Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Thanksgiving Trots are for Turkeys

thanksgiving turkey trot parents pushing baby

Our family’s Thanksgiving tradition is to ritually avoid them.

Multiple generations of loved ones gathering under one roof? Rarely. We have more of a shrub than a family tree. Plus, we tend to shy away from forced socializing. If we had a coat of arms, it’d feature badgers swathed in poison ivy.

Football? Ha! We’re New York Jets fans! By the fourth Thursday of November, we find more excitement in scouring the internet for video of curling competitions.

Turkey isn’t even on our table. Our daughter gave up meat in seventh grade after her health class watched the documentary Food, Inc. Thank you, Common Core!

All we have going for us year after year is our feet. As in, an annual family walk. Of course My Love, curse her spirited Midwestern bloodline, keeps trying to make it a family run. But more on that later.

This sole tradition dates back to my childhood. After a hearty helping of breast meat, potatoes and defrosted pearled onions -- “in a real cream sauce,” the package declared – my father and I would bundle up and wander out of our neighborhood to the nearby nature center.

During the best of years, we’d meander through the winding, wooded trails and neither of us would lose a shoe in a leaf-covered mud hole. In less clement weather, we’d stick to the main path through the farm area where, during the inhumane 1970s and early '80s, cages and pens held a menagerie of animals. At various times, we’d check in on an American bald eagle, a few raccoons and, no fooling, a squirrel. That poor critter, stuck watching through the wires as all his brethren roamed about freely, must have been driven nuts.

Flash forward to the early 21st century. I got married, we had two children and, with them came a desire to pass what few traditions I had on to a new generation. My lovely wife had other ideas.

Maybe she was under the influence of the then in-vogue “continuous improvement” theory of management, maybe she just had too much merlot one night. Either way, she decided we should all do a five-mile Thanksgiving Day Road Race taking place about 15 miles from our town. This was fine for her, a dedicated runner. Not so much for me or the two tiny-bladdered pre-pubescents I would eventually have to herd along the shorter 2.6-mile course set aside for walkers.

I had my revenge, though. 

A few years later Excitable, then 8, announced he would do the full 5-mile run portion of the event with his mom. And he did, finishing the race after multiple porta-potty stops, a snack break and side trip to look for shells along a beach, in a one hour and 23 minutes. This placed him 3,977th and his mom 3,978th out of 3,980 participants. I think the two who finished behind them were actually locals who had been stuck in their driveways whilst trying to get to Stop & Shop for some last-minute cranberry sauce.

After a while, I managed to convince My Love we’d save money, time in traffic and – most importantly for her -- humiliation by instead taking a rousing walk around our town's waterfront park. We’ve done that multiple times now, and each year’s journey has left me refreshed and, most often, frostbitten. There’s nothing better to prevent overeating on Thanksgiving than letting the wind chill off the Long Island Sound numb your fingers to the point you can’t handle a fork or spoon for five or six hours. It’s also makes surfing the ‘net for curling video challenging.

So if you happen to see me in these coming days before the big holiday, be kind. And don’t call it “Turkey Day” or I might just invite you over to join us. You'll love sucking up some pureed bean curd through a straw.

Idiots on parade photo by USAG Italy on Foter


  1. I don't want to hear any sad tales from a Jets fan. My hometown team, the Lions, has won a grand total of ONE playoff game in my lifetime, and I am 58.

    But seriously, Happy Turkey Day.

  2. Hey!! Good to hear from you again. The Tigers have a better chance of winning the Super Bowl than either the Lions or the Jets. And Tofu you, too!

  3. Enjoy your tofu TX dinner McKeevers! Miss you guys. Enjoy reading Kevin's missives as always


REMEMBER: You're at your sexiest when you comment.


My Uncool Past