Tomorrow is a favored holiday in much of America. Who can’t get behind the idea of sitting around and eating like a pig, watching football and listening to the women in your family tear through the sale ads in that day’s newspaper like Charlie Weis trying to get the last Milky Way out of the package?
For some families, this holiday will be even more special.
Take the Ricketts family of Omaha, Nebraska, for instance. They recently completed the long, arduous, purchase of the Chicago Cubs.
This will be their first time to sit down as a family since they became the proud owners of the most famously inept franchise in American professional sports history.
Whatever will they talk about?
Marlene Ricketts – Joe, would you tell the kids that we’re almost ready to eat? Joe? Joe! What are you doing over there?
Joe Ricketts – I’m trying to get the empty cranberry can off of Todd’s hand.
Marlene – How did it get on Todd’s hand?
Joe – Don’t ask me. At least he didn’t get his head stuck in the bannister again.
Tom Ricketts – Not yet, anyway.
Todd Ricketts – Shut UP, Tom! That was years ago.
Tom – Two years ago. When you were 40.
Joe – I can’t get this thing off. Maybe if you just leave it on there, it’ll loosen itself up.
Todd – Get it OFF, dad! Starts to cry.
Pete Ricketts – Hey guys, is it almost time to eat? What’s with Todd?
Joe – Yes. It is almost time to eat. Todd will be OK. This isn’t as bad as the time he tried to wear the giblet bag like a hat.
Pete – Oh, I remember that. Was that last year, or two years ago?
Laura Ricketts – Last year. Two years ago, he got his head stuck between the spindles in the bannister. Which year was it when he cut himself really bad with the safety pin?
Todd – Shut UP, guys! And that safety pin was dangerous. It was sticking out of my sleeve on my winter jacket. It could have happened to anybody!
Marlene – Yeah, any 37 year old who still had to have his mittens pinned to his coat to keep from losing them.
Todd - Mom?!!? You too?
Joe – Everybody get into the dining room. We’ll say ‘grace’ and we can eat.
Todd – Runs into the dining room, shoving Pete out of the way. I want to sit here! I want to sit here!
Tom – Todd, that’s the head of the table. Dad’s going to sit there, like always.
Marlene – Oh, stop picking on your little brother. He can sit there. Your dad can sit in my spot at this end of the table, and I’ll sit next to you, Tommy.
Tom – He’s not a kid, mom. He’s in his 40s. Isn’t it a little odd that he gets to act like this when he’s here?
Todd: Yes! Suck it, Tom!
Pete – Almost as odd as four grown children, three of whom have families having Thanksgiving alone with their parents.
Laura – It’s a dramatic device, Pete. So shut up. Besides, all four of us have families. Why don’t you accept Cheryl and Mr. Fuzzybutton as my family?
Pete – You mean your girlfriend and your 57 pound cat?
Laura: We’ve had Mr. Fuzzybutton tested, and he’s smarter than two of Tom’s kids. And Todd.
Pete: That goes without saying. I didn’t mean to offend you, or Cheryl. She’s as much a part of this family as anybody.
Joe: How is Daryl?
Marlene: Che-ryl! Not Daryl. You’re doing that again, honey.
Laura: He’s doing what again?
Pete: Dad accidentally refers to her as Daryl once and a while. Especially at the country club.
Laura: Daddy! Are you telling me you are still ashamed of me being a lesbian? I thought we were past this.
Joe: I’m not ashamed of any of you. Even Todd. I’m old, I misspeak sometimes. She’s a lovely woman.
Todd tips over his chair. He’s been trying to pry the can off of his hand with one of his feet.
Todd: It’s off! Yeah! Holds up the empty cranberry can.
Tom: We’re so proud, Todd. How did you do it?
Todd: Puts the can back on his hand to show him. See, I just leaned back in the chair like this and used the bottom of my shoe to… The chair tips over again, Todd braces himself with the hand the can is on. And then the can just pops…it, pops…it, oh damnit!
Joe: Sighs. Let’s just eat. We’ll get the can off later.
Todd: Stupid cranberries! Nobody even likes cranberries! I hate the Pilgrims!
Tom: Why don’t you just say ‘grace’ dad?
Joe: This has been a big year for all of us, and you’ve really taken the lead, Tommy. I think you should say it.
Tom: Oh, I don’t know. Dad, this is your thing. You always do it.
Joe: Son. It’s time. Go ahead.
Tom: That means a lot, dad. OK, here we go. Lord, thank you for the gifts we have received this year. We got so much good news this year. Pete’s wife is going to have another baby. Laura’s Web site is doing great. We took our family fortune and tied it up in a heavily leveraged deal to buy our favorite baseball team, and it could possibly lead us into financial ruin. And Todd…, well, Todd, is still able to write off the losses from his bike shop on his taxes.
Todd: A-men! Oh, and if any of you need a carabiner to put on a key chain or anything, I bought several thousand of them, and they’re out in the truck.
The doorbell rings.
Joe: Are we expecting anyone?
Marlene: I don’t think so.
Laura: Maybe it’s Daryl.
Joe: I said I was sorry. I meant it. Goes to the door.
Crane Kenney: Well, Mister Ricketts, how good to see you! Happy Thanksgiving!
Joe: Tom! Come here! There’s someone to see you!
Tom: Who is it?
Crane: It’s me! Crane! I flew out from Chicago to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving.
Tom: Well, that was really…unnecessary of you.
Crane: My wife made a cranberry dish for you.
Todd: I hate cranberries!
Crane: Was that Todd?
Joe: Well, uh, Craig, is it?
Tom: It’s Crane, dad.
Joe: See Laura, I told you I’m shit with names!
Laura: Still not buying it, dad.
Joe: Anyway, Craig, come on in, we’ll get you a chair, we were just about to eat.
Crane: Oh, well thank you. That was so unexpected. I just have to run back to the limo to get my slippers and smoking jacket.
Tom: The limo? Did you rent one?
Crane: Rent one? No, it’s my regular limo.
Tom: Regular limo? And I thought you said you flew?
Crane: Oh, I did. I sent the car ahead yesterday so it would be at the airport when I landed.
Jim Hendry: Gets out of the front of the limo. Hi Mr. Ricketts!
Tom: You flew Hendry out here, too?
Crane: Hah! Don’t be silly. I had him drive the limo out.
Marlene: What is going on out here? Who is that sweaty man in the driveway?
Tom: That’s Jim Hendry, mom. He’s the Cubs general manager.
Marlene: That? He looks like he’d be the general manager at a Dunkin Donuts.
Joe: Well, you’d better invite him in, too.
Laura: Dad! There are men with hammers out in the yard!
Joe: What the…?
Crane: Oh, that’s just Wally.
Crane: Wally Hayward, our new VP of Marketing. I noticed that your parents neighbor’s house has some god-awful gold-leaf trim on it. So Wally’s having some large green signage made to obstruct your view of it.
Jim: Mrs. Ricketts, this turkey is excellent.
Marlene: Get your hands out of that bird! We haven’t even served it yet.
Pete: The giblet bag is not a hat! Trust me.
Wally Hayward: Hi Mr. Ricketts.
Joe: Are you the asshole who constructed that monstrosity in my front yard?
Wally: Constructed? Don’t be silly. I went to college with Crane, we don’t actually do work. We just hire people to do things. And then sue them to avoid having to pay for it.
Jim: Hey Todd, what’s with that can on your hand?
Todd: I thougth there was a cranberry at the bottom and I went for it. Pretty embarassing.
Jim: That’s nothing, I once had a Kentucky Fried Chicken bucket stuck on my head for a month.
Marlene: That IS it! Out, all of you. Tommy, your creepy new work friends have ruined Thanksgiving!
Tom: Yeah. Guys it was thoughtful of you to come out here. Thoughtful and completely stupid. Maybe you should just go and we can talk about all of this on Monday. And then maybe on Tuesday I can sell this friggin’ team to Marc Utay if he’s still interested.
On their way to the limo, Crane sees Ryan Dempster approaching holding a feather boa and rubber chicken.
Crane: Ryan. No. They’re not in the mood.