Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Follow the Leader: Episode 100: Thankful for Thanksgiving!

Martinex1: We have made it to our 100th Episode of Follow the Leader!  Who is the lucky commentator to get us started today?  And what will the fun-filled, action-packed topic be today?

Let's find out! Cheers all!


Anonymous said...

Thursday is Thanksgiving Day in the United States so what are your memories of this holiday? Obviously I have no Thanksgiving memories as we don't have Thanksgiving in Britain but I look forward to reading the comments :)

Edo Bosnar said...

First, I have to say that I always find it odd when Thanksgiving isn't the last Thursday in November (which is when I thought it was supposed to be for the longest time, rather than the fourth Thursday).

Otherwise, though, I don't really have any specific memories of the holiday; since my parents were immigrants, the holiday wasn't really a cultural tradition for them. We did have the big meal, with a giant turkey (which always home-grown, as my mom always had raised chickens, turkeys and, sometimes, ducks and geese), but that was about it. No relatives came over, and only my brother would watch some football (the American kind, obviously, of which I've never been a big fan). I enjoyed the day mainly because I could laze around and read comic books - and look forward to the fact that was what I'd be doing for the next three days as well...

Anthony said...

Interesting question Colin! Like you I'm in the UK so no Thanksgiving memories for me. I'm curious that it hasn't crossed the water. Watching it portrayed in numerous films felt a bit like looking through a shop window! I look forward to hearing from the guys (plus these weekly get-togethers are precious) :)

William said...

When I was a kid my favorite part of Thanksgiving was the four day weekend we got off school. I used to read of a lot comics on that little break. LOL

As for the day itself, there is of course the turkey, stuffing, potatoes and etc. My mom always makes this killer creamy fruit salad that is a real favorite for everyone. Other than eating, I remember going fishing with my dad a few times while my mom made dinner. (Hey, it was a different time). I'm in Florida so it rarely gets cold (or even cool) this time of year. It's like 80 degrees outside right now. But once in a blue moon a cold front would sneak down for Turkey Day and I always liked that. I remember throwing the football around outside one cold Thanksgiving Day with my two brothers-in-law and my nephews. That was fun. These days my wife and I go to my sisters (bearing fresh baked pies) and have a nice dinner with her family and my parents, and sometimes my wife's brother.

Now I will tell you about my Worst… Thanksgiving… Ever!! (Even worse than the Thanksgiving I spent in boot camp). I was about 10 years old at the time. My dad was a veterinarian and he was partners with another vet that was a good friend of his from college. Well, unfortunately though the guy's wife was pretty much crazy, and for some reason she was very jealous of my mother. Anyway, that year (when I was 10) my dad's partner (and his loony wife) invited us all over for Thanksgiving dinner (they had 4 kids of their own, btw), and the wife told us to be there sharply at 2:00pm. So, that is when we showed up. Well, when we get there the table is all cleared off, and she informs us that we are late and they have already eaten. (Whaaat?) When my parents ask what's going on, she proceeds to tell them that she had told us that dinner was at noon (not 2pm), and that that is the time she told us to be there. This was obviously a lie, and a premeditated (and cruel) plot to make my mother look stupid and to ruin the day for the rest of us.

To make matters worse, she rubbed it in by telling me and my sister that "it was too bad we didn't show up on time so we could have gone in the pool with her kids." They had a swimming pool, and we had brought our swim trunks (Florida you know), but her kids were just getting out of the pool when we got there, so we didn't get to go swimming. Then she goes into the kitchen and brings us out each one halfway cold plate of food (with no offer of seconds). Then they sat and watched us eat the saddest Thanksgiving dinner ever.

I mean, who the hell would do something like that? Who would invite someone over to their house for a holiday dinner, and then when they didn't arrive exactly on time just be like "Oh well, they're not here, let's eat." If she had sincerely told us to be there at noon, then why wouldn't she have at least tried to call when we didn't show up at that time? Because the lady was a total psycho, that's why. My parents were pretty furious afterward to say the least. And not long after that my dad and his partner had a big falling out, and my dad left to start his own clinic. Don't mean to tell a downer of a story, but in hindsight it was pretty funny in that crazy "can you believe that?" kind of way. (Forgive any typos please).

Mike Wilson said...

Well, I'm in Canada, so we already had our Thanksgiving (back in October); the two holidays are pretty similar, though ... mostly about devouring turkey and pumpkin pie until you can't move :)

Charlie Horse 47 said...

The “good:”

Unlike Christmas, there are no presents to exchange. This means the focus is on family and friends (and food) and that’s what makes it so special. That being said, though my extended family is still fairly traditional and does a fair amount of cooking from scratch, I see more families going out to eat, purchasing pre-made items, etc. which does reduce the joy this particular holiday brings me. I would much rather a home-made pumpkin pie!

Charlie Horse 47 said...

The “bad:”

My father’s mother had a general disdain for her children’s spouses because they took her babies away, lol. One Thanksgiving my Grandmother called my mother 4 times to ask what time dinner was. My mother finally said she should “maybe write down the time.” I believe my grandmother told my mother to “go to hell” and that began a 20 year cold war until my grandmother finally passed. There were many other casualties along the way, lol.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

The “ugly:”

My mother tried a new way of cooking the turkey: low temperature for a very long time. The bread stuffing never fully cooked and several of us had salmonella poisoning the next day. (75% of US poultry is infected with it. I had it the worst because I went “full piggy” on the stuffing, lol.)

The only “funny” part to this involved my two young cousins. They went skiing the next day and had on full-length zip-up bunny suits. Whilst on the slopes they had major and continuous “blow outs.” My uncle drove home 90 minutes with them totally zipped up. He daren’t unzip them unless he wanted his car to become an outhouse. Kind of like peeing in your wet suit when you scuba… kind of not???

Redartz said...

Wow Charlie, those are some images I'll have in my head forever; lol!

Most of our Thanksgiving celebrations were pretty traditional: watching the Macy's Thanksgiving day parade , big dinners and naps. Often when I was little we'd go out Black Friday shopping the day after.

A few notable Thanksgivings:

Age 14, we were travelling to a relative's house for dinner. I don't recall much about the meal, but remember bringing Amazing Spider-Man 141 to read along the way.

Age 42- my youngest son was in the band in his High School. That year his school was picked to perform in the Macy's Parade, so he got a trip to NYC. My wife went along and had the experience of a lifetime. I was stuck working (my employer was open on Thanksgiving), so I watched him on the TV. Missing that trip may be my biggest personal regret...

Just a few years ago, I was working a second job at Wal-Mart. On Thanksgiving we had to work, no call offs. My shift was in the evening starting their big pre- Black Friday sale. Had a literal wall of customers backed up behind my register. My heart goes out to all who have worked retail...

Martinex1 said...

Ha ha. Great stories all. Some holiday events that would seem appropriate for an outrageous film or book!

I love Thanksgiving. I find it to be a very enjoyable holiday to just hang out with the family, tell stories, reminisce, eat continuously, watch the Macy’s parade with the kids, and maybe a little football.

When young, my Grandparents lived in the house right next door. My Grandfather would cook a feast that was always scheduled to start around noon. But he would start cooking too early so around 9:30 or 10:00 AM he would flash his porch lights to signal us that the bird was done early so come on over! Great times!

My favorites are still two dishes - his sauerkraut and a cucumber salad with onions and sour cream. Thanksgiving is just not the same without them.

Humanbelly said...

Wow, Marti--- Thanksgiving feast at 9:30 a.m.-! That is a HOOT of an unconventional tradition!

Sorry to be so late meself, fellows-- INCREDIBLY busy past few days.

Biggest Thing We're Thankful For in this very immediate right-now moment? HB-Girl safely drove home from her college in Michigan today (600miles), and she, HBWife and I sat at the kitchen table for about 2-1/2 hours with/after dinner just chatting away and catching up and laughing and enjoying each others' company. Ah, I love my daughter, I do--- !

The lifetime Thanksgiving memories do seem to have some very distinct "phases"--

Most of early childhood: Going to Grandma's house in town, for a big meal and ruckus with our cousins & their folks who lived in Chicago. Generally a great fun time.

Late childhood through teens: More at home with the immediate family, BUT-- it almost always snowed, so we developed a regular Thanksgiving evening practice of playing snow-football out on the neighboring golf course. Cold, wet, exhausted--- worlds of fun!

College years: Ultimately made the choice to stay at school over the long holiday.

Grad School: Met the future HBWife-- we had a couple of "orphan"type Thanksgivings until we started going regularly to a dear friend/classmate's home in Delaware for the Holiday (and usually Christmas as well-). Unfortunately he passed away a very few years later, and the tradition was not continued w/ his wife. Incredibly complicated and sad tale.

Married with kids: Mostly home; mostly with an extended family member or two (or more) in attendance; several years of enjoying football (which I've since declined to continue watching--); LOTS of parade watching in the morning in the kitchen; and now in our second year of Vegan Thanksgiving prepared by HBGirl-!

It really has evolved over the decades--- and still remains something that we look forward to even as the practices and sentiments shift over time, yep.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Doggone Red... If I had to work "Black Friday" in retail I think I'd invest in a suit of armor! My heart goes out to you!

I'd forgotten about the ritual of watching the Macy's parade, though. Maybe we'll give it a whirl? Oh wait... I don't know if I subscribe to that TV channel since I use Sling TV via Roku via Internet, LOL. Times change... But I do make home-made Pumpkin pies!

Colin - I hope we are giving you some insights? Food, family, friends all the good/bad/otherwise that goes along with it! Do you UK guys have a fav holiday?

The Prowler said...

HB: I will say this about that; my youngest is also home from college. For her, it's roughly 540 miles but that's all in state. So there's that...

My Mother is one of eight. Seven girls, one boy. Growing up, everyone lived here, mostly. Holidays, Easter, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas, meant everyone getting together. Thanksgiving meant TURKEY!!! And lots of it. There were usually 2 or three baked, one smoked and a couple BBQ. Man, there was way too much food. The kids would make a first pass followed by the parents. Then we'd get shooed outside to play while they cleaned up. When we were younger, we'd play football. We'd play until someone got hurt or we got hungry again.

Then we would hit the leftovers for a second wave. Needless to say, yet I appear to be saying it anyways, there were little to no leftovers. Evening would be bowling or a movie.
Nowadays, we sit and talk and play board games.

A typical gathering was 50-60 people. There are more of us now as we've gotten married and started families. What keeps the gatherings small is we do Thanksgiving here and Christmas with the spouses' family or vice versa.

(It used to seem to me
That my life ran on too fast
And I had to take it slowly
Just to make the good parts last
But when you're born to run
It's so hard to just slow down
So don't be surprised to see me
Back in that bright part of town

I'll be back in the high life again
All the doors I closed one time will open up again
I'll be back in the high life again
All the eyes that watched me once will smile and take me in

And I'll drink and dance with one hand free
Let the world back into me
And on I'll be a sight to see
Back in the high life again

You used to be the best
To make life be life to me
And I hope that you're still out there
And you're like you used to be
We'll have ourselves a time
And we'll dance 'til the morning sun
And we'll let the good times come in
And we won't stop 'til we're done

We'll be back in the high life again
All the doors I closed one time will open up again
We'll be back in the high life again
All the eyes that watched us once will smile and take us in
And we'll drink and dance with one hand free
And have the world so easily
And oh we'll be a sight to see
Back in the high life again

We'll be back in the high life again
All the doors I closed one time will open up again
We'll be back in the high life again
All the eyes that watched us once will smile and take us in
And we'll drink and dance with one hand free
And have the world so easily
And oh we'll be a sight to see
Back in the high life again).

Edo Bosnar said...

Hope everyone in the States is enjoying the holiday.
I thought I'd pose a follow-up question to keep the discussion going. Since the topic of Black Friday has come up (and poor Robert even had to work on the holiday as a result), I'm curious about something: when did Black Friday become a thing? I don't just mean going shopping on the day after Thanksgiving, as I know that's been a tradition for ages, but the fact that there's these massive sales that compel people to camp out in front of stores, and then cause a stampede when the doors open, often with physical violence erupting.
I don't remember this at all when I was still living the US (I pretty much stopped living there permanently after 1992). I was born and raised on the west coast, and I honestly don't even recall hearing the term 'black friday' in all that time. I do recall my mom sometimes taking my sister, brother and me, and later just me, to do a little shopping on that day, this would have been the late 1970s and early 1980s, and there were never any particular crowds or hysteria. In fact, everything seemed pretty mellow - I actually think there were bigger crowds on the weekend, as lots of people were still recovering from their holiday feasts on Friday.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the comments - fascinating reading!

Charlie, I've certainly received some insights about Thanksgiving. All my knowledge of it comes from movies and TV shows but to me Thanksgiving seemed identical to Christmas - you explained the difference by saying: "Unlike Christmas there are no presents to exchange. This means the focus is on family and friends (and food) and that's what makes it so special".

Mike, I didn't know Canada had Thanksgiving - I do now!

On the subject of Black Friday - this event was imported into the UK just recently but so far it's quite civilized. There aren't any stampeding crowds desperate to get their hands on the bargains...yet.

Anonymous said...

Oops, I forgot to say Happy Thanksgiving!!

Anonymous said...

One more thing - I'VE NEVER TASTED PUMPKIN PIE. I search the shelves of my local supermarket in vain. This is very strange because other classic American foodstuffs are easily available - pizza, peanut butter, milkshake, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Coors beer...so why not pumpkin pie?

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Black Friday - (this is my Perry Mason moment!)

I think, living next to Chicago, that the "Day after Thanksgiving" as "always" been a "big" day for families to hit the "big" stores in the "big" cities. Lots of men (!) had that Friday off and took their families... Even in the 1960s I recall dutifully watching the news about the throngs of folks on Chicago's State Street, that Great Street, on Black Friday!

Here is my Perry Mason moment...

I suspect with the advent of 2-car families, suburbia, shopping malls... and then Walmart, divorce, and lots of low-wage jobs for single parents, and the big $ manufacturing middle class jobs got gutted, it became the "mad house" we think of now in the 1980s with ultra cheap stuff.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Pumpkin Pie Factoids!

The state I live in, Illinois (Not denial!) grows 95% of the pumpkins in the USA.

The pumpkins used are actually a squash, not a true pumpkin.

I grow my own pumpkins in my little garden and eat them. They taste like squash, but milder. My guess is that is why they are not used for industrial pie filling... you need too many to distill them down to a stronger flavor?

I make a lot of pumpkin pies from scratch (mostly)> My family loves it (truly)! I only use 25% of the sugar called for and I use brown, not white. And, the Trader-Joe's crust: all four and butter; no synthetics.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

I am thankful on Thanksgiving that Edo and others want to continue the "conversation!" I am thankful for curious folks like Colin asking questions and others answering!

Now lets all get some Turkey, mashed tatoes, pumpkin pie and pass out on the couch!!!

Redartz said...

Edo- I recall 'Black Friday' being a big day to hit the stores ever since I was little. But the first event of shopping craziness may have been in the early 80's with "Cabbage Patch Kids". That's the first time I remember when there arose a hysteria for a gift item resulting in wild searches and hand to hand battles...

Edo Bosnar said...

Funny, on the subject of pumpkin pie, I never even tried it until I was in my teens - when visiting someone else's house or something like that. As noted, my parents were immigrants, and pumpkin pie was just not something my mom knew how, or cared to make (trust me, she made tons of other great pastries and pies).
And I've eaten it more often in Croatia than I ever did back home in the US, because my partner learned how to make it out of curiosity - she had always heard about it, and when she found out I really knew virtually nothing about it even though I'm American, she saw it as a challenge. She found a recipe, found similar types of squashes at the farmer's markets here and just starting making them from scratch, crust and all.

Edo Bosnar said...

Red, I remember the Cabbage Patch craze quite well, but that was just limited to one product, and I usually recall the stories of parents literally getting into shoving matches and even fist fights in stores when trying to buy them were usually closer to Christmas.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

News Flash:

Red/ Marti - I tuned in to the Macy Parade (NBC) for the first time in decade or so. My daughter is watching a Country Singer, lol. I just want to see the huge floats!

Edo - I just found a huge Thursday Chicago Tribune newspaper in my driveway (I don't know why it is there). It has nearly zero news but has 2" thick of black friday ads!

Anonymous said...
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Humanbelly said...

Gooooooood morning and Happy (aforementioned) Black Friday, everyone!

I kinda felt like that unofficial shopping holiday has always gone by that name for as long as I could remember. . . and a quick wikipedia check bears that out. By the late 60's it was a pretty common phrase. The shopping frenzy that initiated it dates back to the FDR administration (!!!), after legislation was passed to pin Thanksgiving directly to the fourth Thursday in November.

DELIGHTFUL TGiving holiday in our little home, yesterday! HBGirl provided the entire meal from scratch--- a Vegan masterpiece.

HBSon and his delightful love joined us. . . and she brought her new banjo. . . and afterward we had an impromptu session playing Irish folk songs (her on banjo, Son on skin drum, meself on tenor guitar--- VERY easy chords, thank heaven!). Thankful for having such an extraordinarily talented and close family--- every day is Thanksgiving on that score, in fact.

Goin' to get the XMas tree in an hour or so!!!


Anonymous said...

Charlie, thanks for those pumpkin factoids. My local supermarket sells pumpkins at Halloween (a recent innovation) but at no other time of year. You mentioned mashed potatoes - I've currently got a packet of genuine American instant mashed potatoes from Idaho, in fact the brand is called "Idahoan, from America's Potato State".

Red, I remember watching a news item about Cabbage Patch Kids in late 1983 which showed American shoppers fighting each other to get the dolls - I recall one poor woman in tears because her Cabbage Patch doll had been snatched from her hands.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

(Dudes - keep the conversation going! It needn't be specific to comics!)

Colin - I just woke up to the 08:00 headline news on the radio and they are talking about Black Friday in the... UK??? Something about online e-queues 100,000 persons deep?

And, in my email today is Amazon Germany telling me its Black Friday (not Schwarze Freitag, lol!) though the rest is in German.

I am glad (not really) USA culture has something to offer (Halloween, Black Friday) beyond rock n roll, lol!

Regrettably I did the driving yesterday to my brother's house an hour away and thus could NOT indulge in a comic book, as in years past :(

Idaho is famous for potatoes and sheep. I do not know if they feed leftover potatoes to the sheep. Or if there is a dish called mashed sheep. But the big, brown Idaho spud has a lot of competition these days from the reds, and then all these little purple, gold, etc. organic ones that are wonderful! I think they are scouring Peru from the Andes to the Coast for new types to sell us as it is the origin of 1000s of varieties of spuds and corn!

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Comic Book Black Friday at Graham Crackers in Chicago-land! $2 for all current back issues! I am going to search for Archie! Great story line and my young-adult kids love it too!

I know... Archie may not seem very hip compared to Spidey but please don't tell anyone! This is between us!

Anonymous said...

Charlie, here in the UK there's a lot of concern about the damage online shopping is doing to real shops. Black Friday was supposed to be good news for shops because it would supposedly encourage people to spend actual money in actual shops. People are cutting back their spending anyway because of the uncertainty about the continuing Brexit fiasco.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Same here... soooo many retailers, big an small, have closed up... formerly thriving shopping corners are now totally abandoned... All took place in the last 2 - 3 years. But it's the strip malls that are dying not the down town of the villages b/c they finally learned to survive the destruction of shopping malls after 50 years.

Humanbelly said...

Yep, my daughter caught a business story that was predicting this will be the fourth consecutive Black Friday to show a significant drop in total gross revenue. It's just been such an egregious and ugly "event" that panders to some of the worst facets of human nature (specifically greed, envy, and selfishness--), that it's hard to find ANY true justification for it. In scary times, perhaps people are wising up to that fact a bit? Haven't done any shopping on this day since. . .well. .. probably never, ever.


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