Turkey Kill Zone (TKZ)

By Jordan Dane

It’s an excellent day NOT to be a turkey…or my pants. If I had been thinking, I would have stocked up on pajama jeans last year. Maybe I’ll correct that blunder on the most sacred day of the year – Black Friday. (For those who don’t know I come with a “prone to cynicism” warning label, I’m totally kidding.)

My sister Denise and her husband Chip are the brave souls who are hosting our family’s Thanksgiving dinner. So the first thing on my “What are you thankful for” list is that I’m not Chip and Denise. I dutifully made our family traditional recipe for Cranberry Chutney (Yummo) and made Dulce de Leche Cheescake bars for dessert – one of MANY we will have. (We all make desserts so none of us have to eat Dad’s undercooked pumpkin pies. Looooong story.)

I’ve been crashing on deadline, trying to get as much written before promo begins for my next release, Indigo Awakening, in December. But I am determined to take some time off to enjoy the holidays and replenish the creative well. If there is any “writerly” advice I can share today, it’s that you should embrace all people and things. Enjoy them as if you were a child seeing everything for the first time.

So here is my game plan to make the most of my time off with the people I love and laugh with every day:

1.) I will turn off my cell phone. (See Nancy Cohen’s excellent post yesterday on Cutting the Cord if you need an intervention.)

2.) I will spend a leisurely breakfast with my husband, John, and watch the Macy’s parade on TV with him. For whatever reason, he inherited a “parade” gene and I think it’s contagious.

3.) The minute I walk into Chip and Denise’s home I will thoroughly enjoy the amazing smells coming from the kitchen. They are making THREE turkeys. (Yes, it sucks three times as much being a turkey at their house.)

4.) I’m going to hug absolutely everyone I see and take my time doing it, including One-eyed Jack, her visually challenged pug that snorts when you squeeze him.

5.) My ears will be tuned into every story and my chuckle box will be fully engaged because if there is another year ‘round tradition in my family, it is laughter.

6.) In my family, we have designated BUZZARDS. These are the few, the proud, the first at the bird. I don’t know who started this (totally ME), but the movement has been passed down to future generations. My nieces and nephews have learned the fine art of swooping in for the choice pieces (without leaving fingers behind) while my dad and Chip slice the turkey. First strike earns you a bonus round and crispy skin is double points, especially if you add in a degree of difficulty.

7.) I WILL NOT, under any circumstances, eat my meal in under 30 minutes. What is up with the rush, people? It takes hours to make (days even) and we finish as if there is a race & there’s a prize for being first done. (Of course, if there IS a prize, forget what I said.)

8.) And an addendum to this pledge, I am extending these commitments to Saturday when my Dad is hosting a tailgate party for the Aggie game, a cabrito mexican dinner gorgefest. (It will suck to be a goat on Saturday. Spread the word.)

Okay, so that is my plan. What’s yours? How did you spend your day, TKZers? I’d love to hear your turkey day traditions and any family stories you’d like to share with your other online family.

And know that at the top of my list for things to be thankful for is YOU. Write on!

14 thoughts on “Turkey Kill Zone (TKZ)

  1. I’ll be off to boxing class first thing in the morning to pound the bag and work off some calories in prep for my yearly tradition of going to Cracker Barrel for T-Day Lunch.

    After that, I come home and make the round of calls to my family on the east coast to bridge the miles.

    BK Jackson

  2. Good morning, Jordan! Happy Thanksgiving Day to you. I have many things to be thankful for, one of them being your friendship. Thank you.

    I make Thanksgiving Dinner for my family. The first time that I did this was in 1994. I set the kitchen on fire. The hook and ladder came to the house (The Westerville, OH fire department has an AMAZING response time). The holiday has been mishap-free since.

    Today our main celebration is our granddaughter Samantha’s sixth birthday. But I’ll still make the traditional dinner.

    Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

  3. Good morning, Sweet Joseph. It does not surprise me that among your many talents, you are a Chef too. Neither does your tendency to setting things on fire. I hope Samantha has a lovely birthday and my best wishes to you and your family.

    I am very thankful for our friendship too.*cyber hug*

  4. Jordan, love your plans. The Aggie game and cabrito mentions make me think that there’s some south Texas connections there in your family. Have a great day (from a T-sip who has a bunch of Aggie in-laws).

    • I live in San Antonio, Richard. Moved back in 2009, but grew up here. I’ve also got Hispanic roots.

      I graduated UT-Dallas but we have lots of Aggies in our family. I’m converted.

      Hope you had a great holiday.

  5. You could always make a prize for First to Finish Dinner. Say, for example, the aforementioned pajama jeans. Especially if the winner gets to wear them the rest of the day. That just might slow the meal down.

    • Omg, what a great idea. Last year for Christmas, my nieces & nephs gave each other obnoxious personalized Snuggies. And we are foregoing traditional gifts for a White Elephant exchange. Should be hilarious.

  6. Happy Thanksgiving, Jordan and all.

    Growing up, my mother’s cooking was famous – for being terrible. But once a year she miraculously turned out an outstanding meal on Thanksgiving. Turkey, stuffed with real stuffing, the works. Having been adopted herself, family was everything to Mom. She believed in traditions, and she invented a new one every year. One year it was passing the turkey drumstick around the table so everyone could take a bite to inaugurate the meal. That lasted until I (the oldest of 5 kids) got married and my new wife balked at the drumstick her first Thanksgiving with my family. Mom never forgave her for that, a factor that contributed to our divorce 12 years later.

    To this day, I can’t stand the drumstick.

    I usually smoke the turkey on my trusty Weber grill each Thanksgiving. But this year, our 7 month old twin grandbabies will be here and I wanted to play with them rather than cook, so we ordered the whole meal from a local supermarket already cooked.

    It’s warming up now. And Grandpa is anxiously waiting for the girls to show up.


    • Ha! Great stories, Dave. Passing the drumstick is pretty funny, but our younger guys fight over them.

      You’ve got the right idea about making time for the grandbabies. You’re a good man.

  7. Happy thanksgiving all! I’m looking forward to celebrating as a family next year. This year we’re on different continents:) but not for too much longer.

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