A Meal Divided Does Not Stand

Each post thanksgiving morning

we reach for GERD meds

for, knowing overeating’s warnings,

our stomach overrules our head.

Our bodies are certainly not meant

to such highly caloric density.

So why is good judgment lent

to this overindulged propensity?

We have been taught from the cradle

the hallmark of  holidays are bounteous food,

and since food is Thanksgiving’s ladle,

“stuffing” it in is right and good.

But guts, not used to culinary monsoon,

will complain  in acute bilious state!

So out comes the pharmacy boon:

acid reducers’ to equilibrate stomach quakes.

And, when meds cure, come around noon,

we will perk up and forage for yummy dishes,

forgetting the discomfort of early morning hours

in the delight of second day annual wishes.

For who can resist the culinary power

that intensified leftovers to the palate make?

Only the monsoon will be a gentle shower

and dinner, a light noshing date.

I have post Thanksgiving Hangover.  The bloated feeling the someone has mistakenly thought I was a turkey and stuffed me until I am  overflowing; the uncontrolled regurgitation of last night’s  repast;  the acidic, slightly nauseous lethargy;  the sick wish that I could get rid of a little of it; the idea that drinking a cup of coffee is a torture device to a tummy grown sour and grumpy.  As an alcohol novice too often says to the toilet after the first binge:

“Why, oh why did I drink That Much?  DID I drink that much?  Boy it sure didn’t take a lot to make me THIS SICK!”

Just substitute the drink for eat, and you have my mantra for this morning, except I must add: “Why oh why did I eat that piece of pie when I was overfilled?”

It is a question that millions of persons will ask, perspiring with post- Thanksgiving gluttony, all morning long.  But my journey into wet burp illness is a little more complicated, as the  “bastardized”  famous quote in my title suggests.  I had TWO thanksgiving dinners, and not by choice.  I have the (mostly) good luck of living with my parents across the street and my in-laws about a mile away.

Yes, I hear the gasp of horror from some of you.

They are lovely, rarely interfere, and help out in a hundred different ways. But this Thanksgiving was tough in that my brother was at my mom’s and my brother-in-law was at my in-laws.  We rarely see either, one living in Iowa and one in Chicago.  Both wanted our attendance.  I asked for a combined dinner at my mom’s (who has the room for 20 persons, and is an excellent cook), but my in-laws were firm:

We Will Have Our Thanksgiving Feast At Our House

So we went from one dinner (my mom’s, and no dish can be forsaken without pangs of regret), scarfed it down, said “See you later”, then ran over to my in-laws (who had changed the dinner date and were done). By then, I couldn’t look at food but, feeling a little guilty, I was shanghaied into dessert.  I slowly stuffed some down,  with deep cleansing breaths, taking one for the polite team, and left as soon as it was not rude.  At the end of the binge, I simply crawled into bed, felt a little mis-used, and firmly told myself I will for now pick one or the other and not go through that again…….

And later, I re-lived my dinner over and over and over. And I don’t think I am alone, I am sure that millions over the country have family close, who will not get all together, leaving the peanut butters to jump from one side of the bread to the other.  So while I am thankful for my family, great food, good wine and (wishful) good health, I am wishing that one of my in-laws will leave the area next year.

So, surprise, my Thanksgiving rhyme is firmly themed around my post Thanksgiving tummy.  Smile, and WHO STOLE the TUMS?


Thankfulness from the Heart

We say we are thankful

when bellies are filled with food.

Then let the game score

fill us with “foulsome” moods.

But thankfulness from the heart

is not edited and thrown on the floor

It is about a gratitude in attitude,

and not changed by referee charts,

nor fizzled by gossip and spite,

nor smothered by mouths that are smart,

nor ruined by an unsavory mate.

For these above are really hidden hate!

True thankfulness is from a heart that is right.

Humbled by humanity’s suffering state;

Troubled by hunger’s sharp darts;

Eager to rejoice in bounty and replicate;

To give God the glory, to share and relate

that without keeping Jesus in sight,

thankfulness is dry dust on a dry plate……

The title to this post is from a verse in the Book of Psalms.  As part of Thanksgiving folklore, we are told that the Pilgrims, a devoutly harsh and depressing Christian sect, sat down with people they did not like (yes, not very Christian of them) and ate the harvest bounty.  Later this story was immortalized with an annual Thanksgiving holiday.  As with all holidays, most of the meaning dries up and is forgotten over the years, and the trappings that are associated are the real attraction.

Note to self: If I create a holiday, make it glittery and full of stuff people like to do or it will “go by the way of the Do-Do bird”.  Veteran’s Day is a good example.  Some people get the day off like banks and the government (but not Veterans…interesting…..) but otherwise it is not universally celebrated unless it means something personal to you because there are no goodies attached. This may sound mean and “scroogie”, but it isn’t my intention.  I am merely pointing out the foibles of human nature.

As a Christian, Thanksgiving is meant to be a harbinger of Christ’s birth: be thankful for His mercies and contemplate the blessing of His birth in the upcoming four weeks.  And I do, or I try to.  But what I have found is that the trappings of the holidays seduce me into celebrating the good food or awesome parties or secret Santa’s instead the simple meaning behind “we do what we do” during this time of year.  And frankly I am tired of all the glitter and gold.  My favorite holiday was one Christmas when I refused to do any of the stuff a good Christmas observer is supposed to do, and I sat at home, quietly, with a good fire and a warm cat on my lap, thanking God for the birth of Jesus, whatever part of the year that actually was.

Instead of feeling tired and burned out, I was refreshed and joyous.  And that is what a holiday should do to people.  I love the idea of Advent, where one gives less gifts to each other and gives more to charities.  While the thought of Advent puts fear into the heart of merchants, the money spent on a gift that will most likely be re-gifted, or broken, or returned (or many other unsavory and unintended verbs) is now used to improve a person’s situation.  And yes, some charities are not on the up and up, so choosing carefully is necessary.  But a gift of your time, whether it is to a church, charity, homeless shelter or hundreds of other worthy causes, is something that can’t be broken, lost, forged, stolen….and benefits all.