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Meg Duncan: A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving |

Meg Duncan: A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

Three hot skillets sizzled with vegetable oil and chicken parts, because I also bought enough to make dinner for my family — which meant I was cooking fried chicken for a total of ten people.


At work last week, each class watched a Thanksgiving special in the library — and while the kids laughed at Charlie Brown trying to put together a thanksgiving feast for his friends, I was learning a very important lesson.

He didn’t want to fix Thanksgiving dinner for his friends — in fact, he wasn’t even supposed to be home because he was going to his grandma’s house at 4:30. But Peppermint Patty called to invite herself to Chuck’s house for dinner.

“Listen, I really have a treat for you,” she told him. “My Dad’s been called out of town and he said that I could go over to your house to share Thanksgiving with you, Chuck.”

I shook my head while Charlie Brown stammered at her news.

I’ve so been there.

“I don’t mind inviting myself over because I know you kind of like me, Chuck.”

“Well — I, uh,” he kept saying.

By the end of it Peppermint Patty had invited two more kids, and Charlie Brown was totally overwhelmed.

Oh Chuck. I feel you. It’s hard being a people pleaser.

Sometimes when I should say no, and when my everything in me is saying NO, I find my lips forming the words, “Sure! I’d be happy to!”

And next thing you know, the fire alarm is sounding and I’m melting down in the kitchen after volunteering to make homemade fried chicken for a family of six for a church meal ministry.

I still don’t know why I thought that was a good idea. I love meal ministry and I know it is helpful for many, but at that time we had a lot going on. I still remember the call.

“Well — I, uh,” I kept saying. Then my mouth just took off on me. “Sure! I’d be happy to. Put me down for fried chicken.

I still don’t know why I did that. I’d never cooked fried chicken in my life, and no one expected that out of me anyway. I am pretty sure deli meat and mustard potato salad from Walmart meets people’s highest expectations of me.

But I just decided to rise above.

This is what happened to Charlie Brown. Instead of saying no, he tried to make a Thanksgiving feast for all his friends, and ended up disappointing the whole crew until his grandma finally saved the day and invited them all to dinner.

(And on a side note, is it just me or do cartoon kids have some seriously bad parents? I never saw them through the whole thing.)

Anyway, unless they secretly called for delivery after I left, there was no one who could save the family I was cooking for. Although at first, it really seemed to be going so well.

Three hot skillets sizzled with vegetable oil and chicken parts, because I also bought enough to make dinner for my family — which meant I was cooking fried chicken for a total of ten people.

I hummed along to Pandora in my ruffled apron, turned on the fourth burner to boil water for my instant mashed potatoes, and threw some corn into the microwave.

Move over Betty Crocker!

Pan one was happily cooking, and pan two was golden-brown. As I removed the chicken and seasoned with it care, black smoke suddenly filled the kitchen as the neglected pieces in pan three sat burning to a crisp. Holding my breath and attempting to turn it off, another loud sizzle reminded me about the mashed potato water which was now boiling over.

Never mind, Betty. I’m gonna need you to come on back.

You know though, other than the few black pieces, the chicken looked like my Grandma’s and I was pretty proud. After delivering to the family, and now sitting down to dinner with my family, I grabbed one and took a hearty bite.

Oh no. Bloody chicken.

That’s right, I delivered bloody chicken to a sweet family with a sick mama.

And it’s all because I should have just said no, or at least stuck with Papa John’s or something I’m more familiar with. Charlie Brown should have said to no too, but his sister, Sally, nailed it.

“It’s your own fault,” she said. “Because you’re just too wishy-washy.”

Me too, Chuck. Me too.

Meg Duncan has lived on the same corner in Hannibal for most of her thirty-something years. Raising two boys and one husband, she writes about real life because it is far better than fiction. The views expressed in this column are not necessarily those of the Courier-Post.

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