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Randy Patterson’s Thanksgiving Fail

Entrepreneurs are willing to work 80+ hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week. Back in 2008, to say I lived by this quote is an understatement. November was right around the corner and the thought of preparing a Thanksgiving meal was daunting.

I PRIDE myself on being able to provide yummy and delicious meals for my family. 

So, as you can imagine, as I typed the title of this blog post, feelings of deep embarrassment flooded my soul. I have created many famous Patterson family traditions around food. One included the first day of school every year. Every single year starting in kindergarten and finishing in their senior year of high school, I would strategically place a homemade batch of chocolate chip cookies in the oven 15 minutes before they walked in the door. 

When they got home, we would sit together over warm, gooey, chocolate chip cookies and a glass of milk and they would tell me all about their first day.

Over the years I developed many more family traditions and with that, I also developed a persona. An alter ego of sorts… I became known as “the tattooed Martha Stewart.” 

So rewind back to Thanksgiving 2008. I already felt that I needed to clone myself in order to conquer the amount of work that was on my plate. But Thanksgiving? How the hell was I gonna pull that off?

So I made a decision! 

I had Thanksgiving dinner catered.

There is a first time for everything and this seemed like the best solution. We would still have delicious food and special time with family and friends. That’s what Thanksgiving’s all about anyway, right? Except, having Thanksgiving catered, made for a few extra perks.

  • A mess free kitchen
  • Fewer dishes to do
  • No shopping

AND I DIDN’T HAVE TO COOK!!!!!

We had the whole thing catered, the turkey, the sides, even the desserts! 

Thanksgiving Day rolled around. I hopped in the car, put on some tunes and made my way to the caterers. As I drove the short distance, I pat my thumbs against the steering wheel to the beat of the music and I felt great! While alone in that car, I soaked up the incredible feeling of being 100% stress free! I got to the caterer, swiped my card, and packed up the car with a delicious smelling Thanksgiving dinner. 

I put the key in the ignition and off I went. As the heat came on, the smell of turkey, garlic mashed potatoes, green beans and pumpkin pie, swirled around me. It was that moment where my heart sank… 

My house was not filled with those delicious smells that are produced while preparing Thanksgiving dinner. 

My home lacked the warmth that the oven would have produced if I had cooked the turkey myself.

My girls did not get to lick the remnants of batter off of any of my kitchen utensils. 

When I got home I tried my best to be excited about the delicious meal we were about to consume. As I unpacked the shiny tinfoil trays of food and placed them buffet-style along my kitchen counter, I found myself saying things like “WOW! Look how amazing this all looks” and “Guys! Isn’t this smell to die for?” 

I mean, it looked nice.

It smelled nice. 

But amazing?

To die for? 

My words felt forced and I later realized that by saying these things I was really just trying to justify my now regretful decision. 

My family loaded their plates and scurried to their places at the dining room table.

My daughter, Ty, scooped a generous blob of mashed potatoes onto her plate. She brought the fork into her mouth.

When I make mashed potatoes, Ty takes her first bite and her eyes bulge out of her face with delight. She acts like she has never tasted such greatness in her life. Mashed potatoes are her favorite. As she swallowed her first bite of Thanksgiving dinner, I waited for her reaction.

Let me tell you, catered mashed potatoes don’t get the same reaction as my mashed potatoes do.. 

I then looked at my daughter, Erica. Her face wearing a look of concern as she poked around her plate. It seemed like she was looking for something. Confused, said, “Where is the sweet potato pie?”

Erica’s favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner, is sweet potato pie!

My response?

“Umm, there is no sweet potato pie. There are candied yams this year.” 

The look Erica shot me could have killed. I couldn’t tell whether she was pissed that there was no sweet potato pie, or if she was trying to figure out what the hell a candied yam was. 

The unsatisfactory mashed potatoes and the lack of sweet potato pie, was the last straw. 

Who knew that potatoes would be the thing to set me off. It was that moment that I promised myself that going forward I would cook Thanksgiving dinner EVERY SINGLE YEAR. I would rather slave away in the kitchen all day, despite any amount of stress, than feel the regret and disappointment of the catered Thanksgiving dinner. 

“Family traditions help us define who we are; they provide something steady, reliable and safe in a confusing world.”

Since that regretful day, I have cooked 6 Thanksgiving dinners for my family and this week will be my 7th. I think it is safe to say, I have redeemed myself for the selfish decision to have Thanksgiving catered 7 years ago…

I can’t wait to mash up some killer potatoes for my girls this year! 

Happy Thanksgiving, to your family, from ours. 

Authored by: The Rock n’ Roll Doula