My Favorite Holiday Story


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My grandmother’s house in Frederick, Oklahoma. Photo sent to me by reader Dianne Hall.

My mother was a great cook and holiday meals always went smoothly, and for the most part, they do for me, too. I love holiday cooking disaster stories, but I have none. However, I do have a Thanksgiving disaster story that is at least food-related, and you know when you put family, a holiday, and bodily fluids together in one tale, you’ve got a winning combination.

Back when I was in my 20s and my ex-husband and I were going to school at Texas Tech in Lubbock, we trekked off to my Oklahoma grandmother’s house for Thanksgiving one year, along with my sister. It was about a three and a half hour drive and we arrived as she was ready to put the holiday meal on the table. My grandmother was getting up in years, and there was some mention of there possibly being a bear in the house. Among other things. Sometimes her mind wandered off in creative directions. After the meal when we started helping her put the food away, she explained that we didn’t need to do that. She’d had it sitting out for a few days already anyway. OH. By later that evening, we were all starting to feel sick. And by the next morning, we were close to dying and our holiday meal was coming back out from every direction. (Everyone except my grandmother. She must have gained some kind of immunity to spoiled food due to her optional refrigeration practices.) Desperate for help, we searched in her medicine cabinet and found a box of Pepto-Bismol pills. We couldn’t swallow down the pills fast enough. Then, whew, feeling better already knowing relief was on the way, we took the time to read what the little foil pill packets inside the Pepto-Bismol box had written on them. Ex-Lax. IN HER PEPTO-BISMOL BOX.

I know. Could this story be any better? I DON’T THINK I EVEN NEED TO FINISH IT. IT’S THAT GOOD OF A STORY.


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  1. auntbear says:

    ONE OF A KIND :hungry:

  2. GA_in_GA says:

    Too funny, though at the time I am certain it wasn’t.

  3. wildcat says:

    Awesome story! Your grandmother sounds like a real hoot! :shocked:

  4. invirginia says:

    OMG! :shocked: My in-laws are the same way – refrigeration optional! They leave things sitting out all the time which is why we always insist on treating them to pizza when we come to visit – they think it’s a treat but we’re just trying to keep from getting sick! 😀

  5. claycath says:

    I just spewed out my coffee from laughing so hard! That sounds like my grandmother when her mind started to go. She would hide persishable food in really odd places because she was afraid someone would steal it. She also talked to the people she saw on TV and thought thye were actually talking to her personally.

  6. Dana says:

    This story made my day as I needed to laugh hysterically!! Oh dear! LOL!! :happyfeet:

    Dana Mama

  7. jodiezoeller says:

    Yuck! I know you’ll have a good one this year, even with the plumbing disaster.

  8. Cousin Sheryl says:

    OH. MY. GOODNESS! You have never told me that one before! That had to be terrible. As a nurse, I can totally relate to that story. We get these little old ladies at the hospital who bring in there BAG of pill bottles. We find blue, pink, green and yellow pills all mixed in the same bottle. A lady will say, “Well, the blue one is my heart pill, and the green one is my water pill and no…maybe that’s the pink one.” Just a reminder to folks to check on their elderly family members and clean out their medicine chests for expired meds. I have had a time going thru Georgia’s medicine cabinet and throwing away stuff that expired in the last century (literally the 1990’s). Glad that you survived that episode!

  9. Dghawk says:

    That is so funny! Fortunately I’ve never experienced anything like that, although, I do have some “thrifty” friends who save all the styrofoam plates and cups, wash and re-use them. Needless to say, when they have a gathering, I always volunteer to bring “extra” plates and cups. I hope the rest of your holiday is trouble free. :hungry:

    P.S. Good luck on your hunting. I already have 3 shoulders and a ham in the freezer from the boys at the hunt club next door. YUM!

  10. Southern Belle says:

    OH what a funny story!! Thank you for the good, destressing laugh!! I have retold this to several people, same thing. I have loved many of your stories over the years, but this is my new favorite. I am currently reading your book, I mean relishing your book. Trying to make it last because I don’t want it to end. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family and God bless you!!

  11. wendy@chezchloe says:

    I’m sure it was painful at the time. If only we could think at those times, how great a story it is to become.
    I learned after a couple visits to my former English mother-in-law in Brighton, that with her mini fridge she couldn’t fit a pot of soup. So she would just keep it out on the stoop of the back door and reboil it before serving. We somehow survived and I learned to eat before we showed up.

  12. Dawn says:

    oh my – I have had several experiences being sick after eating at other peoples houses but the funniest holiday story I have is from my mom. as a new bride – the first family dinner in her new house made her really nervous as she did not have a lot of experience cooking. she was a great pie maker however so relaxed when she got to that part of the meal. Her uncle, a great lover of pie went “oh boy” and stuffed half a piece in his mouth. He promptly sprayed it all over her dining room wall as she had mistakenly added salt instead of sugar.

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