Thursday, November 28, 2002

This has been my first Thanksgiving at home in five years, and for the most part it's been very nice. All the standard fixin's and whatnot, but with some points off because my brother raised a bit of a ruckus. About seven years ago my parents' oven stopped working, and instead of fixing it they've used a convection oven and other stopgap measures. This makes some amount of sense--the oven is built into the wall and would be a bitch to fix or replace. However, it also means that baking is out of the question, which is only really an issue around the holidays. So today, it was emphatically made an issue. Nevertheless, a solid turkey say, all things considered.

After turkey, the main thing that goes with Thanksgiving is of course watching Lions and Cowboys games--a tradition that I vehemently believe in maintaining, in spite of the current uproar to rotate Thanksgiving Day hosts. Two things about this years games really got me going. One was the Patriots breaking out the old red uni's, which always put a hop in my stop. They are my favorite NFL uniform that has gone out to pasture, and there is no close second. Also they made for a strange realization around the second quarter when I realized something was amiss--neither team was wearing white! The second thing that got me going was seeing Darrell Green not only at cornerback but even going back as the second deep safety on the Redskins' last-minute punt return. I'm not going to say Darrell Green is old, but in his first Thanksgiving Day game the opposing quarterback was Squanto.

Thanksgiving football has been somewhat diminished in my mind, though, because I now associate it with my worst Thanksgiving ever, which I also consider the nadir of my four-year Southern California sojourn. Thanksgiving Day 1998 I arrived at Gabe's Bar and Grill, my favorite Socal Steeler bar, in time for the 9:30 a.m. PST kickoff of the Steelers and Lions, to see a crowd of maybe half a dozen that swelled to maybe 15 at its height. At halftime we were served an ugly parody of Thanksgiving dinner--no one ever went to Gabe's for the food--that ruined my first-ever major family holiday away from home. Oh yeah, and that was also the Luckett-Bettis coin toss game, the less said about which the better. Just a depressing day to be 2500 miles away from home and not yet settled in to a new social network of any kind.

SoCal Thanksgivings did get markedly better from there, it should be noted. In 1999 and 2000 Kristan and I, being the only ones in our group without holiday plans, went to the Covina Hometown Buffet and then theater-hopped at the AMC Covina 30. We saw 5 movies in those two years, including Toy Story 2 and The Insider if memory serves. In 2001 five of us saw the late morning show of the first Harry Potter movie at the incomparable Grauman's nee Mann's nee Grauman's Chinese Theater, and then four of us drove all over Pasadena and points east looking for an open restaurant, finally ending up at Black Angus, strangely enough again in Covina. That was my first non-turkey Thanksgiving dinner, and I'm in no hurry to have a second.

Speaking of which, I think it's about time for a sandwich...

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