River City Jules: A Thanksgiving to beat all?

I will be the first to admit, if not flat-out brag, that my brother-in-law’s Thanksgiving turkey is the most delectable, savory food ever to hit one’s taste buds.

It’s a festival of flavor that leaves our family grateful that my sister had the good sense to marry this man.

Outstanding and magical, but is it better than a trip to Maui?

That is the question I posed to our children while planning this year’s feast. My husband’s parents invited us to Scottsdale, Ariz., for Thanksgiving this year, where the temperature will hover around 75 degrees and we could double up on vitamin D along with vitamin P (pie). The kids could swim, hike and indulge in the kind of spoiling for five straight days only grandparents can provide.

As an added bonus they would be spared my traditional day after Thanksgiving decking of the halls, where I lure them into decorating the Christmas tree with promises of glad tidings that more closely resemble those of some sort of unskilled labor camp.

But they would hear nothing of the warm, work-free days in sunny Arizona.

“You mean we’d miss Chris’ turkey?” Amelia asked on behalf of her siblings. I nodded, bracing for her reply. “No, let’s stay home.”

“They have turkey in Arizona,” my husband chimed in.

“And Chris will make one for us all another time,” I added, which I’m sure he would appreciate.

“No!” said the collective crew of kids.

“It wouldn’t be the same,” their leader explained.

I could have left it there, but an offer sits on next year’s buffet table that I could not resist mentioning.

“You know, KU is playing in the Maui Classic next year,” I slowly started, “What would you all think about a trip to Hawaii?”

I looked across the table at my husband who was visibly calculating the cost of a six-person trip to Hawaii vs. our typical Thanksgiving budget of a bottle of wine, a five-pound bag of potatoes and a gluten-free pumpkin pie.

“We’ll have enough miles for most of our tickets by then,” I threw in to disarm him.

But our kids were not buying in yet.

“When is it?” Amelia asked.

“Thanksgiving weekend,” I answered. “Thanksgiving in Hawaii … on a beach … with KU basketball. Other families will be there, too. It will be just like Oklahoma City last March, only warmer and prettier and no K-State fans.”

It was the best sales pitch I could give.

“And miss Chris’ turkey?” she prodded.

I closed my eyes and drew a breath. “We would have Thanksgiving with everyone another time,” I promised.

“No!” they pleaded in near unison, “You can’t do that to us!”

How on earth I gave birth to four kids who would pass up a trip to Hawaii for a turkey is beyond me. But that is still a year away. Until then I will count their simplicity among my blessings and wish you the blessing of simplicity this week, too.


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