Posted in Mama, Writer

The Commandments of the Southern Thanksgiving Gathering

The Commandments of the Southern Thanksgiving Gathering

  • Thou shalt bring something.
  • Thou shalt obligingly laugh while everyone teases what thou brought. Ice? Who raised thou?
  • Thou shalt not partake of more alcohol than that which makes thee a more pleasant companion.
  • Thou shalt not eat for a goodly number of hours before feast-time. All tasting/picking/thieving fingers shall be smote.
  • Thou shalt put a little bit of what everyone brought on thy plate (and discretely place thy paper plate with thine uneaten portions upside down in the trash to avoid hurting feelings.)
  • Thou shalt write thy name on thy solo cup with a sharpie. Thou shalt keep thy solo cup.
  • Thou shalt ring thy hands in mourning for those working on this day- and run to the store for just one more thing.
  • Thou shalt slow thy roll and let the elderly and kiddos get food first. Thou art a grown-up.
  • Thou shalt free thy brother and neighbor by obligingly jumping up and moving thy car from the parking fiasco that is the front yard.
  • Thou shalt not eat until everyone is seated and the agreed upon terms of pre-eating have come to pass (e.g. praying, going around and sharing gratitude, etc.).
  • Thou shalt make a wish on the wishbone- even if it is most gross.
  • Thou shalt compliment everything. EVERYTHING.
  • Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s last roll.
  • Thy pie consumption shall not exceed thy elastic function.
  • Thou shalt chase thy host/hostess away from the sinkload of dishes with the nearest long-handled cleaning utensil.
  • Thou shalt not politic to the point of hurt feelings. Remember why thou came and partook of turkey in the first place.
  • Thou shalt not take a plate, if thou didst not bring a dish. 
  • Thou shalt not covet thy sister-in-law’s casserole dish. Even if she did “leave it behind.”


Posted in Mama, Writer

Smile and Nod (with love): Holiday Edition

Daily blogging is illuminating how much I think in the form of lists. They’re therapeutic, and they catch a lot of reality.

Some people are talking about how they’re dreading holiday political talk with the family. If that were to happen, and it isn’t unheard of with my lot, I intend to let my eyes glaze over and start planning next semester’s syllabus (I already know who I’m voting for).

Fortunately, politics isn’t my family’s number one thing. So, if my syllabus is thoroughly planned before Christmas vacation, the reasons will more likely be my siblings and parents discussing:

-Game of Thrones

-Superhero movies I haven’t seen


-Anything someone’s seen on YouTube

-Game of Thrones (yes, I know. They’re SO into it).

I’m just going to let it happen. Internally, though, I’m going to be the Homer Simpson disappearing backwards into a bush meme.

I don’t need spoiler alerts. These lovely humans don’t need to accommodate me. I’m just going to nod and try to figure out whether or not to include a classwork grade… with love, of course.

Posted in Mama, Writer

Thanksgiving is:

Thanksgiving is:

-mom’s house.

-waking up to the turkey smell.

-pre-cook pies already back in their boxes in the refrigerator.

-cool whip.

-the big divider Styrofoam plates.

-cream of chicken soup gravy.

-dad trying to change things up and getting lectured (probably saying we should do ham next year instead of turkey).

-never enough rolls.

-debating green bean casserole (it’s traditional vs only two people eat any).

-loud and funny.

-My brother and sister-in-law asking me if I’ve seen this or that movie yet and always saying no.

-kid’s running through the kitchen to the sound of Mamaw’s “Be careful- everything’s hot!”

-saying “cover me” every time I open the oven.

-everything being done and impatiently waiting on the late people to arrive.

-having to schedule a time to eat that works for the poor person in retail. Everyone stopping to greet this rarely seen person as if he were home on leave from the military. (“I haven’t seen you in ages!”)

-awkward food line shuffle (“You go first.” “No, you’re the [host, guest, lady, man-of-the-house, cook, mom-of-that-crying-kid, etc.]. You should go first.”

-some more awkward waiting around the tables while everyone gets food.

-awkward hesitation when everyone’s seated, ‘cause we’re all mildly religious, and though we think praying is probably a good idea, the “out loud” part makes some of us clammy.

-mom rolling her eyes at us and praying.

-eating too much.

-getting pie after having already eaten too much.

-mom starting to clean before everyone has finished eating.

-wondering where my sister is when it’s time to wash the dishes.

-listening to my husband complain that he ate too much and needs exercise.

-husband eating the last of the rolls twenty minutes later.

Posted in Professor, Writer

Office Hour Happy Hour (Dry Campus Version)

Today was super duper crazy. I put in about 11 hours between morning student conferences, a department meeting, pre-class grading frenzy, afternoon classes, and a long evening class. Now that it’s all done, I’m impressed with myself.

While I was in it, though, I just wanted to cross my arms and glare at things.

One dream that sustained me was of tomorrow’s office hours. Today might have been crazy, but tomorrow’s office hours are completely unscheduled. Here’s a list of all the wonderful things I intend to do during my four unscheduled office hours before Thanksgiving Break starts.

(Drum roll, please) I will:

-Spin around in my chair. It’s a particularly good spinny office chair.

-Place bets with colleagues about how many students will actually come in the day before break.

-Not grade papers. I might open my browser and purposefully look at some papers, just so I can officially shake my head and close the browser.

-Compose my email’s away message. Try to restrain my use of celebratory emojis.

-Read a chintzy novel (and pray a student comes in, so I can talk about it).

-Eat snacks.

-Doodle on my stacks of old assignment sheets.

-Does solitaire still come preloaded on computers?

-Google about solitaire.

-Pinterest search for funny comics.

-Feel slightly guilty about not using this precious time for professional development.

-Eat more snacks.  

-Invent a game called “Squirrel on the Courtyard Birdfeeder BINGO.” (I don’t know what it entails, but I bet I’ll rock it.)

I just can’t wait for tomorrow.


Posted in Mama, Writer

Turkey Disguise 101: a Life or Death Kindergarten Homework Assignment

                I had other plans for blogs this morning, but my son has left his class project out. One thing led to another, and, long story short, I have been mentoring a helpless, reluctant-to-be-eaten turkey in the art of disguise.

                Here’s Ed’s (the turkey’s) backstory.


                So, somebody is after the poor guy. He’s dinner otherwise. Got it.

                After wishing Ed luck, I went about my business. When I got back to the kitchen, I found this:

First Hershey

                “Are you kidding me, Ed? That’s a terrible disguise.”


second hershey

“Did you just…? Cut it out. I can still see you. And hiding in a layer of chocolates? You might as well be hiding under beef jerky and a stack of Cabela’s catalogues.”

Shaking my head, I went back to cleaning up the kitchen. When I went in the living room, I found this:


“It’s a classic, Ed, but I think you’re going to need something that covers the whole butt of protruding feathers issue. Keep trying, buddy.”

Five minutes later, I checked back in and found:


“Oh, I see- pretending you’re already dead. But, sorry to say this Ed, this kind of dead won’t keep you from getting eaten.”

Ed was horrified. After a round of therapy, I found him in the kitchen again.


“I see what you did there! Well, it did work for that other guy. I’m just not sure if you really want to risk hiding in plain sight like that. Waldo has a lot of white, human privilege that lets him blend in unharrassed. I’m not sure if that would work for a turkey in a turtleneck.  

I know, I know. This is hard. You’ve got to stop thinking like a turkey, Ed. Get with the human program, and find yourself a safe zone.”

I left Ed feeling discouraged. I made tea and went to start laundry. I found this:


I could have cried.

Ed had done it. He’d finally found a place that’s a total human turnoff. He was a safe turkey at last.

I wiped away a tear and made a note to call Bojangles and reserve my deep fried Thanksgiving dinner. For Ed’s sake, I prayed they hadn’t already sold out.