Maybe we should just skip Thanksgiving this year. Given the political climate, is it prudent to gather a diverse group of people around a dining table where a carving knife plays such a prominent role?
And there are so many soft, creamy foods—pumpkin pie, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce—that would be perfect vehicles for arsenic.
Corn bread and biscuits can be repurposed as projectiles.
Even the Thanksgiving lingo is fraught with ambiguity. “Turkey” is poultry to be consumed or an insult to be dished out. Take “stuffing,” which can be a toothsome, fat-laden side dish or it can be mean an aggressive way of filling a relative’s mouth with a sock.
And the before-meal grace? What a landmine!
Dear God, we are so grateful that you have delivered to us a man who will make our floundering nation great again!
Heavenly Father, We thank you for this bounty and humbly ask for your guidance in removing the dark stain of Satan from the Oval Office.
Don’t want to foul/fowl up Thanksgiving? Ban politics.
There are always the usual social lubricants we can fall back on:
- The weather, how it’s hotter or colder this year than last or the blizzard back in ought two.
- The tip you learned on FB about how to change your life with Ziploc baggies.
- The speed trap in Elmwood Place.
- The merits of white vs. dark meat.
- The year Junior ate three pieces of pie and threw up in the dog dish.
- And howsabout those Bengals?
Here are some ideas for spicing up, without burning down, the Thanksgiving table:
- Pass around baskets of random snapshots from the past and remember the good old days. Laugh about the 70s bell bottoms, the 80s hairstyles. Linger over those of Grandma and the old farm house.
- Tell the youngsters the stupid things you’ve done. Like the time you spent $14 trying to win a teddy bear at the fair. Kids love to hear how the old folks messed up, and maybe, just maybe, they’ll learn from our mistakes.
- Tell stories about loved ones who are no longer at the table. How Great Grandma Seilkop made butter and sugar sandwiches for hobos during the Depression. How Grandpa Gil financially supported the Cherokee Nation. How Uncle Lou fought in the Battle of the Bulge.
Look people. You would probably give a kidney to anyone at your Thanksgiving table without a second thought. You played together when you were kids and sat on your aunties’ laps without any discussion of politics. This is not the time to lean into difference.
Neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton lead our families. We are in charge of our own families. We look to our elders to remind us of our values and priorities; we look to our children for hope; we look to our hosts for their generosity and hospitality. We are all Americans, lucky us, and there is no room for hate at our table.
Strong families help make America great. Strong families and pie. Lots of pie.