A Trip Down Turkey Lane

You’ll have to forgive me MOM Squad, but the next few posts will be dedicated to retelling certain events from the Thanksgiving holiday. I know: how very passé. However it is in my best interest and yours as a reader for me to do so. A certain someone – who is probably slumped over a bowl of cold oatmeal as we speak – has threatened to do me cyber-bodily harm if I do not recount the events over the holiday exactly as I saw them. She has demanded that we go…



Twelve hours in a car with 4 children. Crazy redneck drivers in red pick-up trucks tailgating me. A right eye losing vision because I’ve refused to wear my corrective lenses for the last nine years. Most people don’t even know I have glasses. Shoot. I’ve forgotten I wear them myself. Delirium sets in, but not before we arrive at my sister’s house in the outskirts of D.C. Her boyfriend greets us sleepily at the door before scurrying up the stairs to tell her we’ve arrived.

As I shuttle snoring children into her warm, darkened house, she gives me a side glance.

“What took you guys so long?” she grumbled. “It should have only taken 10 hours. You guys are slow drivers.”

My gut reaction is to scream Shut the Hell Up!…but that would wake the kids. I opt for a kinder response.

“Oh geddout.”

Now that the children are all in their assigned sleeping accommodations, my husband sets about preparing his brine. He has been given the task of making the Thanksgiving Turkey. At his request, my sister has only purchased the finest and freshest ingredients to facilitate its preparation. Still, not leaving anything to chance, he whips out his store of special spices.

“Where is the salt?” he yawns.

“Here,” says Chris. (It’s ok to use his real name, because my sister only dates guys named Chris. It might as well be a synonym for boo-thang.)

Marshall pulls out a measuring cup and pours out 2 heaping cups of salt.

“Oh my God!” the pair exclaim, clutching their hearts.

The next few moments are filled with talk of heart attacks and sodium levels. Marshall looked at them quizzically.

“This from a pair of people who have a store of brown liquor and cake flavored vodka?”

He did have a point. I chimed in to his defense.

“Yeah, we may die of high blood pressure, but you two are going to die of alcohol poisoning.”

“At least we’ll be aware when we actually die,” my sister countered. “Your death will come suddenly.”

“And we’ll be happy too,” Chris added.

I pointed to a black and white image encased in plastic on top of their stove.

“You know, when I first saw that, I thought it was a picture of a chimpanzee. I just realized that was your son’s ultrasound.”

“Go to bed, Malaka.”




The next morning I woke to  the sound of running children and pots and pans clanging. In truth, I hadn’t slept much the entire night. It was bitterly cold in my sister’s sewing room. She later admitted that there was no heat in the room at all. I decided that she hated me. Marshall got to sleep in the designated guest room, complete with silk duvees and decorative pillows. I got the rusty futon and a sheet. But at least she was feeding my kids so that I could “sleep in”.


“Who wants eggs?” she asked.

“Meeee!!” they chorused.

“And who wants sausage?”


“Who wants hash browns?”

“Hash browns? We don’t know what hash browns are.”

My sister said she would make them anyway and let the kids try them. After she had all the plate prepared, the kids scampered down the stairs to partake of their morning meal. Nadjah ate the sausage. Aya ate the eggs. Liya hardly ate. Stone ate whatever was left. No one ate the hash browns. This is how breakfast goes.

Nadjah had since discovered me in the sewing room, so it was time to get up.

Our friend Tee was supposed to be coming over to finish cooking. She had taken on several sides, a desert and wanted to do the gravy. She called as we were beginning to cook.

“Tell me y’all have the turkey in the oven,” she demanded.

“No,” my sister replied. “It’s still brining.”

I heard her panicked objections at the other end of the phone. She demanded that we begin baking the turkey now.

“You tell her we’ll bake it when we’re good n’ ready!”

“You tell her yourself,” said Adj. (That’s my sister, by the way. I got tired of calling her “my sister.”)

I really can’t remember all that was said after that. There were a couple of loving “forget you’s” and “make me’s” thrown around before Tee announced that she –and her newly minted fiancé – would be at the house by 2pm. That gave us 5 hours before the arrival of the tempest.

2 o’clock came much faster than I anticipated. Tee walked in carrying a tray, demanding that Marshall and Chris go out to her car and help her bring in the food. I don’t think anyone budged. Tee was never the boss in our clan, and there was no reason to upset historical trends now. I was lost in the thought of my boiling macaroni and the veritable trough I was preparing when I heard the voice of God.

“That’s so funny! You look just like your sister!”

A tall, ebony skinned man with a voice that sounded like a well erupting in winter stood in the kitchen with a bag full of plantain in his right fist. This must have been the fabled Timothy I’d heard so much about.

“Hi, I’m Malaka,” I said. And usually people introduce themselves before they make comparisons and observations.

“Timothy,” he replied, shaking my hand.

I like to look people in the eye when I shake hands, but his were so far away. I tilted my neck to get a better view. His dreadlocked mane had long disappeared in the clouds. I decided I would merely imagine what his face might look like.

“I’m going to help get the rest of the things from the car,” he said warily.

“Uh huh. Okay.”

I tried not to stare at his buttocks, but it was the only thing at eye-level. And his jeans were very shiny. I couldn’t help it.