The best Thanksgiving dinner that I ever had was in a Ryan’s Steak House in Chatanooga, TN. Ryan’s is a buffet chain, like Bonanza and Western Sizzler. Lots of buffet tables, jello salads, cheap pasta dishes, and a guy at the end of the buffet with a big knife asking “Turkey or steak?”.
I wen’t with my roommate, Dwight. He had an abusive father and a family who didn’t help him escape that situation, so the “turkey day with the family” wasn’t an option for him.
I myself don’t typically celebrate Thanksgiving either, but we both felt kind of obligated to get out of the house and do something, so we took a trip to Ryan’s Buffet right as they where opening.
We brought a chessboard.
It was the best Thanksgiving meal I had ever had.
We ate ham and jello, played monstrous games of chess, and consumed as much sweet tea as humanly possible. I wouldn’t have tried it for all the tea in china (which presumably would be unsweetened).
My traditional holiday fair would be me and my folks going to Shoney’s Dinner for the evening. Mom would complain about sitting beneath the air vent so we would move, then she would fidget more and complain about being too close to the door so we would move again. Dad and I would rarely bother opening up a menu or sometimes even taking a seat until mom seemed completely settled in at a table she could approve of. Afterwards, we would usually drive to Columbia TN (30 miles away) and see a movie.
I don’t think I had had a fancy Thanksgiving meal between the ages of 14 to 25. In 2002 I had dinner with my friend Matt’s parents. Matt was an awesome dude, but had the weirdest parents you could imagine. They where very religious, right wing, conservatives…. that clung on to odd new age belief systems and only ate meat that they “hunted” themselves. For some religious reason they didn’t eat sugar, something meant to do with sugar raisers worshiping the devil. The turkey was fantastic, however the pumpkin pie was bitter and nasty. To make up for the lack of sugar, his parents sweetened the dessert with raisins. Raisins!
Tonight Shan and I went to dinner with her folks. We ate at a fancy restaurant in San Mateo. A martini, three hours, four courses and a few minor arguments later we left the joint and caught a movie. So, turkey in a restaurant followed by a movie.. my traditional Thanksgiving evening.
We saw Stranger than Fiction and I bawled my eyes out, I ain’t gonna lie. We’ll not really bawled, but I did cry, what a fantastic fucking movie. Especially after the slew of films I’ve been dissapointed with lately. Finally I can like that actress, Maggie-whats-her-name. Good times.