Worst Thanksgiving dish I ever had

I don’t particularly remember any “worst” Thanksgiving dishes. But then, I am a picky eater and typically confine myself to things I like – turkey, stuffing, potatoes, bread, green beans. These are pretty basic and usually don’t get messed up. Oh, a turkey can get dry and potatoes can be lumpy and some weirdo could get the dumb idea to throw nuts into a stuffing, but really, I can count on a decent Thanksgiving meal because I’m picky.

For dessert, chocolate cream pie. I do not want any fruit pie – fruit is not dessert and besides, I just don’t like the texture of cooked fruit in the pie. Pecan pie? No nuts, please. And just what in the world is mincemeat? Don’t know and don’t care. I guess pumpkin is the popular choice for Thanksgiving, but it’s just not that good. If there is no chocolate cream pie, I’ll just have another buttery dinner roll, thanks.

One year the family gathering featured a red velvet cake. A red velvet cake that had something wrong with it. It had flecks of something about the size of sesame seeds in it. To this day I do not know what the alien bits were. I have looked at red velvet cake recipes to try and determine what was in the cake and I can’t figure it out. It was almost like gristle and there were dozens of these things throughout. It wasn’t hard, but it resisted the bite a little. I’m not sure what is was but, as you can guess, I’ve been off red velvet cake ever since.

Good intentions are not enough

Excerpted from Justice Antonin Scalia’s commencement address to Langley High School, Virginia in June, 2010:

“Movement is not necessarily progress. More important than your obligation to follow your conscience, or at least prior to it, is your obligation to form your conscience correctly. Nobody — remember this — neither Hitler, nor Lenin, nor any despot you could name, ever came forward with a proposal that read, ‘Now, let’s create a really oppressive and evil society.’ Hitler said, ‘Let’s take the means necessary to restore our national pride and civic order.’ And Lenin said, ‘Let’s take the means necessary to assure a fair distribution of the goods of the world.’

“In short, it is your responsibility, men and women of the class of 2010, not just to be zealous in the pursuit of your ideals, but to be sure that your ideals are the right ones. That is perhaps the hardest part of being a good human being: Good intentions are not enough. Being a good person begins with being a wise person. Then, when you follow your conscience, will you be headed in the right direction.”

What can happen in a second

The clock read 00:01.

The quarterback, number 10, stood on the sideline with one foot in the field of play and the other out of bounds, hands on his hips and his head down but his eyes up, listening to what the coach would say. His breath was rapid and made warm puffs in the cold air each time he exhaled.

Now the coach spoke and his breath made a paragraph of a cloud in the air as he explained what he wanted see number 10’s team do next. The coach removed his headset and pointed and 10 looked. The backup quarterback, number 4, leaned in and pointed too. Number 4, in a spotless uniform and covered up with a huge, full-length coat made his own big cloud with his opinion. Coach did not look at him. Neither did 10.

The coach added two more things as 10 turned to go back on the field before the referee could get to them and tell them to stop it. The quarterback stepped into the huddle, a circle of 11 men that his arrival completed. They all leaned in, to hear what the coach had envisioned, as relayed by 10. Puffs of warm air formed a circle above them. The frozen ground made a crunching sound as the eleven walked toward a football on the ground in front of another eleven. About half of each side rocked back on their heels, then rocked forward, bent, and put their hands on the ground.

From atop the stadium, the players helmets were obscured by the clouds of steam expelled by the two sides, which were poised for the inevitable collision, puffing like two opposed engines restrained by the brakes.

The ball was snapped and the collision came. The roar from 80,000 strong rose, pushing a gigantic ring of fog above the stadium. Number 10, ball in hand spun right and held the ball out with his left hand. A runner came up on the right and reached for the ball while the quarterback continued to spin clockwise. The runner’s arms clamped down and the quarterback withdrew his left hand and continued his spin.

The runner dove a bit above the colliding bodies before him and as he did more defenders rushed up to meet him above the fray. Another inevitable collision came to pass and players and officials and spectators tried to judge whether the ball had crossed the goal line.

It had not. For it was never in the arms of the runner. Number 10, who had spun away to the left while the runner dove right, carried the ball toward the goal and had almost perfectly open field in front of him. Almost.

From the edge of the collision at the line a defender spied the quarterback running in the open and began to pursue. He suspected that the ball was there. Now he saw the ball was there. He strained to recover the ground lost by the misdirection.

Another inevitable collision was coming. Another roar of thousands. Another huge cloud of steam. The quarterback dove. The defender dove. And now, not one puff of steam escaped from anyone.

The clock read 00:00.