To my Thanksgiving guests,

Martha Stewart will
not be dining with us this Thanksgiving. I'm telling you in advance, so
don't act surprised. Since Ms. Stewart won't be coming, I've made a few
small changes:

Our sidewalk will not be lined with homemade, paper bag luminaries. After a
trial run, it was decided that no matter how cleverly done, rows of flaming
lunch sacks do not have the desired welcoming effect.

The dining table will not be covered with expensive linens, fancy china or
crystal goblets. If possible, we will use dishes that match and everyone
will get a fork. Since this IS Thanksgiving, we will refrain from using the
plastic Peter Rabbit plate and the Santa napkins from last Christmas.

Our centerpiece will not be the tower of fresh fruit and flowers that I
promised. Instead we will be displaying a hedgehog-like
decoration hand-crafted from the finest construction paper. The artist
assures me it is a turkey.

We will be dining fashionably late. The children will entertain you while
you wait. I'm sure they will be happy to share every choice comment I have
made regarding Thanksgiving, pilgrims and the turkey hotline. Please
remember that most of these comments were made at 5:00 AM upon discovering
that the turkey was still hard enough to cut diamonds. As accompaniment to
the children's recital, I will play a recording of tribal drumming. If the
children should mention that I don't own a recording of tribal drumming, or
that tribal drumming sounds suspiciously like a frozen turkey in a clothes
dryer, ignore them. They are lying.

We toyed with the idea of ringing a dainty silver bell to announce the
start of our feast. In the end, we chose to keep our traditional method.
We've also decided against a formal seating arrangement. When the smoke
alarm sounds, please gather around the table and sit where you like. In the
spirit of harmony, we will ask the children to sit at a separate table. In a
separate room. Next door.

Now I know you have all seen pictures of one person carving a turkey in
front of a crowd of appreciative onlookers. This will not be happening at
our dinner. For safety reasons, the turkey will be carved in a private
ceremony. I stress "private" meaning: Do not, under any circumstances, enter
the kitchen to laugh at me. Do not send small, unsuspecting children to
check on my progress. I have an electric knife. The turkey is unarmed. It
stands to reason that I will eventually win. When I do, we will eat.

Before I forget, there is one last change. Instead of offering a choice
between 12 different scrumptious desserts, we will be serving the
traditional pumpkin pie, garnished with whipped cream and small
fingerprints. You will still have a choice: take it or leave it.

Martha Stewart will not be dining with us this Thanksgiving. She probably
won't come next year either.

I am thankful.

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