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Thanks, but no Thanksgiving for me

“Turkeys have faces. Sweet, sad little faces.”

Thanksgiving is a holiday without a heart. A feast without a focus.

Forget the hoopla about “gratitude” for good health, good fortune, good families, good jobs.

Let’s get real.

We’re together for two reasons; to watch football and eat turkey. Too much turkey.

Never eat food with a face

Not at my house, however. My daughter was in second grade when her teacher organized a winter field trip to a local turkey ranch.

The experience devastated her.

“Turkeys have faces,” my baby announced when she came home. “Sweet, sad little faces.”

She couldn’t spell “vegetarian.”

But she was one.

Bad mommy — bad, bad mommy

I was a single mother — and not good at it.

In those days the world was peopled with successful, intact families – and holidays were always a test.

But I threw myself into the task.

While other mothers relied on family recipes for turkey dressing, I roasted a bland, milky brown tofurkey, stewed wild rice, baked gluten free pumpkin pie.

I was determined to seduce my daughter into a wild love for Thanksgiving.

No dice.

“I refuse to celebrate the exploitation of Native Americans,” she said. “Why do we participate in a tradition that elevates Euro-Americans over indigenous people?”


This is what happens when you push a child to think for herself.

Teach your parents well

According to the Calorie Control Council, the average American will consume more than 4500 calories and 229 grams of fat on Thanksgiving day.

Left to our national traditions of greed and overeating, most of us will gain an additional ten pounds by the close of 2014.

The legacy of mommy guilt

Every parent knows that the old adage is dead wrong.

You can bend the twig — but the tree doesn’t care about your soy-based mushroom dressing. The damn twig will grow as it chooses.

Today, my daughter and her husband celebrate their own traditions.

Instead of using the Thanksgiving weekend to overeat, they ski Lutsen, hike the Sawbill, travel to Chicago and catch a show.

My grandchildren are destined to grow up strong, healthy and light — never knowing the sleepy consequences of consuming massive quantities of L-tryptophan and carbohydrates.

I guess that’s something to be thankful for.

Maybe I wasn’t such a bad mommy after all.

This post was written by Kristine Holmgren and originally published on Kristine Holmgren — Drama Queen.

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Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Jim Million on 11/21/2014 - 09:04 am.

    No Gathering?

    “We gather together to ___________”

    The traditional hymn was about thankfulness, large and small, but congregate. Has it now become a matter of filling in the blank, each to his/her own personal “fulfillment”?

    There remain many ways to gather together, or to help others do so. And it’s important to gather–to share food, thoughts, hope, perhaps despair–but, to share.

    I support the Union Gospel Mission’s outreach at this time of year. For me, it’s not a matter of ideology or faith or dogma of any sort. No, it’s simply a matter of sharing what there is to share…large or small.

    May we hear from those who have other special ways to share, to gather, or to help others do so?

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