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Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Mashed Potato Massacre

Large gatherings of my family tend to get loud, mildly inappropriate, and highly entertaining. In high school, Easter celebrations at Grandma’s meant fashion shows created with the ridiculously dated collection of clothes stored in her basement. When my parents lived in Maine, Christmas morning was calm and at home, however, by lunchtime we were with my cousins and the real fun began.

This Thanksgiving happened to be the first hosted by my aunt and uncle. Just by the numbers, hilarity was guaranteed: 16 (supposed) adults, 2 children, 3 dogs, and 11 pies. Our feasts’ table was actually three tables pushed together, spanning two rooms. From the moment we began setting the table, jokes were made about using cell phones to ask for items from the other end.

The truly memorable moment, however, came as the meal was beginning to wind down. At one end of the table, my cousin Dan asked for the mashed potatoes. Despite repeated offers of gravy, he wanted only the mashed potato. A minute or so later, I glanced down and saw him packing a mashed potato ball. He slowly stood and wound up like a major league pitcher.

The mashed potato ball whizzed past everyone’s noses. Splat! It hit Uncle Dave on the forehead, spraying potato. Laughter eruption occurred at the lengths needed to produce both stomach aches and tears.

As the laughter began to die down, Dan turned to his brothers and said “alright, pay up!” He earned $14 for the thrown and an additional $5 for successfully hitting his father’s forehead.

So many family holidays run together, fun and boisterous, but without anything to set it apart from those before and afterwards. It is safe to say, however, Turkey Day 2007 and the potatoball story will be retold for years to come.

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