December 12, 2000
The following contribution from a reader arrived too late for use prior to Thanksgiving, the holiday it relates to, but I thought you’d enjoy it just as much prior to Christmas. As a premise, this is supposed to be a letter from a Thanksgiving hostess to her guests. Here ‘tis:
Martha Stewart will not be dining with us this Thanksgiving. I’m telling you in advance, so don’t act surprised. Since Ms. Stewart won’t be coming, I’ve made a few small changes: Our sidewalk will not be lined with homemade paper bag luminaries. After a trial run, it was decided that no matter how cleverly done, rows of flaming lunch sacks do not have the desired welcoming effect.
The dining table will not be covered with expensive linens, fancy china or crystal goblets. If possible, we will use dishes that match and everyone will get a fork. Since this IS Thanksgiving, we will refrain from using the plastic Peter Rabbit plate and the Santa napkins from last Christmas.
Our centerpiece will not be the tower of fresh fruit and flowers that I promised. Instead we will be displaying a hedgehog-like decorations handcrafted from the finest construction paper. The artist assures me it is a turkey.
We will be dining fashionably late. The children will entertain you while you wait. I’m sure they will be happy to share every choice comment I have made regarding Thankgiving, pilgrims and the turkey hotline. Please remember that most of these comments were made at 5:00 a.m. upon discovering that the turkey was still hard enough to cut diamonds. As accompaniment to the children’s recital, I will play a recording of tribal drumming. If the children should mention that I don’t own a recording of tribal drumming, or that tribal drumming sounds suspiciously like a frozen turkey in a clothes dryer, ignore them. They are lying.
We toyed with the idea of ringing a dainty silver bell to announce the start of our feast. In the end, we chose to keep our traditional method. We’ve also decided against a formal seating arrangement. When the smoke alarm sounds, please gather around the table and sit anywhere you like. In the spirit of harmony, we will ask the children to sit at a separate table. In a separate room. Next door.
Now I know you have all seen pictures of one person carving a turkey in front of a crowd of appreciative onlookers. This will not be happening at our dinner. For safety reasons, the turkey will be carved in a private ceremony. I stress “private” meaning: Do not, under any circumstances, enter the kitchen to laugh at me. Do not send small, unsuspecting children to check on my progress. I have an electric knife. The turkey is unarmed. It stands to reason that I will eventually win. When I do, we will eat.
Before I forget, there is one last change. Instead of offering a choice between 12 different scrumptious desserts, we will be serving the traditional pumpkin pie, garnished with whipped cream and small fingerprints. You will still have a choice: take it or leave it.
Martha Stewart will not be dining with us this Thanksgiving. She probably won’t come next year either. I am thankful.
Happy holidays to all!