Copyright © 2014 Uncle Amon Books
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I am ten years old and I have no idea what my parents do for a living. I know that they are both very busy. They both wear nice suits and carry briefcases I’m not supposed to touch. They have two phones each and I can’t understand why. And while they talk on both phones at the same time they are also always typing on their laptops or swiping on their tablets. I’m not supposed to touch those either.
They get up very early and help me get ready for school and then they go to work. And then they come home and they keep working until they go to bed. On the weekends and on holidays they are still working, but they wear more comfortable clothes and no shoes. Sometimes when he says he’s working I catch my dad playing video games on his computer, but then he quickly switches the screen to something important looking and tells me to go to bed.
This year Mom stopped typing long enough to ask me if there’s anything special I’d like for Thanksgiving dinner. She said I could have anything I want. So I said, “If I could have anything in the whole world, I’d want to spend Thanksgiving with you and Dad.”
She said, “We always spend Thanksgiving together, dear. Every year since you’ve been born.”
“You spend it with your phones and your laptops,” I said. “Not with me.”
That made Mom sad, and then I felt bad for making her unhappy. But Mom said, “Nope. You’re absolutely right. We are going to do a completely unplugged Thanksgiving this year!”
I was excited but I also didn’t actually think it would happen. But when Thanksgiving Day came, our neighbor Mr. Benjamin knocked on the door. I asked Mom if he was joining us for dinner and she said, “No, honey. Mr. Benjamin has been kind enough to take custody of all of our phones and computers. Your father and I decided we can’t be trusted to not check email if we have these handy.”
So Mom handed over a big box of stuff to Mr. Benjamin. As she did, Dad said, “Wait! I can’t do it! What if China calls?”
But Mom can be very strict. She said, “There are a billion people in China, dear. Surely one of them can see to whatever it is for a day. We’re doing this for our daughter. Remember her?”
“Yes, yes, of course,” Dad said. “How could I ever forget the most important person in my life?”
And then Dad got kind of a sad look on his face and said, “Mr. Benjamin, do me another favor, please. Don’t bring the box back until Sunday.”
And that was how I got the best Thanksgiving ever. We cooked together and we played Scrabble and at night Dad even got out a guitar and we all sang songs we made up about Thanksgiving. I didn’t even know he could play guitar!
When my parents were tucking me into bed I said, “I’m thankful for the best parents in the world!
My Dad kissed me on the forehead and said, “No, honey. We’re the ones who should be thankful. It’s scary how easy it is to forget what really matters, and you reminded us. And we’ll do it all again tomorrow.”
I asked Dad, “What really matters?”
And he said, “You, of course.”
Turkey and stuffing and gravy are all pretty great, but I got to spend a whole weekend with my Mom and Dad, and nothing is as good as that.
It’s kind of funny, but I’ve learned that sometimes people can love each other very much and also not be able to spend more than an hour in the same room without trying to kill each other. I asked my dad if there was a word for that sort of thing, where you love someone but also kind of can’t stand them, and he said, “Of course there is. The word for that is family.”
My cousins and aunts and uncles only ever get together on Thanksgiving Day, and even one day a year seems like too much time. I asked my parents why people can’t just get along and be nice and mom said, “Family is hard. There are a lot of old wounds because people make lots of mistakes. And sometimes it’s hard to forget the bad things, even if you love someone.” Then she added, “And the special juice the grown-ups all drink doesn’t seem to help.”
But this year I told my parents it really bothers me when everyone fights. It’s super stressful and last year Aunt Addie broke a vase that I really liked when she threw it at Uncle Jack.
Mom didn’t wait even a moment after hearing I was upset. She said, “Well, monkey, if you don’t like it then we will fix it. And we’ll do it right away. It’s that simple.”
Dad said we shouldn’t make promises we can’t keep, because unless we cancel Thanksgiving we were never going to control our crazy family. But Mom said she had a secret weapon.
“What secret weapon?” Dad asked?
“Turkey!” Mom answered.
“Are you going to beat them all with the turkey?” Dad asked before adding, “Because I’m fine with that and it just might work.”
But Mom reminded Dad that violence doesn’t solve anything and that’s how the vase got broken in the first place. She said she had a better plan.
Everyone comes to our house to eat Thanksgiving dinner because my mom is a chef at a fancy restaurant and makes the best food in the world. When everyone had arrived this year she asked for everyone’s attention and made a little speech.
“We’re going to do things a little differently this year,” she said. “We’ve all been holding on to too many old problems for too long. So this is the Thanksgiving of Apologies!” She held up a very tiny plate that I think was actually a coaster. The plate had a very small cut of turkey on it. “We will gather around the table as always and you will each receive one bite of food for every apology you make to a family member for a mistake you have made. And you will receive one bite of food for every apology you accept. If you want to eat you better be ready to forgive some people!”
There was some hemming and hawing from the family members, but when mom brought out the food and they all smelled it, everyone decided it was an excellent plan after all.
For the rest of the evening everyone was true to his or her word. They all admitted mistakes and they all forgave one another. There was a lot of crying and hugging and it was pretty weird, but I’m pretty sure it was also great.
In the end everyone made up for years and years’ worth of mishaps, everyone apologized until they were stuffed! And I think we were all happier for it, not just today but every day from now on.
Dad made a toast at the end of dinner saying, “I’m thankful for my family. And especially for my seven-year-old daughter, who understands how we should behave better than all of us. I love you everyone!”
And everyone raised their glasses and said all at once, “We all love everyone!”
Later, when everyone had gone and I was helping Mom and Dad wash dishes I asked them, “Will it last? Will they still not fight next year?”
And Mom said, “Some of it will last and some of it will not. But we’ll keep trying to help one another and love one another, because that’s the real meaning of the word family.”
My dad hates to fly. He says there is no reason a piece of metal that weighs 400 tons should be able to soar through the air. He says it’s black magic and he wants no part of it.
But he also knows that I hate to be away from my grandparents on holidays. They live back east in Connecticut, where Dad grew up, and we live in California. Normally Dad flies them in for Thanksgiving and Christmas and they stay with us and tell us stories and everything is right with the world. But this October Nana broke her leg in a hiking accident. She said she was fine and Grandpa was taking good care of her, but she just couldn’t make the trip this year.
I told my Dad that I was okay with them not being around and I tried to be brave, but I think I did a bad job of it, because he said, “So I just decided we’re going to them!”
I said, “Does that mean we’re going to fly? I’ve always wanted to go on a plane!”
“Oh, heavens no,” he said. “Those things are black magic and there are peanuts everywhere. No. We’ll have a road trip. Just you and me, buddy! It’ll be fun! You should see this great country of ours anyway.”
So we loaded up the car and headed out on a five-day trip across the United States. Dad said he planned it specifically so that we’d see as many funny roadside attractions as possible. And boy did we!
We saw the World’s Largest Ball of Twine in Cawker City, Kansas! It weighs nine tons and is forty feet across!
We saw “The Shoe Tree,” in Middlegate, Nevada. That’s a tree with literally thousands of shoes dangling from its branches. It smelled kind of funny but it was weirdly pretty.
We visited the World’s Largest Pistachio Nut in Alamogordo, New Mexico. It’s thirty feet tall and looks just like a real nut! We also visited the gift shop next to the monument and dad bought us something called “Atomic Hot Chili Pistachio Brittle.” It was terrible and it burned my mouth, but for some reason I’m really glad we ate it. I guess because it was new and exciting, and something I could never try anywhere else.
We saw the World’s Largest Ketchup Bottle, the World’s Largest Ten Commandments, a replica of Stonehenge built out of Styrofoam, a life-size moose made out of 1,700 pounds of milk chocolate and a baseball that someone has been painting over and over since 1977! The ball now weighs over a thousand pounds and has had 20,000 coats of paint. And he’s still painting it!
When we finally made it to Nana and Grandpa’s house we had already had the best Thanksgiving ever! Nana said she and Grandpa took a trip like that with Dad when he was about my age and they’ve never forgotten it.
At dinner, when I was asked what I was thankful for this year I was so overwhelmed with thanks that I almost couldn’t put it into words. “I’m thankful to be with my grandparents,” I said. “It wouldn’t be a holiday without them. And I’m thankful that people do so many crazy things that we can see and touch and eat. I’m thankful the world is surprising, and I hope it keeps surprising me for my whole life. And mostly I’m thankful for my Dad. A lot of parents tell their kids that life is hard and mean, but my Dad teaches me that it’s amazing and beautiful and full of love.”
Life is tough sometimes, I know, but it’s also the best thing there is. And I am thankful for it every single day.
My mom is from a country called Canada. She has a funny accent; she watches ice hockey on TV and has lots of clothes with pretty red maple leaves on them.
Dad says that Canada is a made up place like Neverland or Narnia and it doesn’t really exist. When he says that Mom usually laughs and calls him a “hoser.” Once I asked my dad what a hoser was and he said, “Just a made up word from a made up land.” Then Mom hit him gently with a hockey stick.
Mom sometimes points out Canada on a map or a globe to us, but Dad always says he could just as easily point out Middle Earth or The Land of Oz on a map, but that doesn’t prove anything because anyone can draw a map.
So this year for Thanksgiving Mom took us to visit her parents in Canada. She took us partly because she loves her parents and doesn’t get to see them often enough, but mostly I think she did it to prove it was a real place.
Canada is beautiful! The air is crisp and clean, there’s snow everywhere, everything is written in both English and French and everyone is so nice! And Canadians all seem to have donuts with them at all times!
Grandma told us that in Canada they had already celebrated Thanksgiving on the second Monday of October, because everything is harvested earlier in The Great White North, which is what she calls Canada sometimes. But since she loves us she said they would celebrate again in November.
She told us the story of the first Canadian Thanksgiving, too. It’s totally different from ours. It doesn’t have anything to do with pilgrims or Native Americans up here. Instead, in Canada, they remember the time an explorer named Martin Frobisher set sail from England to make a settlement in Canada and collect gold ore!
The trip was long and very hard; they hit ice many times and suffered strange storms, which scattered the fleet. They even lost one of their ships. When they finally did land in Canada they had a feast of Thanksgiving to celebrate their safe arrival!
The settlement didn’t really work out in the long run, and when Sir Frobisher returned to England in the fall he brought back over a thousand tons of gold ore he and his men had mined. Or at least he brought back what he thought was gold ore. Once it was all melted down, they found out it was all a totally worthless mineral called iron pyrite, which is also known as “fools gold.”
But they had over a thousand tons of it now, so they used it to make some of the roads in England. So the streets of England were sort of paved with gold!
As grandma told us the story I was very thankful to learn such interesting new things in a whole new world that actually does exist, despite what Dad says when he’s kidding around with us. I was thankful Grandma shared her wisdom and her cooking with us. And I was thankful that we could just fly to Canada, instead of sailing there on an old boat. That sounds really hard.
I’m not supposed to pick favorite relatives. My Mom says that’s not nice to everyone else, but I can’t help it, Aunt Erin is my favorite! She’s beautiful and funny and she’s pretty weird, like me! We both like to sing in the shower and dance with stuffed animals and whenever she comes over she always brings ice cream! Ice cream is my all-time favorite food.
Aunt Erin just graduated from college a few months ago, and she says that someday she’ll be a famous painter, but for now she mostly works teaching art classes at night and driving a taxi during the day.
This year she got her first apartment all to herself and said she wanted to have everyone over for Thanksgiving dinner! She said she was a grown up now and wanted to show her appreciation for all my grandparents have done for her.
Grandma usually makes Thanksgiving, and some of us were a little worried because Aunt Erin has never actually cooked anything at all. But Erin said, “That’s what Google is for! All the information in the whole world is available at the touch of a button. Yesterday I learned how to fly fish without leaving my couch. Surely there’s something on there about cooking a turkey.”
Dad said that Erin is the best sister in the whole world and we should all be sure to eat a lot before we go over to her house.
I don’t see her as much as I would like because she’s so busy, so I asked if I could stay with her the night before and help make dinner. I’m only eleven years old, but I help Mom and Dad in the kitchen all the time. Aunt Erin loves me so she said of course I could come. We stayed up almost all night watching cartoons and eating junk food.
The next day she got up really early and somehow managed to ruin every single dish.
When the turkey came out it smelled like melted plastic. Erin screamed and I asked her if she had removed the bag of giblets before she baked it.
Erin said, “No! What? Ew! Why would they leave that in there in the first place?”
I told her I had no idea but they always do.
She bought canned cranberry sauce like always, but she got it at a discount grocery store and when she poured it out, instead of being a jelly like usual, it was just a weird red slime. This time Erin just said, “What!?!”
I looked at the expiration date and found it had gone bad more than nine years ago, when I was two!
The pumpkin pie was somehow burned black on the outside but still made of ice on the inside. “This is a miracle of physics!” Erin shouted as she threw it out the window where even the pigeons wouldn’t eat it.
Erin doesn’t like green beans so for some reason she tried to make a green bean casserole using Twizzlers. Twizzlers aren’t a vegetable, they aren’t even green, but Erin said it all made sense in her head and I just had to trust her. It did not work out.
So with basically everything ruined beyond saving and the rest of family set to arrive any minute, Erin threw everything away, ran to the store and came back with dozens and dozens of cartons of ice cream, with brownies and pie and candies and fruits.
She set up the most elaborate ice cream bar ever and when everyone got there she said, “Dessert is always the best part anyway! Why not just skip ahead?”
Everyone laughed and then we all pigged out on sweets until our tummies ached.
Afterward Aunt Erin said, “I’m thankful to all of you for coming, I’m thankful you didn’t make fun of me too much. And, honestly, I’m thankful that I’m not really a grown up. Not yet.”
I hope she never grows up, and I hope I never grow up either. It’s way more fun this way!
~ ~ ~
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Q: Why did the turkey cross the road?
A: To prove that he wasn’t a chicken!
Q: What did the turkey say to the turkey hunter?
A: Quack! Quack!
Q: What do you get when you cross a turkey and an octopus?
A: Enough drumsticks to feed an army!
Q: Which country does not celebrate Thanksgiving?
Q: What do snowmen eat for Thanksgiving?
Q: Why did the pilgrim’s pants keep falling off?
A: Because they wore their belt buckle on their hats!
Q: Where did the pilgrims land when they came to America?
A: On their feet!
Q: What is the Pilgrim’s favorite dance?
A: The Plymouth Rock!
Q: What do vampires put on their turkey?
Q: Spell Indian house with two letters.
Q: Who is never hungry at Thanksgiving?
A: The turkey because he is always stuffed!
Q: How do we know the Indians were the first people in North America?
A: They had reservations!
Q: Why did the Pilgrims eat turkey on Thanksgiving?
A: They couldn’t get a bear in the oven!
Q: If April showers bring May flowers, what brought the Pilgrims?
A: Ships. Duh!
Q: Why did the Pilgrims create Thanksgiving?
A: They needed another excuse to watch football!
Q: What bird has wings but cannot fly?
A: Roasted turkey!
Q: What did the monster say to the Thanksgiving turkey?
A: Pleased to eat you!
Q: Did you hear about the confused turkey?
A: He was looking forward to Thanksgiving!
Q: What’s brown and white and flies all over?
A: A Thanksgiving turkey when you carve it with a chain saw!
Q: What did the general do on Thanksgiving?
A: He gave tanks!
Q: What do you get when you cross a monster with a Thanksgiving dessert?
A: Bumpkin pie!
Q: Why did the monster get a ticket at Thanksgiving dinner?
A: He was exceeded the feed limit!
Q: Why was the Thanksgiving soup worth so much?
A: It was made from 24 carrots!
Q: Why did the Pilgrims want to come to America in the spring?
A: It was rumored that April showers bring Mayflowers!
Q: Why was the turkey arrested?
A: He was convicted of fowl play!
Q: How do you stuff a turkey?
A: Take him to a buffet!
Q: What’s the best thing to put into an apple pie?
A: Your teeth!
Q: What kind of key can’t unlock a door?
A: A turkey!
Q: What smells really good at Thanksgiving?
A: Your nose!
Q: What part of the turkey has the most feathers?
A: The outside!
Q: How does Thanksgiving always end?
A: With a G!
Q: What is a pumpkin’s favorite activity?
A: Playing squash!
Q: What is blue and has lots of feathers?
A: A turkey holding its breath!
Q: What was the turkey’s favorite dessert?
A: Blueberry gobbler!
Phil up another plate and eat seconds!
Don eat all the turkey! I want another piece!
Arthur any Thanksgiving leftovers?
Aren’t you Gladys Thanksgiving?!
Dewey we have to keep waiting to eat?
Luke at all this amazing food!
Harry up! It’s time to eat!
Can you find your way through the maze?
Can you find your way through the maze?
Can you find your way through the maze?
Can you find your way through the maze?
All rights reserved. This book is a work of fiction. No part of this book or this book as a whole may be used, reproduced, or transmitted in any form or means without written permission from the publisher.
Cute Thanksgiving Stories & Jokes for Kids! Happy Thanksgiving! Your child will enjoy this cute Thanksgiving book full of fun stories and Thanksgiving jokes. This is an excellent read for early and beginning readers. Learn values and morals from these cute stories. What are you thankful for? These stories are great for quick bedtime stories and cute tales to be read aloud with friends and family! -Excellent for early and beginning readers -Great for reading aloud with friends and family -Thanksgiving stories and adventures about Thanksgiving -Funny and Hilarious Thanksgiving jokes & illustrations for kids -Thanksgiving activity included for kids to show gratitude and be thankful This book is especially great for traveling, waiting rooms, and reading aloud at home. This children's Thanksgiving ebook is full of delightful stories that share the special message of Thanksgiving - BEING THANKFUL. Story List & Activities: -Thanksgiving Unplugged -Thanksgiving Family Feud -Roadside Thanksgiving -Canadian Thanksgiving -A Very Grown Up Thanksgiving -Thanksgiving Jokes Scroll up and click 'buy' to and spend some quality time with your child!