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Vail Family Thanksgiving Day Schedule

Years: 1993-2010ish
Setting: Grampa’s House, Upstate New York


6:00 A.M. (or maybe before): Wake up from sound of someone going down the stairs to put the turkey in the oven. Smile a little. Roll back over and go to sleep.

8:00 A.M.: Finally wake up. Check window to see if it snowed or is snowing. Wake sister up. Go downstairs. Eat a single piece of extra buttered toast or a mug full of Mickey’s Magix to tide you over. Hug everyone and say “Happy Thanksgiving!” ESPN is already on one of the TV’s.

9:00 A.M.: Get ready in your fancy outfit.

9:15 A.M.: Head down to the basement. Play Sonic the Hedgehog or The Lion King on Sega Genesis for awhile. Get bored. Go back upstairs.

10:00 A.M.: Play Toy Story 2 on the original PlayStation. Peek out the window (conveniently right next to the TV) at 15 minute intervals to see if anyone’s here yet.

10:30 A.M.: Wander into the kitchen. Everything smells amazing. Look at the rolls in the oven. Salivate.

10:50 A.M.: Situate yourself on the bench in front of the giant window to watch for people. Watch some of the Macy’s parade out of the corner of your eye. Conclude it’s still too early for Christmas music and wonder why they include performances of it in the THANKSGIVING Day Parade.

11:01 A.M.: Wonder silently WHY IS NO ONE HERE YET???

11:05 A.M.: Greet your aunts and uncles and cousins. Catch up on whatever pop culture/sports events you’ve missed from the past six months. Make fun of your cousins, and let them make fun of you. Head to the basement with cousins to play pool/video games/foosball until the food is ready.

11:30 A.M.: Sneak a piece of pumpkin bread. Run back downstairs.

12:00 P.M.: TIME TO EAT!!! Run back upstairs. Find a prime spot at the kids’ table. Immediately start passing the rolls. Fill your glass with milk.

12:10 P.M.: Make a jokey prayer, probably involving the Bills and Sabres winning.

12:15 P.M.: Inhale your first plate of food, which consists of one-third turkey and mashed potatoes, one-third stuffing, and one-third corn, squishy rolls, vegetables, and more pumpkin bread. Turn the volume down on the TV. The football game hasn’t started yet.

12:30 P.M.: Overhear something inappropriate at the adults’ table. Make fun of your cousin Bobby, whether he’s there for Thanksgiving or not.

12:35 P.M.: Someone asks the last time the Bills got to play on Thanksgiving. Hold delusional discussion of the Bills improbable playoff run.

12:45 P.M.: Prepare second plate. Mostly stuffing, mashed potatoes, and rolls.

1:00 P.M.: Regret second plate. Lean back in chair and discuss mistakes of plating strategy.

1:15 P.M.: Get up from table and lay down on the couch to aid digestion.

1:20 P.M.: Bring plates to kitchen. Go back to living room. All the uncles are in chairs/on couches, some already asleep.

1:25 P.M.: Head to basement. Discuss afternoon plans with cousins. Discuss potential of a movie being made. Decide when the Tim Hortons run will occur. Play more pool.

1:35 P.M.: Run upstairs. Check to see if dessert is out yet. It’s not. Return to basement.

1:45 P.M.: Run back upstairs with all of your cousins. Dessert IS out. Have a piece of chocolate pie. Make sure the ratio between pie filling and cool whip is 1:1. Watch some football.

2:05 P.M.: Ask the adults if you can go up to the attic. (They say yes.)

2:10 P.M.: Go up to the attic. Go back down and grab another sweater from your room, since it’s cold as hell up there. Peruse boxes of your dad’s stuff from high school. Play with a pair of crutches that were left up there. Wonder if Grampa’s house is haunted. Debate differing first-person accounts. Refuse to accept them, since you’re sleeping there.

3:00 P.M.: Some people start to bundle up to leave. Some people retreat to an open bedroom to take a nap. Eat another slice of pie, and a couple Hershey’s Kisses.

4:30 P.M.: Make the highly anticipated Tim Hortons run. Burn your tongue on hot chocolate. Throw snowballs at your sister and cousins.

6:30 P.M.: Make your leftovers dinner: turkey quesadilla. Ingredients include turkey, shredded cheese, corn, and fajita spices. Brag to everyone about how good it is. Also reheat a side of stuffing.

8:00 P.M.: Settle in for the evening football game with the remaining family members. Let Grampa have his spot. Heat up more stuffing, for good measure. Exhale, and feel how truly full you are — full of food and love.

Erin Vail

Erin is the 2003 West Reading Elementary Geography Bee champion, a TV obsessive, and never not thinking about Buffalo sports.

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