- 2002 – Turkey and smoker blow up taking out 27 windows of the Smith family’s house next door. Fire department called. Grandpa reminded by battalion chief that this has happened before. Grandpa punches chief and spends holiday in jail much to the family’s relief.
- 2003 – Mother and Aunt Irene wake up at 4 a.m. to prepare turkey, discover it’s not quite thawed out, decide to drink Irish coffee until they can stuff turkey with Mother’s traditional radishes and spam stuffing, get soused and use too much sage. Most of family gets sick and spends holiday in emergency room.
- 2004 – Nothing happens. Family decides this is the most boring Thanksgiving ever and resolves to do better in 2005.
- 2005 – Two distant cousins get pregnant while mostly everyone is asleep on the couch pretending to watch football game. After a family vote, we decide that “stuff happens” and that we can all be thankful this year wasn’t a repeat of 2004.
- 2006 – Two distant cousins bring their brand new babies and they (the babies) look like everyone else in the family. Nobody steps up to the figurative plat to take responsibility for 2005’s “stuff happens” because they’re all too busy getting the green apple quick step from Mother’s radish and apple pie. DFACS is called and confiscates the babies pending a full review.
- 2007 – Everyone arrives drunk and nobody gets anything to eat until Dad fries up grits and jalapenos on Black Friday. Smith family gets disgusted and moves out of town until holiday is over.
- 2008 – An argument begins during a missed call in the big football game. Grandpa settles argument by unloading his new 12-guage shotgun into the TV set. Everyone laughs and agrees this is the best Thanksgiving ever.
- 2009 – Family agrees to go their separate ways this year to promote family harmony. We eat at a fast foot restaurant where the French fries are soggy and cold but not as bad as Mother’s French fries. We’re more thankful for that than you can imagine.
- 2010 – Every gets their calendars mixed up and arrives a week early for Thanksgiving. By the time the holiday arrives we’re all sick of each other and go home.
- 2011 – A political argument breaks out right after the turkey is carved. The blue state family members sit on one side of the table and the red state family members sit on the other. Grandpa throws stuffing at Uncle Walter whom we realize isn’t even part of our family and just dropped in to check the sump pump. We agree to hire TSA reps to maintain front door security in 2012.
- 2012 – TSA reps confiscate Mother’s carving knife so we end up having to use a hedge trimmer at the table. The noise makes it hard to talk about anything. We’re grateful for that after last Thanksgiving’s blue state/red state argument.
- 2013 – Things go smoothly without TSA goons at the front door until Grandpa boots up his new smoker in the guns and ammo closet. Nobody is harmed, but the smoker, the closet and multiple firearms are a total loss. We end up getting an injunction to ensure that Grandpa and a turkey smoker won’t be allowed in the house at the same time.
- 2014 – Dad buys Stouffer’s TV dinners and we all agree our dinner has never tasted this good in the past. Mother’s feelings are hurt and she files for a divorce. Dad admits that some or all of the family’s extra children might be his. I hide in my room with enough crack to last until Christmas.
- 2015 – Too soon to tell. Dad and Mom are back together again and are happily working in the kitchen preparing our surprise dinner. The place smells like sauerkraut and this doesn’t bode well. Fortunately, we ordered a 55-gallon drum of mimosas and will be well fortified against whatever happens.