An open letter at Thanksgiving
Dear Peppermint Patty, your behavior at Thanksgiving took the cake. Or should I say, took the pumpkin pie? First, you assumed Chuck would welcome you to his Thanksgiving, and on top of that, you invited two more friends without even consulting Chuck. You think you know what’s on Chuck’s mind, but how could you know, when you never let him finish a sentence?
I heard his defense over the snafu. “You can’t explain anything to Peppermint Patty. You can never get a word in edgewise.” Yes, he should have opened his mouth and been more assertive. But I’m not talking about his behavior today.
Poor Chuck has his faithful friend Linus. Linus is the guy you want to be stuck with in a sticky situation, because he makes you feel like everything’s going to be all right. THREE uninvited guests are crashing his pal’s Thanksgiving dinner—and his friend isn’t even having Thanksgiving dinner at his house. Patty, you have Linus to thank for the “meal” served up on Charlie Brown’s ping-pong-table.
But how dare you, a guest, criticize what you’ve been served? Did you even offer to bring anything? Did you contribute any money to the dinner expenses? Did you offer to come early and help set the table or cook? A whole team came together to do something for you to enjoy. All right, maybe buttered toast, popcorn, pretzel sticks, jelly beans, and a mysterious-looking parfait is heavy on the carbs. It wasn’t what you wanted or expected. But you sat there and ripped apart someone’s effort to do something for you.
Sometimes we must remind ourselves to have good manners, especially when confronted with people who have extremely bad manners. Because I see you, Peppermint Patty. You’re not just a kid, either. Kids are still learning manners, which comes with lots of practice.
You’re the 25 year old Peppermint Patty who complains about having green bean casserole “again” this year. Well, you’re an adult, so act like one. Maybe you could prepare or buy something you especially like for Thanksgiving dinner and enjoy a generous helping of that.
You’re the 30-something woman who shrieks at her husband because he bought the wrong whipped cream. Did you know, he stood in line for 30 minutes at HEB because you forgot it when you shopped the first time? Be thankful you have a man willing to accept your mistakes, and cut him a little slack.
You’re the older Patty in your sixties who feels like you must control everyone. Out of all the Peppermint Patties in the world, you should know better. Unfortunately, there’s no pleasing you when someone tries to help with Thanksgiving dinner, because your menu is the only authorized version. Maybe after 40 years of serving Thanksgiving dinner, everyone is ready for something new instead of your tired sweet potato casserole. But you won’t let anyone help, and if they do, you pick apart their efforts.
It’s bad manners at any time of year, but especially bad at Thanksgiving. Shame on us who should know better. It’s a worse travesty than tofu turkey. So before you rant about what someone hasn’t done for you, look at what they’ve tried to do, and say only two words: Thank you. And happy THANKSgiving. Not COMPLAINTgiving.