Beauregard: I’m thankful, but there’s no candy about yams

This is the day when we pause and give thanks to God for our friends, for our family, and for the health of Peyton Manning’s ankles.

We gather with loved ones and others to whom we cherish deeply. We also gather with in-laws. But we won’t complain about them. It’s important for us to spend time with our spouse’s family — to whom this day is particularly special given that many of them have been granted a special 24-hour holiday prison furlough.

So we will drive great lengths to the Thanksgiving day feast. But dinner is not for two more hours, which means we’ll get stuck in a corner talking to Great-Uncle Harold, who is under the impression you’re dying to hear his opinion on the Obamacare employer mandate, and where we’ll watch part of the Cowboys/Raiders game, only to have it interrupted every five minutes by Second-Cousin Marty, who bypassed the sober level during the second quarter as evidenced by his continuous shouts of, “That’s pass interference, you friggin’ moron!” and where we’ll witness Cousin Molly showing off her new dress, bragging about how it easily conceals the ankle monitor.

Eventually it’s time to eat, and fortunately it’s a buffet-style potluck. This gives us a chance to stealthily bypass the sweet potatoes. We have no personal grudge against sweet potatoes, it’s just that we don’t enjoy their taste or texture. And even if we did, these yams have seen better days. Burnt on the edges and having been sitting out a while, these are not the sweet potatoes you see gracing the pages of a magazine like Martha Stewart Living. Maybe, Food Poisoning Monthly.

Of course, cooks know that sweet potatoes have gotten a bad rap, so sometimes they try to sell you by calling them “candied yams” instead. But there’s nothing “candy” about them. Sure, they’re often topped by five pathetic little marshmallows, but that’s just a false, desperate appeal to your sweet tooth and to conjure up images of dessert, when in reality the marshmallow garnish on yams is like sprinkling five M&Ms over the cat litter box.

So we’ll skip the yams. But when we sit down, we’ll have to deal with the person who brought the yams, as she is very proud of them. She is more proud of her sweet potatoes than you are of your kids. So she’ll go around asking every person if they got some yams. You can’t say no, of course, so you tell her, “I just wanted to make sure everyone got some first.”

“How thoughtful,” she says, dropping two large disgusting spoonfuls of the sinister spuds on your plate, where they have already touched the turkey, and contaminated a roll.

You also happened to get seated next to the older relative who enjoys sharing their various ailments with you. It’s not really appropriate conversation for a meal, but you listen intently, because you’re a loving, thoughtful, compassionate person who doesn’t want to be left out of any wills. You even engage her in conversation. “Why no, Aunt Martha. As a matter of fact, I have not seen a bunion that big.”

Grandma says the prayer — a beautiful blessing that would have been a bit more solemn had it not been interrupted by a shout from the living room: “That’s pass interference you friggin’ moron!”

Nevertheless, we are thankful for what we have. We’re thankful for this food, the company, and for the “No firearms at the supper table” rule our wife’s family instituted after the disastrous Thanksgiving of 2009, of which we will not delve into the details, other than to say that if you happen to spot the last piece of white meat, just go ahead and let Uncle Scott have it.

We’re also thankful for our spouse, our health, our kids, and for family, including even our in-laws — many of whom we won’t see for another 24–36 months. Depending on good behavior.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Reach Steve Beauregard at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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