From the Pastor: Thanksgiving with my Family
[Instead of writing a new column this week, I am recycling one of my favorites from several years ago, with minimal editing. I think this will be a good introduction to my family holiday gathering stories for all the new parishioners. Be forewarned, though: careful reading is essential.]
Today I want to share with you stories of how I spent my Thanksgiving. Because the bulletin had to get to the publisher early due to the holiday, I had to write this column before it actually happened.
It didn’t start out too well for me. I drove to my brother’s house in Clermont to spend the day with my family but the door was locked when I got there. Nobody was home and there were no cars in the driveway or on the road in front of the house. It quickly dawned on me that I was in the wrong place but I couldn’t figure out where I was supposed to be. Was everyone at my moms, my dads, or my little sisters? I reached for my cell phone to find out where everyone was and remembered that the phone was back on my dining room table. Have you tried to find a pay phone recently? Finding one wouldn’t have done me any good anyway, since all my phone numbers are on my phone. Mom’s number? Simply press “speed dial 1.” That won’t work on a public phone, though.
So I drove home, got my phone and found out that everyone was at my sister’s house waiting patiently for me to get back from what they expected was an emergency call to the hospital to anoint someone. Who was I to correct them? By now the ice cream I was bringing to accompany mom’s homemade pies was oozing, so I jumped back into my Lamborghini and high tailed it toward south Tampa, only to find out that the newest unmarked police cruiser was the lime green Smart for Two I flew past at a few dozen miles over the speed limit. Do you know how humiliating it is to get pulled over by a “toy” car that never could have caught me if I hadn’t let it and that looks like a dozen little clowns should be getting out of it?
By the time I got to the house, fortunately, I didn’t have to explain any of this, since Aunt Irma had gotten into the catnip (or something like that) and was causing a ruckus as she somehow got her bloomers stuck on a tree branch. Why she had climbed out the window of the kids’ tree house was not immediately clear until we found the half-roasted turkey on the roof. She had taken it from the oven and was trying to set it free before we could eat it. Somebody had sent her an email stating that Vatican II had mandated that all Catholics must become vegetarian and since it was in writing she knew it must be true. The fire rescue guys had a difficult time getting her down because she kept flapping her arms and screaming, “fly away little birdie, fly away!” At one point she thought the turkey was finally making its escape but it had simply jostled loose and was on its way to the ground. It barely missed landing on several of the kids as it took flight courtesy of gravity. Only after we assured her that it got away did we finally get her down.
While all of this was happening in the back yard, nobody was paying attention to what was going on inside the house. My mom recently got a new dog and had brought it with her. It was playing with my sister’s two dogs (at least that's what the cat said) and they managed to knock over the folding card table on which all the good china and homemade pies had been stacked. Well, at least there is one more kitchen cabinet available for storage now and without an apple pie to put it on, my melted ice cream wasn’t even missed. The rest of the day went fairly smoothly and we gave thanks for Chinese takeout (which paired up surprisingly well with mashed potatoes and green bean casserole) and crazy family members.
Anyway, this is how it might have happened.
With prayers for your holiness,
Fr. Edwin Palka