The Time I Saved Thanksgiving

I know Thanksgiving isn’t for another two days, but I’ve already celebrated twice.

My best friend Brittany is home from Tennessee for Thanksgiving (or actually, pre-Thanksgiving since she’s leaving before the actual holiday), and she’s been getting in as much turkey consumption as possible.

I was first invited to her boyfriend’s Friendsgiving celebration, so I asked what to make (as a terrible cook who experiences extreme anxiety when it comes to potlucks). Brittany told me to bring some stuffing, since that was the only Thanksgiving food group not represented.

No problem.

In fact…the opposite of a problem. Stuffing is such a crowd-pleaser at Thanksgiving. I felt like I had been assigned the turkey, but with much less responsibility.

So I planned to go to Kroger and find the finest almost-but-not-quite-made stuffing that I could. And what do you know! They had marked all Stove Top stuffing boxes 4 for $5. I read the label, and got even more jazzed, because basically all you have to do is add the boxed contents to boiling water. I’ll show up with the stuffing, prepare it in six minutes or less, and instantly become the life of the party.

Thanksgiving is quickly becoming my favorite holiday.

So I arrive at Friendsgiving, excited to see everyone and more excited to contribute to the meal. I set my bag down and pulled out the boxes of stuffing, trying to figure out where I could start preparing it.

But instead of the gratitude I had been expecting, the thrill over the fact that the best dish had finally arrived, I received looks of judgment, disgust, and a very blunt request to please put away my boxes of instant stuffing. I tried to point out that this was brand name instant stuffing, in case anyone missed the label (because, as I’d been shopping at the grocery store earlier, I reasoned that Thanksgiving is not a time for frugality). But no one seemed to care; they made me shamefully put it away in a corner and sit down to eat everyone else’s homemade Thanksgiving dishes that they had worked hard to prepare all day apparently from scratch. [Side note to those who attended this Friendsgiving: there were three different dishes of macaroni and cheese; why didn’t you ask one of them to bring stuffing if you were sooooo concerned about it?]

Fast forward to the next day. Brittany’s family decided to celebrate Thanksgiving the Sunday beforehand, since she would be going back to Tennessee in a couple of days. Again, always afraid to show up empty-handed, I arrived with a bag full of…you guessed it, Stove Top stuffing. You know, the rejected boxes.

Another side note, this time not just to those who attended Friendsgiving: Brittany’s grandma has been working on perfecting her stuffing recipe all year for this occasion. She’s been telling everyone about it, even calling her family members, multiple times, to make sure they remember how hard she’s worked and how good it’s going to taste. So when I walked through the door with armloads of boxed Stove Top instant stuffing, she was less than amused. She thanked me for the thought, but told me that stuffing was covered. “In fact,” she had said, picking my bag up from the kitchen counter, “Let me just get it out of the way.” She proceeded to put my insulting bag of Stove Top in the guest bedroom, tucked tightly into the farthest corner of the house.

Subtle.

Anyway, I continued to enjoy the hors d’oeuvres and company, and tried hard to forget about my unwanted contribution. More people started to arrive, the beer and wine continued to flow, and dinner was quickly coming together.

When all of a sudden.

And, I just want to clarify to everyone at the Hayes family Thanksgiving, everyone reading this, and everyone that was a cop questioning me about the incident: I had NOTHING to do with it.

Brittany’s dad had been busy cooking shrimp all day. He had just finished another batch and brought it to the table of snacks, quickly because apparently they were burning his hands. I’m not sure exactly what happened because LIKE I SAID, I wasn’t involved. But I heard something shatter and when I turned around, I saw him scooping shards of wine glass out of Grandma’s famous cornbread stuffing.

Have you ever witnessed a car accident, train wreck, plane crash, or old woman having her heart broken?

Then you know how we all felt when Grandma discovered that her stuffing had been tainted by a substance toxic to humans and that Thanksgiving 2015 was officially ruined.

If only someone had brought—

“Rachel…why don’t you go grab your…um…”

Grandma, you don’t have to ask twice. I ran into the guest bedroom, and found my bag. I brought all of the boxes out to the kitchen; boil water, add contents…and voila. The stuffing was ready just in time to save Thanksgiving.

This year, we all enjoyed a very hearty and well-balanced Thanksgiving meal, with a completely appropriate amount of macaroni and cheese.

Anyway, I don’t want to dub myself a Thanksgiving hero. But the fact of the matter is, Stove Top rarely comes with shards of glass.

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