To me, one of the greatest parts of Thanksgiving is what starts today. No, not Black Friday shopping—I refuse to participate in such madness. I made the mistake of facing the crowds at dawn once, years ago, and found myself clutching a Game Cube in a football hold, rushing toward the registers in a frantic rush to escape the feeding frenzy as quickly as possible, preferably with all of my limbs still attached.
No, today is the day we begin to consume the beautiful and succulent delicacy known as leftovers. Turkey sandwiches, soup, pot pie…and speaking of pie, we have pumpkin and sweet potato. Alas, I should stop before Ralphie from A Christmas Story sues me for copyright infringement, which brings up a story fans of this holiday classic will appreciate: our very own Bumpus Hound.
For those not familiar with A Christmas Story, first of all, stop reading and go watch the movie—right now! I’ll wait…
All right, just in case you don’t know about the Bumpus Hounds, and didn’t follow my instructions, I will give you a brief recap, though it will ruin my life-imitating-art story.
Ralphie’s family lives next door to the Bumpus family and, as Ralphie put it:
“Our hillbilly neighbors, the Bumpuses had over 785 smelly hound dogs, and they ignored every other human being on earth except my old man!”
On Christmas morning, the Bumpus Hounds come barreling into Ralphie’s kitchen, and devour the unprotected turkey, fresh from the oven and resting on the kitchen table. His mother screams; his father declares the family will be going out to eat. Cut to the Chinese restaurant and roast duck.
Which brings us to Thanksgiving, 2000. My husband and I were the proud owners of an eight month old black lab puppy named Karma (insert irony joke here). She was, of course, extremely interested in all the smells of deliciousness emanating from the kitchen on Thanksgiving Day. Every time I would take the turkey from the oven and baste it, she would be right by my side, sniffing joyfully.
This, dear reader, is called foreshadowing.
Dinner went off without a hitch, the turkey and all its trimmings enjoyed by all. As is typical, I made far more food than was needed, leaving us with a bounty of leftovers to enjoy.
On that fateful Friday, we went out for a while (for what purpose, I no longer recall. Perhaps the day has been blocked out as result of the ensuing trauma we endured). We came home in happy anticipation of tasty turkey sandwiches for lunch, but instead found ourselves in what we would later describe as KARMAGEDDON.
You can see where this is going.
Karma, our precious pooch, had made a discovery. She could open the refrigerator.
All of the turkey—the carcass was stripped bare.
All of the stuffing.
The mashed potatoes.
The sweet potatoes.
And the pies. Oh, the pies.
We found her lying on her side, her belly protruding in an obscenely convex manner, her groans of pain (or ecstasy? We’ll never know) greeting us at the door. It was a scene of horror and destruction: foil and storage containers strewn about as though struck by a hurricane, the refrigerator door swung open wide, its bare shelves taunting us, the dog in a heap on the kitchen floor, having eaten herself into a stupor, unable to even escape to the next room. The smell of Thanksgiving was in the air, but the contents of Thanksgiving were in her belly.
I’m pretty sure the dog recovered before we did.
It was with great sadness that we had to have our dear old Karma Doggy put down this year, unexpectedly.
I thought of you every time I basted the turkey, old girl. Thanks for the memories.