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Thu, April 18

Around the Bluhmin’ Town column: Thanksgiving is more than the big bird

How is your Thanksgiving shaping up? I hope delicious and restful. I had a surreal experience because I mentioned I might not be cooking a turkey. It set off a chain reaction that went from California to Ohio and bounced back to Arizona.

Oh yea, the world is getting smaller. I told a grandson in California that I wasn’t cooking a turkey, who then texted his brother in Prescott, who called me to see if I was ill, who then told his mother (my daughter) who called my mother in Ohio, who phoned my brother, who later emailed to “see what was wrong.”

Yikes! Relax everyone ... I was just making a menu change, not jumping off of a bridge! I love Thanksgiving!

Last year, we went to a daughter’s house for Thanksgiving. My husband, Doug, thought it was a brilliant strategy. For the first time in over 35 years we did not make Thanksgiving dinner. It was so relaxing and scrumptious that, after the feast, Doug said it was the only time since he met me that he wasn’t peeling enough potatoes to feed an army and standing over a hot sink afterward doing clean-up.

Okay, so maybe he was being a bit harsh, but the point was well-taken. We were guests and acted like guests. Arrived late, ate well and left early. (Hey, only kidding!). But it did feel like “freedom” not worrying about a dinner for 10 or 12. I think I could get used to this! Like again this year. I just realized that when I suggested a goose or roast pork for Thanksgiving, my daughter offered to have the dinner. With turkey, of course.

My girlfriend says that when you stop making “the big meals” you have admitted to “being elderly.” I am admitting no such thing! Ridiculous! Just because I skipped a year doesn’t mean I am ready to throw in the old kitchen towel!

A lady in Prescott emailed to say that she cried the first time she went to her daughter’s house for the holiday meal because the torch had been passed. An irate reader sent me a nasty email stating, “You obviously don’t like American holidays and must be a liberal for not cooking a turkey.” And a colleague told me that those are “fighting words” to suggest “giving up” on a turkey dinner. (Hey, not the dinner ... just the bird!) People relax!

Did you know that 86 percent of all American families eat turkey on Thanksgiving? Okay, so we love the big bird and also our tradition of shopping. About 100 million Americans go shopping on Black Friday. Oh, and of all the shoppers, an estimated 12 percent of them will be intoxicated! Yes, no wonder Black Friday is a day of shoving and all manner of weird behavior.

One lady (nut case) in Los Angeles was arrested for running through a crowded store and sticking other customers with a long straight pin if they were in her way! People were screaming and running for their lives! It can be downright dangerous shopping. And in a mall in Phoenix a fist fight broke out over a parking space ... between two women!

My girlfriend wanted me to go shopping with her on Black Friday so “we can get in the holiday spirit.” When I mentioned I’d rather drink a spirit and decorate the house, she claimed, I am “missing out on one life’s great adventures.” I suppose. But I cannot walk around a crowded store looking for “perfect gifts” for hours on end with thousands of people (well, it feels that way) and trying to find bargains. Oh, ye of little faith ... but “perfection” cannot be found at a store! Perhaps on Amazon ... but never in a crowded mall.

I did witness a sense of holiday wonder at a grocery store this past week. No, not a “Black Friday” sale, but something more priceless.

I was checking out at a local grocer and the bagger was a young man with Down Syndrome. While he was packing my groceries, he must have said “gobble, gobble, gobble” a dozen times. The woman in line behind me rolled her eyes and muttered in a low tone, “I’d go crazy listening to this.” The friendly cashier who was ringing me up just smiled at the young man and said, “He loves the holidays and loves to say ‘gobble, gobble.’ And next week he will say, ‘ho, ho, ho.’ All day long.” For hours this woman listened to the word “gobble” repeated over and over, and instead of being annoyed, she showed grace and kindness. The spirit of Thanksgiving is all around us!

Yes, Dear Readers, the holidays are coming! We are all shopping, baking, planning, decorating, traveling, gathering and getting ready for what lies ahead. Yet, one truth remains: joy is not found in the “bird” that we cook (or don’t), but in the “gobble, gobble, gobble” that we share with others.

Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local realtor. Have a comment or a story? Email Judy at


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