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The Jacksons – for Oct. 13, 2011

There is no other day, no other time that smells as good as Thanksgiving. The aroma of roast turkey, fresh stuffing and hot gravy and garlic mashed potatoes seems to have an appeal that even a beef roast can t quite live up to. You might ask, what s different about the smell of a Thanksgiving turkey as compared to the smell of a Christmas turkey?

The first important difference is pumpkin pie. The spicy, rich smell of baking pumpkin pie is a great pleasure in its own right, but when it s there as a complement to the other aromas already gently assaulting one s nostrils, it s about as close to paradise as one is likely to find in this world.

The second important difference is the season itself. No one comes in on Christmas Day saying how much they love the smell of exhaust fumes and snow, but on Thanksgiving day one often hears how nice it smells outside, how the scent of falling leaves carried on the cool, damp air is a pleasant change from the dry, dusty smell of summer.

The Jackson house had all the fixings this Thanksgiving, turkey, stuffing, gravy, potatoes and pumpkin pie inside and all the best smells of autumn wafting in from outside through the open dining room window as the family sat down to the annual feast.

It s ridiculous, how good everything smells. Brady stated the obvious as he took his seat next to Amanda, who was already seated next to Jennifer. And I am starving, he added as he reached for the potatoes.

Hold your horses there sonny, said Andrew, and Brady pulled his hand back. It s Thanksgiving, Andrew continued, and you know what that means.

There was a moment of silence. Feats of strength! said Jennifer. Airing of grievances! said Brady.

Andrew laughed. This is not an episode of Seinfeld, he said, although it sometimes seems like it could be, and we are celebrating Thanksgiving not Festivus, so there will be no airing of grievances today and the only feats of strength will come after we eat when you young uns carry the dishes and leftovers back into the kitchen.

By Rollin Penner

And instead of airing of grievances, said Rose, we will have the annual expressions of gratitude. Who wants to go first?

I would be more grateful if we could do airing of grievances, said Jennifer.

And just for that my dear girl, said Andrew, you will go first.

Jennifer was silent for a moment. OK, she said. I m NOT going to say that I m thankful for my family because everyone always says that. She paused and looked around at the others. OK, I AM thankful to be in this family but I m not going to say that. I m going to say that I am grateful that& she paused again and then concluded, my locker just happens to be next to the locker belonging to the most gorgeous hunk in the history of the school.

Next to me you mean? said Randy who had been busy getting little Allison settled in her highchair.

Next to you what? said Jennifer.

The most gorgeous guy in the history of the school, next to me, said Randy.

Jennifer laughed out loud. You re hilarious! she said.

Yup, said Randy. And gorgeous!

All right, let s get serious, said Andrew. Jennifer s thankful for her Argentinian heartthrob and that s all fine and dandy, but there s a lot of other, dare I say more important, things for us to be grateful for, and before we eat we are going to remember what they are. So if you re hungry, speak up!

Well, I m starving, said Randy, so I would like to say that I am grateful to my mother, who has slaved over a hot stove for 25 years to prepare this fabulous meal for us. He stopped and looked at his wife, who sat next to him. Oh and also, he added, I am grateful to Jackie who made the stuffing.

Whoa, nice save, said Brady.

Yeah, agreed Jackie with a grin, nice save!

Randy laughed. OK honey, he said, you re next. What are you grateful for?

Oh that s easy, said Jackie. I m grateful for high cattle prices.

Randy gave her a look. Really? he said. That s

what you re thankful for? High cattle prices? Why?

Because, said Jackie, high cattle prices make my husband sooo much easier to live with.

Amen! said Rose. I couldn t have said it better myself!

And on that note, said Andrew, I would like to thank everyone for being here, and I suggest we gratefully dig in!

Hear hear! said Brady, expecting a chorus of voices, but no chorus came. The others were too busy, digging in.

Catch Rollin Penner And The Traveling Medicine Show in concert at McKenzie United Church in Portage on Saturday, October 22

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