Posts Tagged ‘Thanksgiving’

Why Thanksgiving is the Bestest Holiday Ever

November 21, 2012 1 comment

(Hey, where are the minorities?)

In my book, Thanksgiving is always a great day because it combines several primal urges we are allowed to fully indulge in with one of the most beautiful human sentiments there is- appreciation.

But first, the primal joys. There’s eating! And then there’s- more eating! There’s sex, of course. NOT. So kidding. No one has ever had sex on Thanksgiving Day. OK, maybe in the morning but after noon, when the smells of the turkey are beginning to waft through the kitchen and then, of course, several hours later after having consumed the allowable mass quantities, the last thing anyone would ever want to do is have sex.

So instead of sex, there’s the third best thing in the world in November- NFL Football. There’s just something incredibly comforting about a house full of people chatting, cooking, nibbling, drinking and giggling while a couple of guys ignore them completely and take over the couch, not particularly caring about the outcome of the contest but bonded in their Thanksgiving maleness. If there is a female reading this who loves watching Thanksgiving football, may I apologize for the previous sexist remark, and possibly have your phone number?

Here are four specific food reasons why Thanksgiving is the cat’s pajamas.

Mashed Potatoes

I make the best mashed potatoes on the planet earth. You laugh? You chortle? Ask my son. Ask anyone who’s ever eaten them. They are so good they have made people cry. Their texture is perfect- not too lumpy, not too soft. After that, the ingredients and ratios cannot be divulged, but they involve perfect amounts of butter, heavy cream, olive oil and garlic salt.

Rolls with Butter

No doubt about it, Thanksgiving, to a large extent, is the butter holiday. And what better vehicle for consuming large dollops of butter, then warm rolls that have just emerged from the oven, ideally hot enough that when the butter touches the surface of the bread, there’s instant melting and fusing going on. And then when the rolls accidently rub up on the plate against the gravy that is smothering the succulent turkey meat, well, if I keep writing about this sort of thing I’m going to have to rush off to take a cold culinary shower.

The Crispy Turkey Skin

OK, I said it. I’ll admit it. I’m not proud about it, but it’s the truth and many of you out there may as well admit it too. Crispy turkey skin is insanely tasty. Never, ever leave me alone in a kitchen with a turkey that’s just come out of the oven. It’s happened a few times but I can’t get into the details because there may be children reading this.

The Wings

There is a turkey skin moment that occurs on your way to oneness with the great meal- the traditional crunchy bites of certain parts of the wing. Ask any caveman. If they are being honest with you (and cavemen have a mixed record with honesty), they will tell you that crunchy, delectable moment is one of life’s greatest joys.

I once had a Thanksgiving Day dinner with some people, among them, a man who announced at the start of the meal, after the prayers but before the eating had started, that he loved wings and would be eating them all. I was incredulous. I looked around the table. I looked at the Turkey, confirming like most birds, there were only two such wings.

I was seething. The things I was saying in my head cannot be repeated, even in front of motorcycle gangs. And he did it too. He bogarted the turkey wings. What a selfish little man. I am the eater of the turkey wings. This is how it is. It is lore. Who did he think he was? I felt very bad that he passed away before the next Thanksgiving and that I had such mean, mean thoughts about him that day. It still comes up in counseling.

The Appreciation Part

And as for the gratefulness factor of Thanksgiving- selfish wing-eaters aside, I do love the moment of unity before the meal- in fact, the whole notion of sharing a bounty that we are blessed and fortunate to receive. It’s not a cornball thing. It is always a touching, beautiful thing when we create a moment to really appreciate what we have.

When we close our eyes tightly and all the misery in this world kind of washes over you and gradually fades away into the now and that now is sitting around a table with friends and family. The wolves may be howling, but they howl outside, while protected, we eat our meal in a warm place and love one another for just a little while.

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody. May yours be peaceful, bountiful and succulent.

Black Friday: Blood Sport

November 28, 2011 Leave a comment

On one hand, I want people to shop. Consumer spending boosts the economy and helps create jobs. On the other hand, the materialism is just so disturbing on so many levels. On the third hand- who’s to begrudge folks down on their luck looking to find stuff they can actually afford? I am obviously conflicted.

I have a view of a Pentagon City Mall from my apartment balcony. On Thanksgiving morning I noticed tents had been pitched outside the closed doors to said mall. Could these be Black Friday maniacs? So I took a walk and confirmed my suspicions. Some folks had, indeed, chosen to spend their entire Thanksgiving Day waiting for Best Buy to open at midnight. The line kept growing throughout the day. People were festive. I realized this had become some sort of deranged sport.

Because my son visited me for Thanksgiving and as a starving college student, needed a couple pairs of shoes, we braved the throngs and actually went into the even larger Pentagon City Fashion Mall- a gigantic five-story complex about three city blocks wide. I hate shopping so much- on a normal day, much less BLACK FRIDAY. It was every bit the crowded, aggressive experience I imagined. Except I forgot about the tedium and boredom of the long lines, the unpleasantness of surly customers like me. My son, I must admit, is much more mature and patient than I. Then again, he was the one getting the free shoes.


So now it’s the Cyber Monday after Black Friday and I have just scoured the World Wide Web for interesting, violent shopping stories to validate my intense dislike of crass commercialism.

Found some!

From, two interesting accounts of a Black Friday shopping experience from, apparently, the same Best Buy mob scene at the same California mall. The first one from Chris “Chrispy” B:

About thirty minutes before opening time everyone became one huge mob around the front door. They tried to limit the number of people allowed in at once but the mob just pushed through. My chair got bent in half somehow, still not really sure how. Probably has something to do with my swollen knee.

Apparently, he’d run into Joe the Wizard “K” :

Someone hit me so hard with a chair that he nearly bent it in half. Enjoy your television.

Then there’s the story of 61 year-old, Walter Vance, a pharmacist with a heart condition who collapsed in a West Virginia Target store. Shoppers reportedly stepped over him to get to their sale items.

And my personal favorite: Turns out the woman who pepper-sprayed fellow shoppers at a California Wall Mart in order to clear a path to a crate of X-Box video game players- has turned herself in. But according to police, the moment she walked into the precinct she invoked her 5th amendment right against self-incrimination.

I’m not sure exactly how this conversation went but it could have been something like this:

Pepper-Spraying Shopper: I’m turning myself in.
Cops: What for, lady?
Pepper-Spraying Shopper: I can’t say.


Remembering Stan Case

November 23, 2011 15 comments

Life can change in a split second. A horrendous car accident near Birmingham, Alabama, claimed the life of Stan Case last night. Stan was an anchor for the CNN Radio network in Atlanta and I had the honor of being his boss for nearly 8 years.

You couldn’t ask for a more reliable, dependable pro to be anchoring your national newscasts. And when he wasn’t anchoring flawless broadcasts, he was out getting a law degree. But there was so much more to this man than what he did professionally so well and so admirably for so many years.

He was an absolute, true gentleman. Kind, gracious, with a wonderfully wicked sense of humor; a 1st class prankster. One of the nicest, sweetest, warmest weddings I ever attended was the ceremony that united Stan with his CNN colleague, Angela Stiepel Case- Angi. Took her on a date to an Atlanta Braves baseball game once and they never looked back.

Angi is hospitalized today, a passenger in the car Stan was driving on a stormy Tuesday night as they made their way to see Stan’s family in Oklahoma for Thanksgiving. There are no words to describe the loss she is feeling today. There are just some couples you know are just perfect for each other. That was Stan and Angi.

People- it’s Thanksgiving. A time for appreciation. Hug your kids. Make a call to an old friend you haven’t reached out to in awhile. I’d lost touch with Stan over the years though I often thought of him and missed him. I really, really regret not having taken one damn minute to pick up a phone and hear his voice again.

I will remember and miss him forever.

Thanksgiving: Grateful For You

November 24, 2010 2 comments

These are sad times for many people but many of them will, nevertheless, still give thanks on Thursday. Thanks for their families and friends and the food on the table. That’s something those of us who are fortunate should keep in mind.

Among millions of American families there are moms and dads who used to bring home a regular paycheck but only have a few weeks left of unemployment benefits coming in. They are thankful they’re a family and have an address. Some sit beneath a roof and are grateful they have something over their heads this Thanksgiving while banks and regulators figure out if they’re going to take away their home. They’re thankful to be dry and warm. There are soldiers and journalists missing limbs or otherwise terribly scarred by war. They are thankful for life itself.

Many of us have learned lessons from these hard times. Good lessons. Many of us are scaling back and downsizing and are learning to appreciate honest things more than material things. Hard times can bring people together. Helping hands are more common than you ever dare dream.

So for those of us who are privileged enough to sit around a table this Thanksgiving, it is a good thing to appreciate those things we have left. The things we have lost, I suspect, we will either gain back or will come to realize we didn’t need at all.


This is my 200th column for Garciamedialife. I started this little blog about a year ago. Some 20,000 times over the past year, without any marketing besides Facebook and Twitter, people have taken the time to read the words I have written about our culture, media, politics, sports and just the plain silly things in life.

One time I went viral, picked up by two major web sites and it was kind of cool. And I’ve noticed that my indexing is getting better because this thing is actually showing up in search engines within the first couple of pages on some topics.

My theory about this little labor of love is that if you write it and it’s any damned good- they will come. I’m proudest of Ode to New York. It’s love prose to the grandest city of all. Somehow, someway, a dozen more people read it every single week, even though it was posted over a year ago. People- strangers- just keep finding it. Mostly they get it when querying a search engine for “New York” and its many iterations. It is by 4 times, the most widely read piece I’ve written (other than the one that went viral- LaBron Bores the Nation).

I apologize if I sound a little self-indulgent about all of this. It’s just that I’m grateful. I’m grateful that this stupid little blog born in the midst of my own bout with unemployment, helped me find my voice.

I’m grateful for your time and your interest and your outrage and your kindness. I think mostly, I want to find some truth in things. I sincerely thank you for being along for the journey.

Happy Thanksgiving!