Thanksgiving (Part 1)

We had planned to hold Thanksgiving at our house this year, which would be a first for the new place, but it didn’t quite work out.  Our newlywed niece, K.T., was restricted from leaving the state of Kentucky by the rules and regs that her fresh-out-of-basic Army-recruit husband was bound by, so the rest of my wife’s local family decided to head to my sister-in-law Amber’s house in central KY.  And by `rest of the family,’ I include all our dogs as well.  It was a dog festival.

Amber and her husband Jim already have three dogs–an ancient and arthritic  black lab named Bailey, an enormous nearly two-year old bull mastiff named Thane, and a half-year-old beagle mix named Calamity Jane (C.J.).  K.T. also brought dogs, including C.J.’s male sibling Gunnar, and a boxer named Isis who was suffering from an unfortunate skin ailment, but was a beautiful and sweet dog despite it.  My mother-in-law was bringing her tiny dog Rascal (a.k.a. “P. Dabber”).  And we, of course, were bringing our three horse-monkeys one of which was in a raging heat.

With five male dogs in the house, at least two of which were packing fully functional junk, the wife and I knew this was going to be absolute chaos for us.  The two of us would have to be vigilant in order to keep Maya and her dog-cooter intact.  And, as we saw moments after we arrived, Thane and Bailey were definitely interested in her dog-cooter.  I had honestly been worried about Thane, as he’s huge, powerful and intimidating to behold.  However, Bailey seemed to be the one more readily interested in Maya, and Thane seemed to defer to him and continued to do so the entire weekend.  Jim assured us that Bailey was so old and infirm of joints, though, that it would be impossible for him to “make the climb up Mount Maya” as it were.  He said we would have no worries.  Perhaps not, we thought, but we had a backup plan and it involved tighty-whities.

Cujo in Hanes

Cujo in Hanes

Tighty-whitey briefs, you see, had been our solution back at the house to keep Maya’s in-heat status from leaving our floors a, to put it indelicately, Jackson Pollock blood-spatter painting.  We basically took pairs of Hanes medium briefs, cut holes for the tail, and then added panty-liners in the proper place to help insure a lack of “spotting” as it were.  The tighty-whities worked great and had the added bonus of being remarkably funny to see on the dog.  I mean, what isn’t funnier than a big ol’ St. Bernard wearing a pair of Hanes Y-fronts with a tail through the back?   I can tell you what’s NOT funny about it, though: having to take the damn things off every five minutes to let this dog go potty, not to mention the ordeal of putting these soiled-by-degrees dog-panties back on the dog afterward, that’s what.  We brought ten pairs with us to Amber’s house and enough panty-liners to last a month.  We kept Maya clad in them at all times, which worked to both block any escaping fluids, but also prevented intrusions by dog wieners.  Of course, we didn’t trust this method of contraception 100 percent, so we still kept an eye on her and, more to the point, Bailey–who had by then become lothario #1 in the household and was constantly on the make.

The other major chaos-inducing factor that EVERYBODY was trying to keep an eye out for was any doggy incursions into our Thanksgiving food.  There was, you see, something of an incident last year.

Thanksgiving 2012 was tasty, delicious and plentiful.  My wife, her mom and her sister spent a couple of days prepping for it, with all of our family’s Thanksgiving favorites in ample supply.  There were two turkeys, multiple cheesecakes, green bean and sweet potato casseroles, and the whole nine yards.  The meal was fantastic and the Thanksgiving sandwiches that followed the next day were the stuff of legend.  Unfortunately, I had to return home early because of rehearsals for a play.  Fortunately, that meant I missed out on what happened next.  See, the wife and her family spent much of the past 40 years in the state of Alaska.  As such, they have certain habits ingrained in them that we in most of the lower-48 just don’t–such as their penchant for using the out-of-doors as a refrigerator.   Took me a while to come to terms with this, because I still think keeping food outside where wandering animals and bugs can get into it is gross.  They, however, point out that when the temps are below 35 degrees at the sunniest part of the day and the actual refrigerator is packed to the bust-line with other food, it makes sense, so all the Thanksgiving leftovers were left-over on the patio table on Jim and Amber’s back deck.  On the afternoon of day two, after several people had munched on Thanksgiving sandwiches and I had departed, my mother-in-law started to get a bit peckish and went to the deck table to find some grub.  She couldn’t find any  turkey, there, so she went to look in the fridge inside.  Nope, no turkey there either.  She asked about it and was assured that the turkey was on the table, because several people had been into it throughout the morning.  Nope.  Neither the turkey that had been half-consumed at Thanksgiving, nor the whole second turkey were to be found.  Eventually it was noticed that there was a white plastic platter located at the far edge of the deck.  It had been one of the platters on which the turkey had been kept.  It was absolutely spotless with nary a bit of turkey grease to be found on it.  Quickly it was realized what had happened.  The dogs had eaten both turkeys.  And they’d left no evidence behind that turkey’s had even existed.  Every scrap of meat, skin, fat, and bone had vanished.  Subsequently, it was discovered that at least one of them had also consumed a whole cheesecake.

Some hours later,  the dogs began violently defecating and some of the previously missing evidence began to see light.  The seven hour car trip from KY to WV, as my wife can assure you, was a nightmare of dog-moaning from sore stomachs, bursts of liquified feces, and sudden poomergency stops on the side of I-64.

For this year, it was decided that all food that was to be left in the “outdoor” fridge was to be placed on top of a high cabinet.  An auxiliary refrigerator in the basement  helped out in freeing valuable space in the upstairs fridge, too.  However, Thanksgiving 2013 would prove to involve pretty much the same level of feces as 2012.  This time, unfortunately, I didn’t miss out on it.

(TO BE CONTINUED…)

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