Friday, November 28, 2008

Flashback Friday: In which I single-handedly ruin Thanksgiving

The ill-fated weapon of choice
It's important for children to contribute to household chores, help with meals, and the like. When I was a kid, a popular task for my parents to require of us was to peel the potatoes for dinner. I hated peeling potatoes! Or perhaps it is just that my childish self naturally preferred playing to working, and since the usual punishment involved wielding the peeler, I grew to loathe the job. Regardless, peeling potatoes is a tedious task. And for a family of seven, we aren't talking about 4 or 5 potatoes. I had to peel like 15 or 20 potatoes at a time. My family also liked having leftovers.

One particular Thanksgiving (by my best guess I was in eighth or ninth grade), my family was repsonsible for bringing the mashed potatoes to the big family dinner at my Grandparents house. For the extended family gathering, I imagine the peeling of at least one giant sack of potatoes was necessary. About this many:
I dutifully peeled and peeled and peeled those damned spuds while the rest of my family busied themselves with other tasks in preparation to head over to the big feast.

I finished shortly before it was time to be heading out the door. Being the responsible teen that I was, I intended to finish the job properly by cleaning up after myself. So I wiped down the counters, stuffed the peelings down the drain, rinsed the sink, and turned on the disposal.

Okay, so no one had ever told me that it isn't wise to put vegetable peelings down the disposal. And while the peelings from a few carrots or cucumbers probably won't cause much damage, the skins for potato quantities to feed the massive Alder clan wreaked havoc on our poor little In-Sink-Erator.

Uh-Oh. After a couple of whirls, the disposal came to a halt, but continued making a pathetic whining noise. If not simply to mock me, the sound left me with no suspicion that I had made a mistake.

My dad walked in to the kitchen while I was inelegantly scooping handfuls of scarred potato peels from the depths of the sink into the garbage can on the floor beside me. This was not a pleasant sight for him. He made it clear that he couldn't believe my foolish ignorance, which made me feel embarrassed, but also defensive. This is the kind of lesson you have to be taught or learn from experience. Up until this point in my life, the disposal had always existed as some sort of magical contraption with no limit to its destructive capabilities. To refrain from depositing several pounds worth of potato peelings in it is not simply innate knowledge. Common sense? Perhaps some will say so. But I was trying to help and all I can say is that I didn't know.

Thanksgiving dinner was to begin presently. My dad and I were elbow-deep in russet membranes. I was whisked off with the rest of the family to participate in the festivities at my Grandparents' house (only a few miles away) while my father valliantly remained to fix the horrible mess. That dinner was tainted with the taste of guilt and shame. Apparently my dad had a hell of a time unclogging the drain, and joined the Holiday celebration round about the time we were clearing dessert plates. I'm not even sure if it was fixed at that point, maybe we had to buy a new disposal.

I'm really sorry for ruining Thanksgiving that one time, Dad. I hope I've made up for it in other ways throughout the years and you've forgiven me.


Jeni said...

My hubby has 3 sisters, they never grew up with a garbage disposal... so they once but the remains of artichoke's down our disposal... 3 of them to be precise.
You would think after the many hours we spent fixing it that a lesson would be learned... but no. Since then they have tried MANY potato peels, and I think the last time was celery. They no longer run it without my permission!!! lol

Bridget said...

Weird. I thought I commented. I loved this story. I'm sure you've been forgiven by now.


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