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Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday celebrated to be thankful with family and friends for the wonderful food bounty enjoyed across the United States

It also is supposed to pay homage to the native peoples who gave food assistance to starving European settlers in the beginning colonial era of this great nation. An aspect not very well expressed.

If it would be fully expressed. every family in America that could; should invite a Native American family to share in their meal out of simple gratitude. And under no circumstance should any Native American ever go hungry.

The spirit of Thanksgiving is one of family, friends, love, inclusiveness, being grateful and, last but not least, fabulous food. The holiday is a favorite for so many people because it isn't focused on presents or extravagant decorations-- it's about sitting down for a delicious meal, surrounded by friends and family.

Thanksgiving was coming soon, and Barry and Arnie and I had not been given an invitation from anyone to join them for the day. For me, that was no big deal since several years in the Navy had conditioned me to be content with a meal of turkey and the traditional side dishes served on a tray; so going to a good restaurant and having it served on a plate instead of a tray was celebration enough for me. Nope! No ambience! For Barry and Arnie, it had to be a home-cooked meal, with guests, even if we had to be the cooks and the hosts. Barrie and Arnie were, at that time, renting a house together-- that was before Barry's mother had decided to come live with him; and I was living in a small apartment-- that had a reasonably large dining room with a table large enough to fit a dozen or so house guests. So, we decided to invite our co-workers to join us at the house for a very traditional Thanksgiving meal that we would prepare, not realizing what we were getting ourselves into. However, since the three of us had been cooking for ourselves for several months, we felt qualified to prepare the entire affair from scratch. Since the affair was to be at his house, Barry accepted responsibility for cooking the turkey. That was a big mistake.

There were 10 people who accepted the invitation, and according to the cookbook an average sized turkey, say about 12 - 15 pounds, was deemed adequate. We were intending to eat around 6:30 PM. Barry had assured Arnie and me, he knew what he was doing, so we accepted him at his word. The guests arrived at 5:30 for drinks and appetizers. I had assumed that per Barry's assurance, he knew when to start cooking the turkey. Unfortunately, he did not. The turkey had been prepared, and was in the oven, ready to cook, but the oven was not turned on until the guests started arriving. Of course the obvious happened; the turkey wasn't even remotely close to being ready to eat by 6:30.

An announcement was made to the guests that the meal would be a little late; and since we had under-estimated the appetite of our guests, the appetizers had all disappeared. That meant, there was nothing to do but turn up the music, continue to socialize, and have another drink. So well did we socialize, while having still another drink, a neighbor called the police. Grouchy old neighbor! It was fairly early in the evening, so what was his problem!? However, fate smiled on us that night because at the most opportune time, Mary Jane and I and the two married couples had gone in the backyard for some "fresh air" when the police arrived. They were invited inside the house where they observed a small group of people having a quiet conversation over low background music, with the fragrant odor of turkey emanating from the kitchen. They apologized for interrupting the party, and left. Two hours later we sat down to have an "almost" cooked turkey and cold "side dishes", finished off with traditional pumpkin and pecan pies; by then, we didn't need anymore wine. The evening was subsequently declared a roaring success even though the roar was a little diminished by the end of the evening because of exhaustion and too much food; well, possibly an extra glass or two of wine to finish off a great time. Perhaps the police telling us to "hold the noise down, or else" also had something to do with making the evening a truly traditional Thanksgiving instead of just another wild party.

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