Don't you just love those Thanksgiving fluff pieces you see on your television every year? You know what I'm talking about. The heartwarming scenes of a family gathered around the dinner table giving thanks that daddy or mommy is home safely this Thanksgiving. You usually see the children clinging to the parent who was away the year before. You see the mom in her apron tending to a gigantic turkey, stuffed to the max. You see scenes of the family sitting around a cozy fire enjoying each other's company. They often show a photo from the previous Thanksgiving of mommy or daddy in Iraq or Afghanistan. A beautiful sight to behold. A feel-good story.
I get all misty-eyed every time I see one of these segments because I know how much it means to have my husband home during the holidays.
My family was asked to star in one of these uplifting segments after my husband's return from Afghanistan. A local news station wanted to show us enjoying Thanksgiving as a family, post-deployment. But, there was a problem. A big problem.
As I pondered the request, I began cackling hysterically because I knew our segment wouldn't quite turn out the way the television station had planned. No, far from it.
First of all, we don't have children. So, there would be no little Suzie or little Billy to gaze lovingly at their daddy and tear at the heart strings of everyone watching. Secondly, our beloved dog, formerly the SpouseBUZZ t-shirt babe, was very ill and undergoing chemotherapy treatment at the time. And finally, I didn't buy one of those traditional, big turkeys. Oh no, I bought the little Butterball turkey breast. It's the perfect size for two.
So this is what I envisioned our segment would resemble:
Reporter speaking softly in the background, "Last year, this family was saying their good-byes as Mr. Andi deployed to Afghanistan. This year, Mr. Andi is home, and they are a family again."
Camera cuts to our family (all two of us), sitting on the sofa flipping through a photo album and looking dreamily into each other's eyes.
Reporter interviews Andi who says that while it was tough when Mr. Andi was away, she had a hard time readjusting to life with him because he locked up her laptop and drug her to bed before 2:00 a.m. upon his return.
Next you hear Andi calling cheerfully from the kitchen for Mr. Andi to take his place at the dining table. Camera follows Mr. Andi to the dining table for six, where only two place settings are set. Mr. Andi sits down, looking a bit lonely by himself at the big table.
Camera then pans to Andi in the kitchen with her apron on, looking very June Cleverish.
"Smells great," proclaims Mr. Andi.
Camera then films Andi pulling a whopping two-pound turkey breast from the oven. Camera zooms in because it has to or nobody will be able to see the turkey turkey breast.
Andi brings the turkey to the table and sits down next to Mr. Andi. Table still looks a bit bare.
Andi and Mr. Andi hold hands and Andi starts to pray a prayer of thanks.
Next you hear a disgusting, horrible sound.
Camera pans to the t-shirt babe, who has just thrown up all over Mr. Andi's Ward Clever-like slippers as a result of his chemotherapy treatment.
Reporter and camera crew run like the wind out of the house.
Andi and Mr. Andi laugh hysterically. T-shirt babe looks confused.
Nah, wasn't a good idea. Although...as you know, I am awfully fond of humor, so I did entertain the notion anyway, even though I knew it would be a total disaster - probably because I knew it would be a total disaster. When Mr. Andi came home from work, I told him that the local news station wanted to spend Thanksgiving filming at our house. He looked at me like I had two heads and six eyes. That look means, "not just no, but hell no."
Note to reporter said:
Thank you for your request to film at our house on Thanksgiving. Normally, I would agree to this request, but we don't have children, my husband is not comfortable being on television, I don't know how to cook a big turkey and my dog is throwing up every two hours. In short, don't think that's what you're looking for.
Note from reporter:
Thanks for your note. How about this? I could hire a stand-in to play your husband, we could hire some extras to play your kids, we could let your husband stay locked in the bedroom with your sick dog to avoid, well, you know, and we could buy a big turkey already pre-cooked.
Note back to reporter:
Would I have to carve the turkey on camera? That could be a problem. I don't really like kids, would I have to act like I do? What will my stand-in husband look like? Could you send a photo?
Note from reporter:
Okay, well....Could we film a piece about how military life clearly transformed a once-sane woman into a fruitcake?
Note back to reporter:
Absolutely. Come by anytime.
p.s. I never was all that sane.