Adapted from Thanksgiving at the Tappletons, by Eileen Spinelli
It was Thanksgiving morning. Mother had just finished stuffing the turkey when the phone rang. It was Aunt Mary. She and grandmother were planning to drive from their house, which was over an hour away, to have dinner with the family, but their car wouldn’t start so she said they couldn’t come.
“But it won’t be Thanksgiving without you being here!” Mother said. “I will come and get you. I’ve already stuffed the turkey and Father can go to the bakery and pick up some pies and rolls. The kids can finish making the dinner while I’m gone…they are old enough now and it will be good for them to help out.”
So mother left notes for everybody in the family. She asked Father to go to the bakery, she asked 16 year old Mary to fix the mashed potatoes, 12 year old Bobby to fix the salad and 9 year old Sarah to set the table by the time she returned with grandmother and Aunt Mary. She put the turkey in the oven and drove off to pick up Aunt Mary and Grandmother.
When Father and the children read the notes that morning they decided they would do everything later. Father started watching a football game while he had his coffee, Bobby ran off to play baseball with his friends and Mary said she’d peel and cook the potatoes after she washed her hair. Sarah said she’d set the table after she had her Cheerios
It was almost noon when mother got to Aunt Mary’s house and called home to see if everybody had read her notes. Only then did they all get started. Father went to the bakery for the pies and rolls but Oh! Oh! When he got there they were all sold out. “Oh dear,” he said, “But, oh well, there’ll be plenty of turkey and stuffing, anyway.” So he bought some hot dog buns anyway because that was all that was left in the bakery.
Mary cooked the potatoes and put them in the electric mixer with milk and butter. While they were mashing the phone rang in the next room. It was Mary’s best friend. While she was talking she forgot completely about the potatoes whirling around in the mixer in the kitchen until Bobby came home and started yelling. There were mashed potatoes flying all over the kitchen. By the time they cleaned the mashed potatoes off the floor, the cupboards and the counters, there were hardly any left in the bowl. “Oh dear”, said Mary, “But, oh well, there’ll be plenty of turkey and stuffing, anyway.”
Then Bobby read his note about making the salad. He looked in the refrigerator for lettuce. There wasn’t any. “Where’s the lettuce?” he asked Sarah, who had just started setting the table. She told him she had taken all the lettuce to school yesterday to feed the rabbits in the cage in her classroom. “Oh dear!” said Bobby, “Oh well, there’ll be plenty of turkey and stuffing and I don’t like salad anyway.”
Sarah had just finished setting the table when Mother came in the door with Aunt Mary and Grandmother. “We can’t wait to eat!” they all said, “We’re starving. But how come we don’t smell the turkey?”
Mother went to the oven and opened it. The oven was cold and so was the turkey. “Oh, my goodness!” she exclaimed. “I forgot to turn the oven on before I left! It will be hours before it is cooked and we’re all so hungry right now! Well, I guess we’ll just have to eat everything else first.”
“We can’t,” said Mary. “There aren’t enough mashed potatoes to go around.”
“And there isn’t any salad at all,” said Bobby.
“And there aren’t any pies or rolls, either,” said Father. Then he had a thought. “I saw hot dogs in the refrigerator and I just happened to get lots of hot dog buns at the bakery. We can eat hot dogs today and have our Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow!”
“But tomorrow’s not Thanksgiving,” wailed Sarah.
“Any day and every day is a good day for Thanksgiving,” said Aunt Mary, “as long as we’re together, have food to eat and remember to give thanks.”
“That’s right,” said Father. “Today we’ll give thanks for All American hot dogs and tomorrow we’ll give thanks for turkey …and pilgrims!”