At this year’s Thanksgiving, I got trumped. Trumped hard.
Our Thanksgiving dinner was simple. I made my favorite Ritz cracker chicken for the main dish. Nothing against turkey, but I’m a little intimated by cooking a bird that requires a special Butterball hotline for help.
The only time I helped make a Thanksgiving turkey was once back in college. My roommates and the guys upstairs pooled our Giant Eagle points together to snag a free bird for Thanksgiving.
We, of course, got the biggest turkey in the store.
The weekend before we were all to leave for the holiday break, we celebrated our own “Friendsgiving” way before that term was coined.
It was probably one of my most favorite college moments.
We watched that big bird bake for hours and hours. We also fought and argued on the correct way to baste that sucker for hours and hours.
While we waited, we played multiple games of Mexican Train dominoes. Playing dominoes with seasoned poker players makes you sharpen your logic skills very quickly.
My only request for Thanksgiving was for Mom to make real mashed potatoes. Sure the Bob Evans microwavable taters work great, but I wanted the fluffy hand mashed potatoes.
We won’t talk about the gravy because, well, there’s not much to talk about. Dad challenged me to a gravy-off, but I think I’ll stick to what I know how to do well.
My amazing grandmother Norma Jean joined us this year. I took the obligatory photo of her to post on Facebook for all friends and family to wish her a Happy Thanksgiving.
But I also took this photo during an intense game of Euchre. Folks, I’m not a good Euchre player. In fact, I’m sure they only allowed me to play because Shorty the dog couldn’t fill the empty chair and lacks thumbs.
My family is big into Euchre. That’s the family game that has been played for years and years.
For some reason, I can’t quite catch on, that is, until the last few hands. We got Jacks that are worth more than Aces and all sorts of silly rules.
Norma Jean tried for years and year to get me to learn how to play this game. Megan was always the better player, especially “bid” Euchre.
So Mom graciously allowed me to be her partner, except Norma Jean would help me figure out whether my hand was good or not.
This did not sit well with my dad. He’s a fierce euchre shark if there’s such a thing. He can mind read what is in everyone’s hand and in the deck with fairly accurate odds.
So he wasn’t pleased when she would look at my cards and show me know what to do. Yet, who can argue with Norma Jean? Exactly. She was only trying to help.
Well, the assistance quickly dried up with the game was all tied up.
During the two hours that we played, I took a break to snap the traditional Thanksgiving Norma Jean photo of her at the card table for my family on each coast.
She wasn’t smiling because the game was tied up.
In fact, the game was pretty much at a standstill, which we would report to the dog on how we all were doing.
“Shorty, there’s not much to smile about when it’s all tied up.”
Of course, she and Dad won the game around many rounds. I drowned my shame in Cool Whip and pumpkin pie. Of course, I had to let my cousins in New York know the score since they were all jealous they weren’t in on the play — and her pumpkin pie.
I guess I better stick to Go Fish.
“Twin” Melanie Yingst appears weekly in the Troy Daily News. You got know when to hold ‘em.