Thanksgiving, 2019. Not the greatest Thanksgiving we have had the pleasure to observe. In fact, Mr. Dave and the cat think it sucked royal. Me? I felt blessed.
Sometimes things do not go as we planned or hoped for. I believe this is definite, factual, information I am providing here, people. It does not need to be checked by professionals for accuracy. It is merely one of the parts of the whole alive deal. Our bodies are not eternal. They go kaput eventually.
My body is in the process of kaputting. This chronic lung illness of mine has no more treatments or medications left that will enable my earthly life to continue for much longer. I have moved on to at home Hospice care. If I am a lucky gal, I will be able to die at home where I am happiest. I am at peace with this, people. You just need to know this bit of information to understand why Mr. Dave and Ben the cat had issues with this year’s holiday fiasco.
Ben the cat is new to our household. He is a rescued kitty who lost his previous home when his family moved and forgot to invite him to participate in the move. He is eight years old, which makes him about fifty in human years. His entire personality was already formed before he came to live with us. He is who he is and if Mr. Dave and I don’t happen to like any of his personal habits and behaviors we can pretty much shove it, because Ben the cat isn’t going to change. He is who he is, and we love him even when he is being a jerk. We are kitty people.
Ben adores Mr. Dave. The feeling is mutual. Cat and husband bonded since day one and I can’t tell you how jealous I was of Mr. Dave. The cat has treated him like a dratted god since they first met at the animal shelter. It took me weeks to get on Ben’s good side. He is a wonderful lap kitty. I am presently worthy of his time and effort. I get lap time if I pay total attention to him when he enters the room. My expected behavior is to tell him he is the most amazing cat that has ever walked on the planet. I am expected to give him a good combing with his personal kitty comb, and to agree with him both politically and philosophically on all subjects.
Anyways, our family situation as of Thanksgiving, 2019, was that Mr. Dave and Ben the cat decided they would deal with providing the entire Thanksgiving meal. My job was to watch all the football games and Korean dramas I wanted to. I got to be the guest this year.
I am sure Ben and Mr. Dave had many discussions about how they would deal with providing an appropriate Thanksgiving themed feast. I expect their conversation went something like this:
“We need to roast a turkey,” said Mr. Dave. “Roasted turkey is the central theme to a proper Thanksgiving meal.”
“Just give her a cup of my dry cat food,” suggested Ben the cat. “It is both nutritional and probably contains some turkey byproducts.”
“Nope,” said Mr. Dave, “We have got to have a real turkey and some sides like dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy and pumpkin pie for dessert.
“Ewww to the pie,” replied Ben the cat. “But I probably could force myself to lap up a little gravy if it’s made with real organic turkey stock.”
“I know what we can do,” said Mr. Dave. “I will purchase a completely cooked turkey dinner from the store. See this advertisement. They roast the turkey for you, and they have all the sides and all you do is pick it up and take it home, carve your turkey and serve it up!”
“Sounds too easy,” said Ben the cat. “I think we should just order pizza. Get her some wings. That is almost like turkey.”
“Nope, it’s got to be turkey and traditional,” decided Mr. Dave.
“Humph,” said Ben the cat. “I think you are placing too much trust in humans, buddy. You should just get a bucket of KFC and be done with it. Everyone likes fried chicken and you can get potatoes and gravy and all the sides you want. The old gal won’t miss turkey leftovers. Neither will I.”
“My mind is made up,” said Mr. Dave. “I shall do this thing right!”
Thus, Mr. Dave went to the local Freddie’s to preorder our holiday feast, which he did after explaining to the deli clerk what he thought he was going to get on Thanksgiving Day when he picked up our meal. He left thinking he was going to get a small roasted entire turkey, dressing, potatoes, gravy, a couple of side dishes all warm from the oven, and a ten-inch pumpkin pie.
“Yep,” the deli clerk told him, “you get turkey and the sides and the pie. All cooked.”
At ten a.m. on Thanksgiving morning, 2019, Mr. Dave drove to Freddie’s to pick up our holiday feast. Ben the cat and I were excited about skipping breakfast in order to feast upon a full turkey meal still warm from the oven. Our tummies were looking forward to the feasting to come!
Mr. Dave returned bearing a huge white box containing our holiday meal. Before taking it to the kitchen and serving it up, he opened the lid so we could all view the contents and smell that roasted turkey goodness.
Inside the box was our holiday meal. Not at all how Mr. Dave had envisioned it. Everything was ice cold. There was no entire turkey. There was a shrink-wrapped hunk of deli meat with a label identifying itself as possibly turkey. There was a plastic container of half frozen mashed potatoes and a container of watered-down gravy. Cold. There was green bean casserole and some sort of sweet potato dish, all packaged products not made by Freddie’s, a dozen squished Hawaiian rolls, and a ten-inch pumpkin pie.
I cannot repeat some of the language the cat and I overheard as Mr. Dave dealt with his disappointment over what he strongly felt was false advertising and treachery on the part of Freddie’s staff. I can attest to the fact that the 1-800 number provided by Freddie’s to deal with any problems related to your box does not work on Thanksgiving Day. You get a voice message that says that department is closed for the holiday, but you are welcome to phone them another day.
Much of our lives as humans involves the challenge of overcoming the unexpected. Mr. Dave is a trooper at doing this. I troop along as best I’m able and the cat troops when he feels like it. Our choice was to deal with it, order out, or become that nasty customer who drags the box of phony Thanksgiving grub back to Freddie’s, demands their money back, and gives a manager a firm talking to about truth in advertising and training your staff to actually listen to the questions customer’s ask and answer them truthfully.
We decided to try the overcome approach. I think Ben the cat wanted Mr. Dave to return the box and get the money back. He is not a kitty who forgives those who irk him. He holds grudges. He has high standards. You either meet them or you can go live with the mice. In Ben’s world, you get only one chance to impress.
Firstly, our microwave is a small one. 700 watts. So, we had to approach the reheating of the meal with a bit of thought. What did we really need to have on the plates in order to feel that Thanksgiving glow? Turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, and a roll. The lovely frozen side dishes went into the fridge and we concentrated on reheating the rest of the food.
Mr. Dave did his best to microwave that hunk of deli turkey, the mashed potatoes and the pathetic liquid they dared to call gravy, as well as the stuffing. The goal was to try to get them all hot at approximately the same time. The reheating didn’t go perfectly, but it was adequate. The mashed potatoes were awful. How can you screw up mashed potatoes? They were too watery and no salt. The gravy was worse. It was a watery liquid and had zero taste. Worthless! The roasted turkey was a piece of over processed meat product that might have begun as turkey meat but was now not. It was the kind of turkey you get at the deli counter sliced thin for sandwiches. It at least had some flavor. I think it was due to liquid smoke and copious amounts of salt, but I am not certain of this. I am certain that it had never experienced being oven roasted while on this planet. The stuffing was not seasoned with sage and onions and celery. It was stuffing mix with shredded half cooked stale carrots added to it.
Mr. Dave warmed up every single dish in that little bit of a microwave, one after the other and served it up on our traditional double strength holiday paper plates. The plates that are sturdy enough to hold an impressive amount of roasted real turkey and all the sides as well without collapsing. I was happy to accept my plate of Freddie’s faux turkey and the sides (excluding the sides which took too long to microwave and are still in the fridge). I was starving and I was grateful to see that the paper plates were as strong as advertised, because the potatoes and the gravy sogged them up royally. The plates almost collapsed but didn’t.
I was grateful for this meal because someone who cared about me, made a huge effort to make this particular day special and easy on my energy reserves. Grateful because I have an amazing family of folks and friends who are good, good caring human beings who make a difference in the world because they strive always to try to do the right thing. Grateful because I have Mr. Dave beside me, still after all these years. He is still slaying all the dragons and keeping me moving forwards. As always, he is my knight in shining armor.
I am blessed, peoples. I am loved and that I have folks to love. So, for me, this was a great Thanksgiving Day. For Mr. Dave and Ben the cat, maybe not so great.