Hello? I would like to enter the contest for most depressing Thanksgiving, please! Yes, yes, I know that many people had depressing Thanksgivings this year, and many more will come home infected with COVID and be even more depressed, but I’d still like to enter. I can? Thank you!
This year, we had planned a wonderful, anti-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving. We didn’t ditch the gratitude part…it was more the turkey-with-all-the-trimmings we opted to skip. The Princess and her fiancé went to visit his family, so it was just the three of us—Dearest Son, just home from college, McIrish and me. Sainted Mother was quarantining with her COVID-infected brother (he’s better now, thanks!). The only nod to tradition was that I made a pie.
And that was the first harbinger of doom. I’m a really good baker. I’ve won many blue ribbons at the local fair. Apple pie? I could do it in my sleep. The crust was perfect, mind you, but I couldn’t find the apples McIrish likes best. So I substituted with another tasty apple.
Which was not good for pie. Nay. The pie was soupy. Soupy, I tell you! I was, in a word, ashamed. This just doesn’t happen to me. My reputation took a hard hit. Oh, the boys were kind about it, but I could see the despair in their eyes.
We had planned a movie marathon and a Chinese food extravaganza. I have been dreaming about this sort of non-Thanksgiving for years, and 2020 gave me my chance. On Thanksgiving morn, we lounged around in our pajamas, eating donuts and not watching the parade. Around 1:00, we decided to order the food. Pulled up the menu and went a little crazy adding things—dumplings and sesame noodles, egg rolls, moo shi pork, spicy scallops with garlic, and yes, General Tso’s chicken. The list went on and on, because we had no food in the house, not wanting to go grocery shopping and expose ourselves to the masses the days before Thanksgiving.
Then, we hit “order.” A moment later, we got the message that online ordering was not available today. “They must be so busy,” said I. After all, so many people were having micro-gatherings. Chinese restaurants would be killing it today.
So I called. The phone rang and rang. “Wow!” I said. “I can’t even get through!” After several fruitless redials, I tried another establishment, painstakingly entering the dozen or so dishes we wanted. This time, my online order went through.
A moment later, the phone rang. “Hello?” said a woman. “This is Great Wall. We’re closed today!”
“You are?” I said, stupefied.
I called five more places. They were all closed. Every single one. Even the ones listed as “Open on Thanksgiving.”
McIrish, always great in an emergency, came up with an alternate plan. “I’ll run to Stop and Shop and grab some frozen Chinese food, but I have to go now, because they close in 40 minutes.” Off he and Dearest dashed.
“Get PF Changs!” I called. “They’re great!”
Well, they’re great in the restaurant. In the frozen food category…yuck. They’re awful. Everything smelled weird and turned to mush. Even the crispy green beans were tasteless. We had to open the windows to get rid of the smell.
But, we were still grateful, damn it. “What movie do you want to start with?” I asked. Dearest read from his list of movie choices. He and I had never seen One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and what better time to see a classic than on Thanksgiving afternoon?
We ate the nasty food, all of which tasted the same, and gave the movie a shot.
It’s a classic, you say? It was awful, we counter. “How long is this movie?” I asked several eons in.
“It just won’t end,” said Dearest.
We all felt the movie had aged poorly with its awkward, slow close ups and “realistic,” meandering and repetitive dialogue. The plot was unbelievable—can one really steal a school bus, charter a boat and procure a prostitute when one has no money and is in fact an escapee from the state mental facility? The last 10 minutes were action-packed, or so I hear. I dozed off.
At least there was soupy pie for dessert. I skipped it and got some ice cream instead. Dearest retired to his room after a brief discussion about who should be blamed for choosing Cuckoo’s Nest. McIrish and I then poured ourselves some wine and watched reruns of The Crown to console ourselves.
As holidays went, it sucked. But you know…we have each other. We have our health. Our pets. Our snug little house. And for that, we are truly thankful. Also, for ice cream. For PF Changs frozen food, not so much.