My favorite Thanksgiving ever was easily the one I shared in 2000 with my roommate Dwayne. I lived in Chattanooga at the time and most of my friends had big holiday plans, but even though Dwayne had local family, he had no intention of visiting them.
We decided to go to Ryan’s Steakhouse, a buffet chain in the style of Sizzler, for dinner. We got there early and stayed for about 4 hours, drinking sweet tea and eating jello salad. I brought a chess board and a copy of Knightmare Chess, a chess variant that involved Magic The Gathering style playing cards that altered the gameplay.
During one of our most exciting games, Dwayne played the “Doomsayer” card which states that the next player who mentions the name of a piece loses a piece of that type. The only exceptions being when a player says the “king” or when they say any pieces that they don’t currently have.
I waited a few moves before I picked up the ketchup bottle on the table and remarking “It’d be awesome to make a chess board out of ordinary condiments. The Ketcup bottle could be the king… and the salt shaker could be a rook…” Keep in mind I had already lost both my rooks. “…but what would this big hot sauce bottle be?”
Without missing a beat, Dwayne answered “A queen, obviously.” before he realized his mistake.
Taking his queen felt good, but I believe he still one.
After years of bullshit big dinners, this break from the “holidays” was everything I could have ever dreamed of. It was the best Thanksgiving ever!