Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pumpkin Smashers and Ass Slapping

Thanksgiving has a history in my family as being a rather colorful occasion. I am sure that this is rather surprising to those of you who know me as I am rather quiet.  Bookish, really.  I'm sure you assumed that I come from a family of reserved intellectuals.  Actually, no.  I don't.  And this was in greater evidence when I was growing up back in Michigan.  We always had Thanksgiving at our house, probably because my mother had ten million relatives and we had the biggest house.  Irish Catholics.  Rabbits.  The thing that stands out the most in my mind about these occasions was my Grandfather.  He was a big, big guy with an even bigger personality.  He may have been the inspiration for the term "character".  Again, I realize that this may shock some of you.  But it's true.  Not a Thanksgiving would pass without good ol' Emmet slapping the turkey on the ass before it was carved and declaring it, "the best one ever, Rosie!".  I'm not sure if it was technically the turkey's ass, but whatever.  You slap food at the dinner table, in my book, it's an ass.  He had a propensity for not just mischief (he tripped our dog when he thought noone was looking and then looked all sheepish when we busted him) but for something known as the "Pumpkin Smasher".  I believe this was technically Seven and soda.  I don't really know for sure what it was as the only one that was allowed to make Papa's drinks was my dad.  Probably because he knew my dad gave a (very) friendly pour.  The story goes that the term "Pumpkin Smasher" originated from someone getting a phone call from a friendly peace officer stating that Papa and his car were in a pumpkin patch.  He became "lost" on his way home from our house one year.  Ahhhhhh.....those were the days.  When a man could take a short-cut through a pumpkin patch with impunity.  I don't know if this actually happened or if it's just family lore, but suffice to say it would not be surprising at all.  I miss Papa, who several years back had the good common sense to have a heart attack while making a cocktail for he and his new wife.  Dead before he hit the floor, they say.  Now THAT'S the way to go. Cheers, Papa......I'll slap that turkey on the ass for ya this year.

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