By Laura Grimes
Thanksgiving always fills the Scatter homestead with both anticipation and trepidation. We love our sweet potatoes, but we cannot explain why so many of our turkey feasts are disasters.
These aren’t garden-variety disasters like the cranberry jelly didn’t set or the buns got burned. No, we do it up whole hog. Like the oven catches fire, the furnace breaks, the toilet overflows, the smoke alarms go off.
We once moved the entire household. Like, that day. Which isn’t exactly a disaster, but it’s not sleeping off the pumpkin pie with a cozy fire and a football game, either. And this wasn’t three decades ago, when we were young and limber and owned but a few chairs that we could transport in a sedan across town. This was three years ago, which meant we moved because of mobility issues and required a lot more than a van, a pickup and a semi-truck to haul a few tons only a few blocks.
We’re pretty safe with sharp implements and know proper food handling procedures, so we’re not really sure why this particular holiday is often marred by a giant black cloud. Sometimes literally.
The good news? It makes for memorable stories, and at Art Scatter World Headquarters, that’s really the food of choice. As we count down to Turkey Day, also known in Scatterdom as The Grand Unsealing of the Pickles, we will share our memorable and laughable Thanksgiving tales all week.
(Mrs. Scatter would just like to point out that out of the FOUR stories, THREE are about Mr. Scatter’s family. Coincidence?)
We’re not sure whether we can really call this one a story, but this is the way we like to tell it. It happened at least 25 years ago, before Mr. and Mrs. Scatter even met. So, for many years, Mrs. Scatter only ever heard it third hand, when it regularly was retold at family gatherings.
It’s a pretty simple story, really, so it’s hard to imagine it could ever morph into something else.
Those many decades ago, Mr. Scatter’s Sister No. 3 was married to a coach who invited his whole team (don’t ask what kind) over for Thanksgiving dinner, which she had never prepared before.
Come Thanksgiving morning, the turkey was frozen solid. So she did what any self-respecting young cook would do. She called her mom.
Mom told her to defrost it by putting it in warm water. The only place available was the shower. But she couldn’t get the turkey close enough to the shower head. So she took off all her clothes, picked up the turkey, and climbed into the shower with it. THE END
EPILOGUE: After a couple of decades of telling that story to everyone she knew, Mrs. Scatter finally got a chance to really laugh it up in person with Mr. Scatter’s Sister No. 3. It was three years ago at Christmas, and the Scatters had just moved to their new house a month earlier, at Thanksgiving. Boxes were piled everywhere.
After a few bottles of wine and god knows what else in front of a store-bought log fire and the soft twinkling lights of the Christmas tree, Mrs. Scatter said she always loved the story about her sister-in-law in the shower with the turkey.
Sister No. 3 gave Mrs. Scatter a goofy, confused look. “What story about me in the shower with the turkey?”
Mrs. Scatter happily relayed it just like always, propelled much too quickly and carelessly by wine and god knows what else and brain-dead from moving and unpacking and working and company and holidays and getting our old, dated house ready to sell.
She got to the grand finale about Sister No. 3 standing naked in the shower with the turkey, and then gave her a big smile and a laugh, expecting her to bask in the glow, too, of a funny story well told.
Sister No. 3 just stared, speechless for much too long. Mrs. Scatter kept smiling, impatient for her to laugh. Sister No. 3 got a polite grin on her face, but it was mixed with a confused, stupefying look, like she was desperately trying to figure out what to say, but no words were coming.
Mrs. Scattter began to feel slightly uncomfortable.
The fire licked. The lights twinkled.
Finally, Sister No. 3 sputtered, “I never got in the shower with a turkey!”
“No! That’s not what happened at all!”
“Really? Well, that’s too bad, because that’s how I’ve always told it.”
Sister No. 3 stared silently again, her mouth open just a bit in that funny grin. She started to say something and then stopped. She tried again and eventuallyÂ managed, “That’s the way you’ve always told it?”
“Yeah. For years. Everyone knows you got in the shower naked with a turkey.” Mrs. Scatter laughed again, thinking this was even funnier now, but the other side of the room wasn’t laughing as hard. Mrs. Scatter finally felt a twang of guilt and asked, “What happened, then?”
Sister No. 3 launched into a long narrative giving her version of events, but, of course, Mrs. Scatter can’t remember a bit of it now. Mrs. Scatter remembers her sister-in-law’s mouth moving, but that’s about it.
Mrs. Scatter politely waited for Sister No. 3 to finish.
“Well, that’s too bad. That’s not nearly as fun as my story. Good thing everyone knows it my way.”
(Now my closest internet friends do, too.)
*Not to be mistaken for a Turkish bath.
ILLUSTRATION: It’s possible this is Mr. Scatter’s Sister No. 3 serving the defrosted turkey to the whole team, but it’s really “The First Thanksgiving” by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris, circa 1912-15. Wikimedia Commons