2006.11.30 A barfy Thanksgiving

By JEFF PICKELL

It was, indeed, a very barfy Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving, or THANKSgiving as it is pronounced in the south and elsewhere in the midwest, is probably my favorite holiday. I know, you’d never expect the guy who writes 50 percent of his columns about food to favor above all others the holiday where people get together to gorge themselves, but it’s true—turkeys have nightmares about me.

This was probably the worst Thanksgiving ever. I’ve been fighting a stomach bug for about two weeks now. It’s nothing major, so long as I stick to what my mom calls bland foods—lightly buttered toast, soup broth, salad, and cups of noodles. Pretty much anything heavier sends me bolting for the bathroom before long.

I spent the three or so days leading up to T-day (turkey day) in training, nibbling on this and that, relying on my plentiful fat stores to stave off collapse. I wanted to be better so I could go after that turkey with a passion, to teach it who’s boss with salvoes of mashed potato body slams, dinner roll pile drivers, and green bean casserole haymakers.

But during the two hour drive from Highland to Sturgis, echoes of wooziness still bounced around my belly. I ignored them, and when we arrived at Aunt Julie’s, went straight for the hors d’oeuvres, plying my empty food bag with fancy cheese and crackers and cauliflower with vegetable dip, delightedly washing them down with can after can of Diet Coke.

Big mistake. When dinner time came, I got about halfway through my first plate before something down there went awry. I excused myself to quell this uneasy feeling with a few laps around the house (this should be read as “I dashed out the back door to a nearby pile of leaves and emptied my stomach”).

My Thanksgiving was effectively over, but Darla the dog’s feast was just beginning. As much as she may hate it, Darla is a dog of weak gastro-intestinal fortitude. She may want to eat things like paper, deer turds, and jalapeno poppers, but she just can’t keep them down. Add to this list large quantities of turkey grease.

Just as we were leaving, my Uncle Don opened the garage, where the left over grease was stored. Darla swiftly struck at this target of opportunity and was snout-deep in it before Dad found out and shooed her away. It was too late. She was dry-heaving before we made it out of Sturgis.

An hour later, as the sun dipped into the west and the sky took on a tint of purple and orange, she barfed all over Mom. Were anything left in my stomach, the sickening smell of the Darla barf would’ve led me to follow suit. I hiccuped and swallowed spittle for the remainder of the trip.

The next day, it was back to soups, salads and fruits for me. I exercised with my dad, mom and Darla at the park and felt pretty good afterward, but took it easy and watched reruns of “Third Rock from the Sun” all afternoon and into the night, ignoring my friends’ calls for me to leave the basement.

Saturday was much the same. I ran some errands and envyingly munched a Greek salad while my friends Tony and Evan enjoyed kielbasa and macaroni and cheese and fried cod and french fries, respectively.

Sunday was once again soup, salad and napping all day, right until mom woke me up for dinner, after which I crankily remarked “Why don’t you turn down the heater? It’s burning up in here.”

“What are you talking about?” said Dad. “It’s cold.”

“John, check to see if he has a fever,” said Mom.

“I’m fine, I’m fine,” I insisted. “What’s for dinner?”

“Corned beef casserole,” said Mom.

“I’m in,” I said.

Shortly afterward, I departed for Morenci, making it precisely three quarters of the way down my road before barfing all over myself, my car interior, and my work clothes. Then I sobbed.

Back home, mom forbid me from leaving the house, even after the laundry was redone. This was a good maneuver, because my night was filled with more barfing, feverish half-sleep and nightmares involving a talking, teleporting washing machine and, wouldn’t you know it, turkeys.

Again, it’s a good thing my stomach was empty when I set out for Morenci in the morning, because the smell in my car—I’ll be eating blandly until I devise a way to get rid of it.

I will, however, live to eat again.

    - Nov. 30, 2006 
  • Front.web
    NICE WORK—A spider remains at the center of a web, awaiting visitors, during a moist morning last month. The was built in front of Eagle Funeral Home in Morenci.
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    STEP BY STEP—Wyatt Stevens of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge Sunday during the Michigan DNR’s Great Outdoors Jamboree at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The Tecumseh Boy Scout Troop constructed the bridge again this year after taking a break in 2016. The Jamboree offered a variety of activities for a wide range of age groups. Morenci’s Stair District Library set up activities again this year and had visits with dozens of kids. See the back page for additional photos.
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    LEADING THE WAY—The Morenci Area High School marching band led the way across the pedestrian bridge on Morenci’s south side for the annual Labor Day Bridge Walk. The Band Boosters shared profits from the sale of T-shirts with the walk’s sponsor, the Morenci Area Chamber of Commerce. Additional photos are on the back page.
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    LOOKING UP—More than 200 people showed up at Stair District Library Monday afternoon to view the big celestial event with free glasses provided by a grant from the Space Science Institute. The library offered craft activities from noon to 1 p.m., refreshments including Cosmic Cake from Zingerman’s Bakehouse and a live viewing of the eclipse from NASA on a large screen. As the sky darkened slightly, more and more people moved outside to the sidewalk to take a look at the shrinking sun. If you missed it, hang on for the next total eclipse in 2024 as the path comes even closer to this area.
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    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
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    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
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    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
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    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.