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Thanksgiving advice proves overwhelming

November 11, 2012

I apologize in advance to all you Martha Stewart fans who do all things impeccably well, paying attention to every little detail like cleaning the tops of your ceiling fans once a week and flambéing flamboyantly without breaking a sweat. 

Frankly I have a love-hate relationship with Martha, and right now it’s squarely in the latter category.

I’m guilty of watching her on television much like a rubbernecker trying to get a look at the gory details of a wreck. I also listen to her radio station on Sirius and gag all the way to Wal-Mart as I listen to her condescendingly answer call-in questions with her British infused New England accent.

She didn’t used to talk that way, did she? I guess she picked it up in the penitentiary.

Sometimes you will see me literally screaming down Highway 12 — like yesterday when her highness told a caller to prune all her hydrangeas in February along with the roses. Even I know that is criminal advice, worthy of another six months in the slammer. That poor caller won’t have a single bloom next spring because blooms appear on old wood. 
How does she get away with stuff like this?

Because she’s got us all hood-winked into believing that cooking and housekeeping can and should be the perfect activity for the perfect woman. We mere mortals will never get it right so we keep listening and watching in hope that some of her abnormal finesse will rub off on us.
Nevertheless, I’m determined to deliver an edible Thanksgiving dinner for my family this year without losing my cool or experiencing the usual disasters. I ran off Martha’s 10 tips for a picture-perfect Thanksgiving, and I’m working my way through the list.

Item numero uno instructed me to purchase a small notebook and carefully make a list of the dishes I plan to serve — complete with the groceries needed to pull it off.

This week I was advised to begin the grocery shopping, but I can’t find that darn notebook. 

This week, I’m also to do all the heavy house work like waxing the floors and polishing all the furniture. That makes no sense, because the house will be dirty again by Thanksgiving and I’ll be cooking the turkey while madly looking for my feather duster which will likely be roasting in the oven along with the turkey. 

Today, she says to realign all my area rugs to conform to curvature of the earth and add a wing onto the dining room in case extra guests arrive. Next week, I am advised to knit sparkly leg warmers for the Thanksgiving turkey.

Last minute tips designed to impress your guests are such ludicrous activities as placing lemon slices in the dog’s water bowls, floating votive candles in all the toilets and filing down the legs of the dining room chairs so each guest will be the same height.

Oh, and don’t forget to organize your spice rack by genus and phylum. As soon as your guests leave, immediately blanch the turkey carcass and spray paint it gold. Turn it upside down and use it as a miniature sleigh to hold Christmas cards.
Oh boy. 
I’m going to be the toast of my Thanksgiving soiree — either that, or my family will be trying to book a room at the nearest institution.
Emily Jones is a retired journalist who edits a website for bouncing baby boomers facing retirement. She welcomes comments at

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