Martha Stewart will not be dining with us this Thanksgiving. I'm telling you in advance, so don't act surprised. Since Ms. Stewart won't be coming, I've made a few small changes:
1. My sidewalk will not be lined with homemade, paper bag luminaries. After a trial run, I decided that no matter how cleverly done, rows of flaming lunch sacks do not have the desired welcoming effect.
2. Once inside, please note that the entry hall is not decorated with the swags of Indian corn and fall foliage I had planned to make. Instead, I've gotten the neighbor kids involved in the decorating by having them track in colorful autumn leaves from the front yard. The mud was their idea.
3. The dining table will not be covered with expensive linens, fancy china, or crystal goblets. If possible, we will use dishes that match and I will try to make sure everyone will get a fork. Since this IS Thanksgiving, we will refrain from using the plastic Peter Rabbit plate and the Santa napkins from last Christmas.
4. My centerpiece will not be the tower of fresh fruit and flowers that I promised. Instead we will be displaying a hedgehog-like decoration hand-crafted from the finest construction paper. The artist has assured me that it is a turkey.
5. We will be dining fashionably late. The children can entertain you while you wait. I'm sure they will be happy to share every choice comment I made this morning regarding Thanskgiving, the pilgrims and the turkey hotline. Please remember that most of these comments were made at 5:00 a.m. upon discovering that the turkey was still hard enough to cut diamonds. As accompaniment to the children's recital, I will play a recording of tribal drumming. If the children should mention that I don't own a recording of that tribal drumming, or that tribal drumming sounds suspiciously like a frozen turkey in a clothes dryer, ignore them. They are lying.
6. I toyed with the idea of ringing a dainty silver bell to announce the start of our feast but I chose to keep our traditional method. We've also decided against a formal seating arrangement. When the smoke alarm sounds, please gather around the table and sit where you like. In the spirit of harmony, we will ask the children to sit at a separate table in a room next door.
7. Now, I know you have all seen pictures of one person carving a turkey in front of a crowd of appreciative onlookers. This will not be happening at our dinner. For safety reasons, the turkey will be carved in a private ceremony. I stress "private" meaning: Do not, under any circumstances, enter the kitchen to laugh at me. Do not send small, unsuspecting children to check on my progress. I have an electric knife. The turkey is unarmed. It stands to reason that I will eventually win. When I do, we will eat.
8. I would like to remind my young diners that "passing the rolls" is not a football play. Nor is it a request to bean your sister in the head with warm tasty bread.
9. Oh, and one reminder for the adults: For the duration of the meal, and especially while in the presence of young diners, we will refer to the giblet gravy by its lesser-known name: Cheese Sauce. If a young diner questions you regarding the origins or type of Cheese Sauce, plead ignorance. Cheese Sauce stains.
10. Before I forget, there is one last change. Instead of offering a choice among 12 different scrumptious desserts, we will be serving the traditional apple pie, garnished with iced cream and small fingerprints. You will still have a choice, take it or leave it.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL
P.S. I looked for the author and couldn't find it. It's not me!