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Happy Thanksgiving, Southern style
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It seems the Christmas holidays arrive a little earlier every year, thanks in part to retailers pushing to get every sale they can. This year we saw Christmas decorations out well before Halloween and a few communities have already put up Christmas decorations and turned on their Christmas lights. 

But at our house, we’re not rushing anything. I’m looking forward to just spending Thanksgiving Day with my family, even if they are a little “odd.” They may put the ‘d’ in dysfunctional, bless their little hearts, but I love them and wouldn’t trade them for anything. I have to hand it to them ‘cause anytime we get together, it’s guaranteed to be fun. 

Years ago, we might have been considered oddballs but thanks to Jeff Foxworthy and his Blue Collar Comedy partners, we are now considered “normal” like the rest of the world. Foxworthy showed Americans that being a redneck was nothing to be ashamed of, but to be proud of who we are. Rednecks everywhere “came out of the closet” in droves and held their heads high and proud. 

Of course Thanksgiving Day will start bright and early with yours truly finishing up the last minute details while Sweet Pea handles the turkey cooking. Bless his heart, he can’t cook much unless it’s swimming in grease, so when we got a turkey fryer a few years ago, you would have thought he’d died and gone to heaven. The real secret in making a man happy is to giving him a grill and the proper utensils and putting him in charge of dinner. Now he might mess up the first few times but once he gets the hang of it, you better watch out. That’s what happened to Sweet Pea and he ain’t been the same since, bless his little heart. When Sweet Pea cooks dinner, you never know what’s on the menu cause he’ll grill or fry just about anything he finds and nothing is safe with him in charge.  He takes great pride in showing off his deep fried turkeys.

I’ll let you in on another little secret about deep frying turkeys. My favorite country music singer, Tracy Lawrence, has taken part in assisting the Salvation Army in preparing Thanksgiving dinner to feed the needy and homeless in the Nashville area for the last several years. With donations and support from other artists, businesses and the community, he and his helpers begin deep frying turkeys from well before daybreak and all day until the last one is served. Tracy began frying turkeys for friends and neighbors several years prior to taking on this annual mission and admitted that one year he forgot to put the turkeys out to thaw properly, but you might say the redneck in him saved the day. He came up with an ingenious way to thaw the turkeys by tossing them in his hot tub, then frying them and proudly presenting his gift to his unsuspecting friends and neighbors.

Maybe my daughter knows something I don’t because she gave me the third degree when she found out turkey would indeed be on the Thanksgiving menu. It didn’t seem to matter to her that it was white meat, which is tastier and better for you. She may be grown with views and ideas of her own, but you would think she’d been abducted and brainwashed by aliens because she certainly wasn’t raised that way. She was mortified to think that some poor turkey gave his life and, it being the main course of our Thanksgiving meal, I had a hand in its demise. Luckily for her, Sweet Pea and her big brother are not into hunting and bringing their game home for meals. I shudder to think of the possible ramifications that could have on her both mentally and emotionally.  

One whiff of dressing and all the other trimmings and Miss Priss will be just fine. And then the real fun starts. Now where I come from, after lunch is over and we’ve cleaned up, the men head back to the kitchen, but not for a second helping or for deserts. There’s a reason we always have a plentiful supply of red Dixie cups and paper towels or napkins at every Parker family get together and it’s all about the men. All the Parker men seem to have inherited certain habits and one is this desire that defines a true, Southern redneck—chewing, dipping or spitting. 

Now we don’t believe in just sitting around getting happily stuffed and lazy after our meals. There’s usually some type of physical activity going on, horseshoe toss, a softball or football game going on, but only for those willing to part with their chaw. Taking part in certain physical activities with a fresh wad of chew can create unpleasant side effects, especially if you’re caught off guard. There is a reason they put those warning labels on tobacco products but to rednecks, they know there’s more to it than possible long term effects. 

May you all have a wonderfully blessed Thanksgiving, however you choose to celebrate.


Beth Rowe may be reached at