. Dressing, greens, homemade biscuits, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, and usually both fried and roasted turkeys. It takes a lot of food to feed us all, and by the end of it, Dad always has his old hunter green belt undone and draped over the back of his recliner. In all these years, the guy hasn’t so much as changed the style of belt he wears, but considering I’m the only little girl he ever had and I married a woman, he’s kind of had to change his values especially after we adopted Sadie and Emma, twins with Down Syndrome, and Deon, who is Black (we’re white). My wife and I didn’t set out to rock the boat and have such a hodge podge family, but we fostered these kids first, and their families never even made an attempt to get them. We all just worked together. We’re family, and we love these kids like our own. And we still foster, so who knows what the future might bring?

So the man who has had the same kind of belt for my whole entire life has had to learn to change every single thing he ever imagined for the life of his little girl and in the process, he had to relearn a lot of the beliefs he held. Mom, too, really. But they’re more on board and a bigger support than ever. It’s a strange juxtaposition. The man still isn’t big on change no matter how much my identity and life choices have made us all grow and be closer. So it was no surprise that he was not down with the idea of a turducken this Thanksgiving when my mom sprung that fact on us, and by fact, I mean she had already bought and cooked the thing and laid it on the table before we ever knew what hit us.

The first sign of trouble came when Dad looked at the thing, frown etched on his face, and said, “I thought there was some sort of permit required for you to serve one of these…” He paused then seeing the look on Mom’s face and added, “…culinary delights.” Nice attempt at a save, Pops, but Mom wasn’t at all impressed with his level of sarcasm. She didn’t have much to say in reply, but she has one of those faces that tells every single one of her emotions. Zero poker face on that woman.

Dad was losing hope at that point as all table filled leaving no more room for any sort of regular turkey, fried or otherwise, but he still just had to ask, “Please tell me there’s turkey.”

“Yeah there’s turkey. That’s why it’s called a Turducken, Hank. Tur for turkey. See what they did there? Turkey, duck, and chicken all in one pan, and since you don’t help out with Thanksgiving cooking, I’m telling you from experience that it’s a whole lot easier to cook than the alternative I do every year. By myself. Alone. In the kitchen at 5 a.m.”

Yeah, she went there.

And yes, it shut the man up for a bit.

Right after we made our plates and sat down to eat, though, he excused himself to the bathroom which was a bit odd. I mean, all the kids know that when you’re called to the table, you better have your hands washed and have did whatever business you had to do. All of us being at the table at one time didn’t get to happen too often, and he kind of holds it sacred, I suppose.

He was gone awhile, and we joked about him needing to make peace with the idea of a turdurken before sitting down to take part. All of us were dying to dig in, plates piled high and all those heavenly scents making our mouths water. We were about to take a vote to start without him when he sauntered back in the dining room, smirk planted on his face. I knew something was up at that point. I was a Daddy’s girl my whole life. I know every expression that man ever makes, and that one in particular meant he had a trick or two up his sleeve.

I decided to see how the whole thing played out.

I should also add that my dad is an EMT, and he has a lot of people out there that owe him favors for shifts covered and all that jazz.

That’s when the guys in hazmat suits showed up. At first it was a little bit of a shock. Probably to the whole neighborhood. In hindsight, I’m pretty sure my dad called in a favor. I mean, that’s the only thing that could have happened seeing as how they came in, communicating on walkie talkies about the risk, headed straight for the table, bagged the turducken, then asked Mom if they could see her permit.

I swear that woman turned about 57 shades of red. Not from embarrassment. She knew she’d been beaten.

That’s the little story about the ONLY time my family had turducken for Thanksgiving.


Here are the rest of the submissions: 

Baking In A Tornado

Not That Sarah Michelle

Spatulas on Parade

The Bergham Chronicles

The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver

Dinosaur Superhero Mommy


Confessions of a part time working mom

On the Border

Evil Joy Speaks


  1. Haha! My husband has always wanted me to cook one of those for Thanksgiving, but it's just not going to happen. Now, I'll just tell him I don't have a permit!

  2. We've all had a really tough week. And that was just the smile that I needed. Thank you, Jenniy, you're worth your weight in turducken. I mean gold.

  3. Score one for dad! Never go against a man and his desire for turkey.

  4. "Turducken", hahahaha, Jenniy, you did GREAT!
    What a sly dog you made your Dad character 😂
    Thanks for the laugh, I needed it!