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Thanksgiving 2001

(Jim Horan 11/01) Copyright (c) All Rights Reserved.

There’s a line, I suppose, in either time or energy output that all have to cross. Those that are older may have more knowledge of that line, while the younger may not have a clue. It’s become obviously apparent to me that I am very near that line, though there is still confusion on which side of the line I now stand. Now that we are near another Thanksgiving, we must make a decision as to which side of that line we place ourselves. Do we have it in us to still attempt to rescue a tradition of enjoying a fine repast, or will we succumb to a more recent tradition? For those not familiar with our travails, we point you to  "TALES" to understand more of the torment this day brings to our family.

The energy, while diminished, still bears witness to some spark of willpower remaining, to regain control of the day. It was just this past January that a new resolution overtook me. While using the snow blower one day, I observed the augur as it gathered the snow and thrust it upward into the shoot to cast it aside. It had the appearance of a type of rotisserie. Might not it become THE tool that would bring about the success that we needed to overcome THEM? The "bird" could be lodged into the augur and then wrapped with duct tape to secure it. Could not the snow blower then be placed upon a kitchen counter and run in a slow revolution mode? The noise of the gasoline engine were be just the ticket to drive those damn CATS under a far away bed. But then it occurred to me we would be absent an essential component. Cooking the "bird"! Raw was not an option. The "bird" had to be cooked.

OK, let’s work on that little concern. A blowtorch was out of the question after last year’s debacle. The city council, upon the strong recommendation from the Fire Department, had passed an ordinance forbidding any store in Columbus to sell us blowtorches. Our lawyer was still looking into the Constitutional questions this law raised, but that’s another issue. It came to me that maybe just a simple large collection of burning charcoal placed in front of the moving augur, with a small fan directing the heat towards the revolving "bird" might be just the ticket. It could have been, had it not been for the fact that we received a rider on our insurance policy. This rider excluded coverage on any claims resulting from open fires occurring within the home, outside of the fireplace. Since the snow blower would not fit in the fireplace, we folded the tent on this option.

As we moped along during the year, not really daring to contemplate the 4th Thursday in November, another happenstance renewed our consideration for success. One evening I was unloading the dishwasher after it had completed its cleansing cycle. It was apparent a great deal of heat had been generated as a number of glassware and silverware items went crashing to the floor when I attempted to handle them. After closer examination of this machine, which I rarely gave a thought to, the heating element at the bottom was noticed. Indeed! But soon it was realized that merely finding a way to cook the "bird" offered no real chance of success as the "bird" would have to be removed for consumption. And in so doing we exposed it to THEM.

Upon just storing this data for a later time, it happened a short while later I was asked to load the dishwasher. After doing so, it was apparent that soap had to be added. When I inquired where I might find the soap, the answer led me to the discovery of a cabinet under the sink next to the dishwasher. Never noticed it, but frankly the kitchen isn’t an area where my real strength is demonstrated. Upon discovering this nifty and somewhat convenient area, a new thought process emerged. What if . . . we could fit into this cabinet? What if . . . while in this cabinet, we could saw through the wall of cabinet and then saw into the side of the dishwasher? The "bird" could be skewered on the rack of the dishwasher and possibly held in place with duct tape.

When it was brought to my attention, that par boiled "bird" wasn’t going to get it, I made a left turn in the thought process. What if . . . we turned off the water to the house for that morning? How was I supposed to know you could shut off water to a single appliance? We could just run the dishwasher repeatedly without water and eventually the "bird" would be cooked. Then lying in somewhat cramped quarters within the cabinet, the 2 of us would take the "bird" from the rack, bringing it into the cabinet. While still lying in this twin fetal position and with the inside of the cabinet securely nailed shut, we could have our feast.

I ran this by a neighbor as he seemed to own lots of tools, though I don’t know why more than a hammer, saw and screwdriver is ever needed. After he finished choking up his morning coffee and muttering something unintelligible, he addressed a real concern I hadn’t thought of. Would we ever like to use the dishwasher again for it’s intended purpose? I thought about it for a moment and informed him that if he was referring to the possible leakage of water from the 2-sqare foot hole needed to bring this plan to fruition, he need not worry. I had planned to duct tape that hole up.  He then proceeded to slap me about the face while screaming, "Get a life! Get a life!" I was to learn later of more than a small amount of concern on the part of the neighbors for their decreasing property values due to some of the small setbacks we had incurred on past Thanksgivings. And there was also the issue that all of those living on the block had undergone substantial insurance premium hikes.

The haunted mind is unforgiving in it’s relentlessness to settle burning issues, issues that demand a resolution. One can plainly see I was still south of that line.

While in the shower last week, HE flushed the toilet, giving me a startling change of temperature and causing me to emit a yelp. HE always gets such enjoyment out of witnessing my torment. However, it struck me that it’s possible for a shower to produce water with a great deal of varying temperature. What if . . . one was to super heat the water? What if . . . one was to place the "bird" in a steel cabinet under the onslaught of this hyper thermal output? Would that not be the same as roasting the "bird"? How to accelerate the heat production of the shower? It came to me that maybe getting an extension cord and splicing it into the 220-volt stove wiring might be the answer. I would then string it down the hall, through the bedroom, and into the shower. There it would be affixed by baring the wires to wrap around the nozzle of the showerhead, not unlike the effect one would expect from heat tape.

Being overcome with exuberance I dashed from the shower to run across the street and pass this inspiration by my neighbor-of-the-tools. Dottie tripped me at the door and suggested I dress first, which I considered and accepted as a good idea.

He was attempting to bar the door and close the blinds upon my arrival, but I managed to insert a foot in the entrance and proceed in. As his eyes darted about, my plan in all minute detail was put forth. He bade me to wait a minute as he went into the garage. Returning with a large hammer he proceeded to smash me on the foot. While I was screaming, he I think tried to explain electricity to me. But the pain was too much to attentively take in new knowledge, so I limped home.

Back into dismay, remorse and joylessness, and definitely nearing that north side of the line.

We awoke Thanksgiving morning, totally beaten with no hope of a plan. The BEASTS  were disturbed, as we had over slept. We’d done this a lot lately having been in depression. THEY had spent the previous days sniffing throughout the house for any scent of a "bird". Cooked or raw made little difference to THEM.

I approached the front door, hoping to retrieve the paper and accomplish my most major task of this day . . . to read it. BLAM! The door blew in and I was slammed against the wall. Armed SWAT Team members with electric cattle prods leapt into the room, forming a circle, with their backs to us in a protective manner.

"Where are THEY?" the leader demanded. THEY? THEY? He was referring to THEM! I glanced across the room to see both of THEM trying to decipher what was occurring. Immediately, a strange, powerful odor swept into the room from outside. There on the porch were members of the local Fire Department along with their colleagues from the EMS. They were holding 2 large boxes that put forth these odors.

As the SWAT members moved THEM further away from the door, the folks on the porch entered with the boxes. THEY had caught the scent also and flattened out to move forward with great stealth and speed. BANG! BANG! BANG! Three quick shots from the SWAT leader’s .45 edged them back just an inch, but it was clear to see they were tensed for a charge. The FD and EMS staff moved quickly. The two boxes were cut open and the contents hurled at THEM. Both BEASTS nailed each object in mid-air, applying 7 furry feet and 2 snarling mouths with fangs bared. The items were consumed before they hit the ground. Each of those damned CATS had just devoured an entire "bird" in less time than a surrounded Taliban member can change sides. The Police, FD and EMS, brave, dedicated and heroic people had to cover their eyes as this occurred. It was too disgusting for even folks of their background and experience to witness.

We were led outside for the explanation of what had occurred. Apparently the neighbors, FD and EMS had gotten together to collectively save their day from terrible interruption. They knew what the outcome would be of any plan we might come up with. They simply considered this effort to be the expedient choice. When you think of it, on the side of the line that we were standing on, they were most likely correct.

To you and all of yours and to the heroic Police, Fire Departments and EMS services throughout the country who have absolute knowledge of which side of the line they stand on, we wish you the best of Thanksgivings.