Holiday rules and mishaps


With Thanksgiving behind us, now is a perfect time to take a look at what went right and what went wrong with the holiday festivities last week so the same mistakes will not happen when the family once again gathered together, this time around the Christmas tree.

As I wasn’t invited to your turkey dinner, I can’t really say what happened at your house so I’ll just tell you what happened at ours. Hopefully yours went off without a hitch. Ours? Not so much.

First, there are only two rules surrounding the Thanksgiving meal. The first is that the turkey needs to be on the table in some form. I know this is a rule because this is what The Wife told me when things started to go wrong.

For example, it is not a good idea to wait until the day before Thanksgiving to buy a turkey. All that’s left will be frozen solid and won’t thaw out in one day — unless, of course, it is submerged in a bathtub full of warm water. Not that I’m admitting to anything, but changing out the water four times sure did thaw that turkey.

Second, pre-ordering a couple of days before at the local ham store will insure you will have the ham of your choosing and you won’t have to stand in line. Standing in line means you have time to gaze at the wonderful cakes and pies on display. I left the store an hour later with two cakes, three pies, a bunch of dinner rolls and a huge ham, much bigger than I needed.

Third, if you are going to fry a turkey, there are a few things you may want to remember. Not saying these are rules — just helpful things to remember.

Check that big container of peanut oil you have stored in the basement before Thanksgiving morning. That box holds three gallons of oil, all you need to have in order to fry a 12-pound turkey. That is, if the box wasn’t already opened and two of the three gallons were used frying last year’s turkey. Note to Reader: there is no place open on Thanksgiving to buy peanut oil.

After begging all your neighbors for spare peanut oil, it’s extremely important to then heat the oil outside and away from the house. This brings me to the second important thing to remember about frying a turkey.

Make sure the full propane canister you’ve been using to heat your grill all summer is still indeed full. No, there are no places open that sell propane on Thanksgiving and borrowing propane from your neighbors isn’t as easy as it sounds.

Also, a half-fried turkey will indeed cook in an oven, but makes a lot of mess as it is transported from the fryer. Not that I’m admitting to anything, mind you.

Fourth, there is no set time for dinner. This is a steadfast rule from The Wife. Thanksgiving dinner can be anywhere from noon to 6 p.m. or anytime the cook says all the food is ready. For us that was around 3 in the afternoon. Why so late? Please refer to the oil and propane mishaps stated above for the answer.

After the dinner, after all the leftovers are packed in airtight Tupperware containers, and after the football game is over, there are really only two things left to remember.

While driving back from Callaway Gardens (after spending time there with the entire family enjoying the light displays and hot chocolate with Santa) is not the time to be thinking about leftovers and where you left them.

Trust me, five hours is entirely too long for all those leftovers to be left out of the refrigerator and on the kitchen table – whether in Tupperware or not.

Lastly, the three gallons of oil you left outside to cool off while traveling to see the lights is cool enough after five hours for you to pour back into the original container.

That is, if some animal hadn’t already turned it over, walked through it, and then tracked the oil all over the back deck and porch.

Not to say that happened to us, but now we have to have the deck and porch pressure-washed before Christmas.

[Rick Ryckeley has been writing stories since 2001. To read more of Rick’s stories, visit his blog:]