by Kriston Capps
Thanksgiving is a time for family, all of them, but in my family it is specifically a time for dads. Inasmuch as it is a time for expressing thanks and watching the Dallas Cowboys play football, Turkey Day is an annual test of the patriarchal pecking order.
I don’t remember what prompted the argument between my dad and my grandfather (no doubt it had something to do with some finer point of order in the NFC East) in my grandparents’ San Angelo, Texas kitchen during that first fateful holiday home from college. But I recall quite clearly how it was resolved: with my grandfather’s voice booming, Flash is going to carve the turkey. And in a moment long knives in my hands that had been in my father’s hands, knives that had only been bestowed begrudgingly to him in the first place, now offered freely, even thrust upon me. Then my dad yelling at me — Now look son you are doing it all wrong — and then his father yelling at him — LET THE BOY CARVE THE DAMN BIRD.
But I was doing it all wrong. And I continue to do it all wrong. I’m familiar with the theory: carve around the bone; cut at the ligament; slide the bone out of the joint. Pilgrims and Indians, living together, right? But the first time I carved a turkey that I made on my own, that was all these instructions were to me — theory — or more specifically — Youtube. After calling my unhelpful father (“O-ho, I do believe Grandpa taught you that . . .”), I Googled in a frenzy.
Now, for those of you carving tomorrow, I can’t replace your negligent father any more than I can convince my own to pass on some goddamn life skills. But I can share that Youtube with you.