To Give Thanks, Or Not?


[image deleted] Something’s about to happen, guys. I feel it in my wings. My horoscope today warned me to watch out, or I might lose my head!”


Tuesday Tales guest spot is moved to Wednesday for a reason this week. My special guest today is a funny lady, and a talented Young Adult author I met during a workshop offered by the delightful historical author, Eliza Knight last fall. A group of wonderful ladies all came together for her workshop on self editing your book in a month, and we stayed together afterwards to help, cheer, and boost each other’s writing efforts. I love all my Romance Divas! Please welcome Joelene Coleman, aka Harley Brooks, to the ranch today to gear us up for Thanksgiving in a way you’ve never viewed the foody holiday!

Wow! So this is the ranch? I’m honored to be counted among the special guests you’ve invited here. Thanks for letting me post my WACKY WEDNESDAY blog on your site.

This particular blog I’m dedicating to the “feast of foul”…Thanksgiving dinner. Why do we do it? Tradition? The need to gorge ourselves? Impress the in-laws? Or need an excuse to hold a sharp knife close to our wrists? My first Thanksgiving with my hubby was actually in a Denny’s restaurant. Someone else cooked, served, and cleaned up the mess, for a heck of a lot less money than I spend every year to subject myself to the torturous task. I’m re-thinking the “$5.99 special.”

I love sitcoms – back before Reality TV turned our brains mushy. (Anyone else tired of the heartbreaking drama poor deprived Kim Kardashian has to endure? My apologies to those who adore her and can’t afford therapy.) One of my favorites was Frasier – the “Lilith Thanksgiving.” The best line delivered was “…I have a turkey so undercooked, a skilled veterinarian could still save him…” Memories flash of my first time at trying to cook a turkey the way generations of my family had. We finally ran out of munchies and ate the pies while waiting for the main course. After that, I discovered the “cooking bag” – my holiday guardian angel!

Another favorite, WKRP in Cincinnati – the infamous “turkey drop.” Live turkeys were dropped from a helicopter for a publicity stunt and well, the best line explains it all…”As God is my witness, I really thought turkeys could fly…”  Check out for snippets.

I live in a house of men. My daughter lives at the other end of the state, leaving me to cook the traditional feast by myself. Every year I have great expectations that I will finally achieve the perfect Thanksgiving holiday. I’ve been in charge of the feast for over twenty years, and I’ve yet to serve it on time.

The minute the calendar flips to November 1st, my thoughts turn to Thanksgiving. I start planning the menu, clean the house (wondering if it would just be easier to buy new blinds than dust them) and make sure all the cutesy decorations no one notices, are out. The only decoration the “man team” cares about is that the tablecloth be plaid. They hold “napkin ring races” after dinner and the criss-cross pattern serves as “point markers.”

I picture myself getting up early Thanksgiving morning, welcoming the sunrise with a cup of coffee. I set the table, arrange the centerpiece, and prepare the turkey. Of course everything will go smoothly…the side dishes will all be ready at the same time. The gravy will be the perfect consistency, and “football” won’t interrupt my magic moment. Oh, and I’m also dressed in a stunning holiday outfit and wearing high heels (now we’re talking “fantasy”).

Here’s my “reality show.” I do get one, maybe two cups of coffee in me before the clock starts racing against me. I start with the turkey. I rub my foul friend with butter, apply the seasonings, and then…attempt to put him in the cooking bag…alone. You see, the captain of the “man team” knows his help could be used in the kitchen, so he fakes a coma until he’s sure the turkey is actually in the oven. I’m balancing 23 pounds on my wrist (which as I get older, could snap) while fighting with the plastic. I swear the turkey spreads his wings at the last minute to avoid going inside.

As the day progresses, things slowly get out of control. The “man team” starts circling, waiting for the hors d’oeuvres to be set out. Shrimp rings last approximately 5 minutes. The seven layer dip looks like a murder scene within seconds, and deviled eggs are literally inhaled like oysters on the half shell. Meanwhile, I’m lucky to pop an olive in my mouth as I work feverishly to have dinner ready within 30 minutes of when I told guests.

Of course, all the timers go off at the same time, which causes the captain of the “man team” to disappear. By now, the 23 pound turkey has doubled in weight with all the juices. The family room is filled with testosterone and a football game playing loudly. I find hubby hiding in the garage. I always seek him, holding the carving knife. One wrong word, and I’m changing him from a rooster to a hen.

Together, we gingerly slide the turkey onto the platter. One year, we held the bag at too high of an angle and the turkey overshot the platter and landed on the floor. I immediately pictured my husband without a head. He quickly scooped up the escapee and cleaned it off with paper towels. Luckily, it wasn’t a rollover accident. No one saw the mishap or heard me exercise my right to freedom of speech, thanks to a “touchdown.” I was mortified and reminded my husband that Lorena Bobbitt was my hero, so he better not cut any meat off close to the bottom. He complied, and our guests were never the wiser.

I’m also lucky to get a toothbrush in my mouth and out of my pajamas before company arrives. Most of the time, I’m zipping my pants on the way to answering the door, opening it with a wide smile, oozing the illusion of “calm and collect.” Inside, I’m praying my shirt isn’t on backwards, let alone inside out, and that they’ll never notice the constant twitching above my left eye. Hair? Pulled back. Make-up? Possibly still yesterday’s. Bra? Optional (not by choice – by brain fart). From this point on, whatever isn’t done, never existed in the first place.

I figure it takes less than an hour to devour ten hours worth of preparation. By the time everyone finally leaves, the kitchen and dining room resemble a war zone. Hubby, fond of certain appendages, helps dry the dishes that don’t fit in the dishwasher and snuggles with me on the couch. I’m usually asleep before the first log on the fire burns out, and just as the feeling is starting to come back into my legs and feet, the alarm goes off. It’s Black Friday. Time to shop!

So why do I put myself through all the fanfare, spend the money, and pack on the pounds for one day? Because for one glorious moment, I have my family and friends surrounding me, and when we go around the table naming the things we’re thankful for, I’m lovingly acknowledged by my “man team.” Traditions are important. They keep our lives balanced in a very rocky world. Yeah, they can be a pain in the ass, but in the end, they’re worth every memory.

Thanks again Calisa for letting me share a page from my wacky life on your site.


 [image deleted]

If you feel so inclined, you can check out Joelene’s Wacky Wednesdays each week on her blog I promise you won’t waste your time!

*Chokes down the final hiccoughs * Thank you for that laughable enjoyable recount of what this holiday truly means, Joelene. I could tell about my own, but then we wouldn’t have this great chance to visit with my lovely lady friend! Yeah, I realize how that sounds- but you heard her talk about her “man team” and you’ve read some of my work and the men in it- so you know I don’t swing that way. Lol

I hope you’ll all take a moment to share some of your own Thanksgiving memories with us before you wander off to more important stuff.

Be sure to come back next Tuesday to meet another of my Divas and Carina Press author, Ruth A. Casie, as she shares her debut novel, Knight of Runes. Trust me, you DO NOT want to miss that one!


About Calisa Rhose

I'm a mother of three daughters and wife to a wonderful man of 35+ years. I'm also an avid seamstress, polymer clay artisan and die-hard crafter, always coming up with things to make with, and for, my six granddaughters and two grandsons. Check out my craft site when you have a moment. I'm also a small online business owner of Okie fLips on Etsy and Poshmark (eBay/Merkari coming soon), and I'm a published author of sensual romance. I write about stubborn men and women who don't take no for an answer, and there's always that golden HEA. Cowboys and first responders are my favorite contemporary heroes to write about. My light paranormal heroes are strong men ready to protect their women--not that they need protecting, since they are capable of caring for themselves.

Posted on 11/09/2011, in Welcome. Bookmark the permalink. 29 Comments.

  1. Hi gals! I LOVED this!:) I’m still chuckling… (thank God I had no coke in my mouth) interrupted here and there by a Miss Piggy *snort*.
    I adore Frasier, I tuck myself in with him at night. (Take that however you want, I’m fine with it:) And, the WKRP memory is a delight. What happened to all the good shows…AND the writers??? This reality stuff probably put half the writing market on the street. Maybe we need to become street people–we’d probably laugh a heckuva a lot more!
    Speaking of WKRP…I have a turkey story. I was dubbed with a big-assed Turkey Feather for my turkified blonde moment. Our Lions club had a turkey shoot every year, and one year they located it near a carnival for the locals. I was mortified. Told a car full of women on the PTA board (as we drove by the carnage) that I couldn’t believe the town allowed that, let alone the SPCA. There was total silence in the car. One finally asked, “what do you think they do at the turkey shoot?” I blinked and said, “why, shoot turkeys of course.” The car rocked. Almost ran off the road as I pallavered on (that’s an old word, I think it originated in the backwoods somewhere and who could possibly remember how it’s spelled…) “Can you IMAGINE how horrifying it is for the kids on the ferris wheel? ”
    Of course as y’all surely know, they shot targets and received a frozen turkey for a prize. Look who’s talking about “backwoods”…I’m sure I broke all records for pure, unadulterated ignorance that day. But, I did win the biggest turkey feather for being the dumbest cluck around. It became a tradition. I don’t think anyone ever outdid me for pure ignorance though. Great claim to fame hum?:)
    Joelene, honey-chile, I’m surrounded by men too, so this last year, I went to the store and bought a smoked turkey and a smoked ham. Told my youngest son through grit teeth, he was having a bakery pumpkin pie. They all get one thing they realllllly want prepared by me. I’ll never win a Betty Crocker medal this way, but at least I show up with my bra on!
    Great post, you two Diva’s! Wouldn’t it be great if all of us could REALLY show up at the ranch?!:)
    Hugs, Lo


    • “As God is my witness….” Lo, you are hilarious! Lions Club in my home town did the same thing. I’d go with my grandpa (president at the time) and sit at the folding tables coloring in my coloring book while Grandma (yes that “grandma” from my ghost post) sold tickets. Thanks for a fond memory.


      • You’re quite welcome, Joelene:) It’s comforting to know that “some” of us were taught about such serious matters. The rest were just left to wing it. Ha. Nuther turkey feather comin’ up!
        I may have to mail you one to wear in your hair on the special day!:) I can see us runnin’ with this one:) (Ever wonder if we make the men our lives nervous?:)



    • OMG Lo that is hilarious! (Nope, not admitting I thought the same of turkey shoots…’course- I was just fifteen my first time. And I had my bra on, too for all that it mattered with cleavage-challengia. 😛

      Oh- what a party we could have if everyone really could show up in person at the ranch! YeeeHaw!


  2. Think of me Sandy. That sounds absolutely heavenly!


  3. That episode of WKRP is still my all-time favorite. I still laugh when I think about it.
    This year we areinvited to my son and his girlfriend’s house for Thanksgiving and he is a professional chef! Looking forward to a gourmet meal where I don’t have to cook.


  4. Thank you darling! You are my treasured diamond in the rough! I absolutely do not know why we haven’t done this sooner, but you have to come again!

    Happy Thanksgiving all my lovelies! Thank you for making Joelene feel at home, just as I knew you would. Thanks for not throwing straw out of the loft onto her head or tricking her into eating those ‘smart pills’ under the rabbit hutch. 🙂 You’re all the BEST!


  5. Thanks again Calisa for a fun day and letting me hang out on the ranch. Happy Thanksgiving everyone! May your turkey be brown, your pumpkin pie top smooth, and your family safe. Oh. And lots of whatever you need to help you get through it!


  6. While reading this post, I discovered a very painful truth: laughing diet coke out of both nostrils burns like hell. However. It also clears the sinuses. Thank you for the holiday *snort* 😉


    • Chicken noodle soup is the worst. Something about a stray noodle exiting the nasal cavity has a tendency to send people running away, screaming. Thanks for stopping by Maeve. I’m following you on all your cyber extensions, so I appreciate your comment. Good thing Diet Coke doesn’t stain!


  7. Joelene, your post was laugh out loud funny. I enjoyed it so much, I went and followed your blog. Super! My first Thanksgiving away from home with my now DH (then brand new boyfriend) was at an Asian restaurant in Chicago. It was the only establisment open within a five block radius. Then we went to see the newly released movie, Interview With A Vampire. I love Lilith’s take on Thanksgiving. Been there, done that. Hilarious. Thanks for this great, great take on the holiday.


    • Thanks for the “follow!” Your Asian Thanksgiving…anything like the one in “Christmas Story?” Now there’s another blog! Thanks for stopping by.


  8. I love, love, love Thanksgiving. Not only does it have my favorite foods, but it is a time for gathering with family and friends and reflecting upon the year.

    I do love the ‘perfectness’ of fantasy Thanksgivings, my favorite sit-com Thanksgivings are from F.R.I.E.N.D.S. (Each year is was an episode to look forward to.,) but I’ll take the hustle, bustle, laughter and craziness of Thanksgiving with a real-live family over any of that.


  9. Such a cute post! I’ve never cooked a “traditional” Thanksgiving dinner. Either we eat with family (and they have to suffer through), or we cook steaks, shrimp, crab legs, etc. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing.

    (p.s. – Lisa, I love the new pic!)


    • Your family sounds like mine, Meli. We’ve done the traditional full meal deal, but the girls prefer the untraditional meals best. So happy to see you here Twink!

      *thanks. I just got that pic taken last month*


    • Steaks on the grill…not in the house? Baked potatoes not mashed and requiring gravy?? That would be heaven! What time’s dinner?


  10. “Roasted Emu.” Hmm. Wonder what the gravy tastes like? Leftover “hot emu sandwiches?” Emu soup? Emu enchiladas? Could be a new tradition. I’d do what my mother used to do when she served us deer meat. She lied and told us it was beef. Slice up the emu and call it turkey. Slap some stovetop stuffing next to it and sweet potato pie next to it and no one will know. Emu? Go figure. Thanks for stopping by!


  11. Hi Joelene, and Calisa. The blog is so good it makes me maybe think of contriving an extra family Thanksgiving gathering end Nov…but wait…I am having lots of relatives coming to see the grandbaby who will, by then, be …errr 11 weeks or so. I do have lots to be thankful for so…happy thanksgiving to everybody! I’m doing turkey on Christmas Day, so maybe an emu instead? Whatdya think?


  12. LATE!!! Thanks for joining me on the ranch today Joelene! I just love this story. So fun. If ya’ll want to laugh until you puke- follow the link in her post and go check out some of her other stories. She tried out for cheerleading… ’nuff said.


  13. Awesome post! Don’t we all need to hire out a personal assistant for that day? Thanks for the laugh this morning!


  14. Callie Hutton

    OMG, that’s hilarious. I love those funny holiday stories. Great post.


  15. I wish they still played the reruns of WKRP it was great. I’m finding a few traits of Les Nessman in myself – need the “taped boundaries”! Thanks for stopping by.


  16. Hey, I remember WKRP! I loved that show (way, way better than Reality TV. I was not a fan of it when MTV started it a decade ago. Oh, well). Thanks for that hilarious T day experience, Joelene. I hope it goes better for you this year!


  17. Loved your turkey day experiences! I have several of my own and you are so right…they make for great memories and even greater stories for the following year.

    Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, I love to cook that huge meal, be surrounded by family and friends. The laughter, good food, fun stories, toasty kitchen and yummy smells filling the air! I can’t wait 🙂

    Happy Thanksgiving and may your turkey always land on the platter!


  18. A cat running through the cake? I hope someone caught it on video! My floor has a food magnet. Made a wonderful Bert & Ernie cake for my twins birthday. They were so excited when I carried it out they both ran to see it at the same time. Luckily, I’d taken a picture of it while it was safely on the counter, because it didn’t look the same upside down on the floor. Thanks for sharing!


  19. Great post! I love that episode of WKRP. In fact it’s one of my favorite shows ever. And as for the holiday–you so snailed it. But get this…I do this for 3–yes, that’s 3–people. And my husband wonders why we don’t have a cheese plate! LOL you know where’s it’s kept. Make one!!! Happy Turkey Day!


  20. Nice post! Reminds me a little of my son’s first bday party, when the cat ran across the cake right before it was to be served. Food and memories really go together, don’t they?


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