Myles To Go Before We Eat


Happy Thanksgiving to All Our U.S. Friends

Mayflower Captain Myles Standish is the reason for holiday stress.

In August, he invited the Indians to a Labor Day party, got them roaring drunk hoping they would tell him where the wild turkeys hung out. Promising more firewater, he then talked them into teaching Pilgrim women how to grow, harvest and cook maze, squash, pumpkins, and Boston Baked Beans.

By the middle of October, Myles was singing, PAR-TAY!

Picture, if you will, Captain Standish reciting Julius Caesar aloud, mooning over Priscilla Alden and watching football. (Pilgrims vs. Indians).

His wife, Barbara, is in the kitchen wishing she could wring his neck instead of a fifty-pound-turkey. Overwhelmed by twenty sacks of potatoes to mash and pumpkins the size of wagon wheels, she’s not a happy camper. The experimental spaghetti squash exploded in July while the zukes grew to the size of Labrador Retrievers. She has wheat to thrash and dough to rise and roll. The colossal turkey has eighty-five pellets in its butt, thanks to Myles who introduced both firewater and firepower to the Indians.

The idea of a first Thanksgiving feast makes Barbara mutter to herself and quiver.

“Would it have killed him to ask me before inviting every Indian in the new country? I’m supposed to entertain strangers dressed in animal skins? Gimme a flippin’ break.”

Baby Lora is walking now; son Charles is into teenage angst, and young Myles is a nerd. Big Myles mostly muses.

“Husband,” Barbara shouts. “Quit musing and get in here.”

He stomps into the dirt-floor kitchen. “Now what, Babs?”

“What are ya, blind? I’m knee-deep in unshucked maze and pumpkins that need to be stewed. While you were mooning over Priscilla, baby Lora messed up her last clean nappy. Prissy married somebody else, Myles. Get over it.”

Myles poses like a Fifteenth Century Mr. Clean. “Blimey! It’s Disaster City in here. What have you been doing, woman? We have guests coming. What is so hard about preparing enough food to feed a small continent? What else would you be doing?”

She looks around for something sharp. “I’m hormonal, Myles, so I would be taking a nap and asking you to wake me up in 1776 for the Fourth of July fireworks.”

“Are you daft, woman?”

She sidles over to a knife resting under a sixty-pound zucchini. A smile crosses Barbara’s lips as she stares at the bad-tempered, albeit intrepid Mayflower Captain.

“Myles,” she croons, “Why did you invite the entire Wampanoag Nation?”

“There you go exaggerating, Babs. Dr. Phil says that’s non-productive behavior.”

“Do not,” Barbara snarls, “repeat, do not speak about non-production. I push my tush while you sit around musing.”

He throws up his hands. “There you go again.”

“What?” She tugs the knife out from under the seriously heavy zucchini.

“Only the families of Squanto, Samoset and Chief Yellow Feather were invited.”

Barbara hides the knife within the folds of her grease-spattered skirt. “Husband, how many family members do the savages have?”

Myles lights up a cheroot. “Ninety or so. Why? Is entertaining a few of my friends too much to ask? I have a colony to run, you know.”

Ninety people? Ninety? Are you out of your gourd? Who will look after your wild offspring, do laundry and cook the stinkin’ pumpkins? I’m not Martha Stewart.”

“What we have here is a failure to communicate, Babs. What would you rather be doing?”

“I’d rather be pummeled to the ground with a 20-pound sack of flour until I pass out.”

“No need to get your bloomers in a bunch. Chill. Call the Butterball Hot Line. They know all about turkey stress.”

She glares. “Maybe they could send a wagon train of cooked food and an army of servers.”

“Oh, Babs. The Butterball Hot Line is designed to get you through turkey angst; it doesn’t exist to spoil you.”

“Myles, I have a raging case of PMS, a migraine and a knife. I’m on my last nerve and I don’t give a flying fig about the Butterball people.”

“Hey! Don’t go all nutterootie on me.”

She closes her eyes, wraps her fingers around the hidden knife, and hisses, “Get out of my kitchen, Myles!”

The intrepid Captain Standish retreats like a cowardly lion to his sanctuary. A quirky grin sneaks onto his lips and spreads across his face like warm cranberry sauce.

“Woo-Hoo. For a minute, I thought she might bail and then who would cook that fifty-pound turkey? Not me. I have a colony to run.”

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