So it’s another Thanksgiving here and gone, and another Thanksgiving I didn’t spend with my family at home. I’m not gonna lie: I missed everyone and all the great food, but I think I missed it all a little less than I did last year and the year before. This is the second year that me and Joyce have gone to Adam and Allan’s for Thanksgiving dinner, so we’ve got a little bit of a tradition going there, which is good. And Adam and Allan’s was a whole lot less fucked up this year than it was last year, so I came home feeling a lot better than I did after all the craziness with Adam’s lococass sister and that scary lesbian named Frank.
And things at home weren’t exactly the way they’ve always been back, either. Elizabeth didn’t come down to Tennessee with her daughter (I reckon they settled on being pity invites up where they live in Virginia), and Melanie Kate and Jared and my nephews went to Jared’s parents this year. I know they stopped by our house for a piece of Meemaw’s pies, but it’s not the same as having them there for dinner…and watching football with Jared. Cordelia was missing as well, although she sprang the news on my parents at the last minute. I reckon she’s at an age where she can’t help making drama. And I reckon it’s not such a bad thing that she went with her boyfriend to work at a homeless shelter in Knoxville and help cook and serve Thanksgiving dinner. It’s just that her boyfriend likes to call himself a communist…and a muslim…and that doesn’t exactly go over too well with Dad.
So, hard as it is to believe, it was just Portia, Mom, Dad and Meemaw this year. Meemaw said it wasn’t worth baking all those pies for…although she baked ‘em anyway.
Thanksgiving Day for me means turkey bowl first and then dinner, and this year was no exception. Although it almost was. It rained all night Wednesday and most of the day Thursday. So much so that I got a call while I was still asleep from Ross, the dude in charge of the San Marino Turkey Bowl, asking if I was still in, even with the rain. I was still half asleep, but my answer was “fuck yeah!” – football in the rain may not sound like fun, but, believe me, it is.
A few of the California guys who were set to play didn’t like the idea of rain and mud, so they opted out, but Ross was able to get some emergency replacements, so we were 9 to a side. You can have a pretty good informal game of football that way, although the San Marino turkey bowl isn’t that informal. They have velcro flags, a real referee, a real field…and go in from some real blocking. There’s plenty of lameass touch football turkey bowls played on Thanksgiving morning; this is the only time I play football anymore, so I don’t mind it if the game’s a little more serious than that.
Me and Keaton first got invited to play two years ago. Our rightfielder Trey was responsible for getting us involved. He grew up in San Marino and played football in high school, and he’s been part of the turkey bowl since before he graduated. Trey’s a big guy (6’3” and 230), so he probably didn’t have any trouble playing against adults back then.
Trey was down to play in the rain, so we had him, Travis, a couple guys home for the holiday from the fancyass colleges they were going to back East, then me and Keaton, and some of the guys around my age from last year. The bad weather ringers were closer to Keaton’s age…and looked like they hadn’t played football in a while…but were dying to play now. If we’d been expecting them to be timid and scared of getting dirty, dang were we wrong. They weren’t the best players on the field, but they sure were enthusiastic lol.
And what about the jerkoff who’s fucked with me two years running? Was he there too?
Of course. Looking even trollier and jerkoffier.
“Back for more, pretty boy?,” was the first thing out of his mouth. Y’all know that getting called pretty boy gets real tired real fast with me, and this dude has now been doing it three years running. We get it. I really am beginning to think that Keaton was right when he said the jerkoff was jealous of my looks. The thing I really didn’t understand was the “back for more” part. It was him who got the worst of it for fucking with me last year. Just look up last year’s Thanksgiving blog if you don’t remember.
I had every plan to make sure that he got the worst of it this year too. There was plenty of mud to grind the motherfucker into if he messed with me again. Ok, I’ll admit it…I wasn’t planning to wait for an excuse this year.
“Just take the motherfucker out first chance you get, bubba,” Keaton said, walking up to me. “Seems to be the rules of the game. The honor of pretty boys around the world depends on you.”
“Watch it,” I said. “I seem to remember knocking your ass down last year too.”
It was in the 50s, which is dang cold for Southern California. I was in jeans and an old sweatshirt over a tshirt, just in case I got warm enough to want to start taking layers off. I always keep a pair of shoes for touch football in the back of the closet, which was a dang good thing this year. Tennis shoes would have had me slipsliding all over the place. Everyone else had something like the right shoes too, including Keaton, leftover from when he played in a touch football league in Alaska
Most of us couldn’t wait to get started. When we picked teams, Keaton and I ended up on the same side, but the jerkoff was on the other team, which was gonna make it easier to fuck with him. The weather was bad and conditions were muddy enough for me to get away with just about anything…and most of the guys playing knew that the pretty boy and the troll had a history.
It could have been the most fun turkey bowl I ever played in…although it wasn’t the most serious football I’ve ever played. Basically the fun of playing in the rain is that you don’t give a shit how wet and dirty you get, so you just go for it. Which we did. I played quarterback again, and got sacked a few times (you’d think Keaton would have anchored a better O-line), but guys were getting knocked down all over the field. It was probably the roughest San Marino Turkey Bowl in history, but nobody was complaining. Ross even gave up calling roughness penalties…or we’d have been there until way past our dinner times. I gave up the quarterback slot a few times so I could get in some Block blocks…the only complaint I had there is that me and Keaton were on the same team so I couldn’t hit him with one. On the other hand, he caught some decent passes of mine and scored a pair of touchdowns that way.
And what about the jerkoff, y’all may wonder? I took Keaton’s advice and didn’t bother waiting for him to pull some kind of shit. I took him down pretty much every time I got near him…and he was pretty soaked through with mud by the time we were done. Yeah, fine, he sacked the fuck outta me one time too, like he did last year, but the pretty boy pretty much wiped the floor with the troll this year. I was surprised, but he even let me help him up the last time I got him. He didn’t say anything (not even “way to go, pretty boy”), but, by his standards, that was pretty sportsmanlike.
Travis was playing too, so I kept an eye on him. I know it’s been a while since he was in that place they had him, but I still like to make sure he’s doing ok. He was on the other team, and, at first, didn’t look too sure about the playing in the rain thing. Then he got soaked the first time he landed on his ass and after that he was totally into it. He even took me down once, which he thought was hilarious. I just hope he thought it was as hilarious when I got him back later on in the game. (He did…although what his overprotective parents thought when they saw him get home covered in mud from head to toe is another story.)
So the first part of Thanksgiving was pretty awesome. Best time I’ve had yet playing in San Marino, although, like I said, it wasn’t exactly the most serious football I’ve ever played. Our team did win, though…but it should give you an idea of what kind of a game it was that I can’t remember the score.
When I got home I started undressing outside the door, which must have looked totally crazy in the cold and the rain, but I could hear Mom’s voice telling me not to track mud inside. I had all the more incentive because there wasn’t Mom to clean up after me lol. I got my jeans, both shirts and my socks in the washing machine before I got to the bathroom, and had my ball cap all ready for the dishwasher too. (In case y’all were wondering, those ball cap wash racks really do work.)
Y’all know I usually take long cool showers. Not if I’ve been playing football in the cold and the rain…then I want as hot a shower as anyone ever takes…and I probably ran the building out of hot water for a while. But y’all can imagine how I looked after two hours of rough football in the rain and mud. The shower felt great, but I’m not at all sure how I was going to feel when I woke up the next morning. As it was I used the ice pack I always keep in the freezer on my right shoulder. The game was fun, but I got banged up. We all did. Aches and pains on Friday morning are part of the fun of a good Turkey Bowl lol.
There was time for me to catch some of the Buffalo/Dallas game on TV, and I was starving, so I made myself a ham sandwich, even if I was going to Thanksgiving dinner in a couple hours. Besides, I remembered the food from last year…it wasn’t that there wasn’t plenty of it…it’s that it wasn’t exactly my thing. No disrespect to Adam and Allan…it’s just that their maple-glazed turkey wasn’t what I was used to. The Blocks always deep fry their turkey. (And before you say that makes us sound like a family of illiterate rednecks, you should taste a deep fried turkey. It’s the best turkey you’ll ever eat.)
After that it was time to get ready to head out to get Joyce so we could head over to Adam and Allan’s for dinner.