Turkey Day Etiquette

By Jean Godden, Times Staff Columnist
From The Seattle Times, Wednesday, November 27, 1996


	It's been 145 years since the first white settlers landed at Alki 
	Beach at Thanksgiving time, took one look at the overcast skies 
	and the sodden, rain-soaked West Seattle terrain, and burst into 
	tears.

	(History, alas, doesn't record the response of the Native Americans 
	when they spotted those tear-drenched settlers.  But they probably 
	were too polite to laugh out loud.)

	In the intervening years, the first residents and the settlers have
	worked out the rules for Thanksgiving, Puget Sound style.  Here they
	are, recently updated by an ad hoc Turkey Day committee:

	DRESS CODE:  
		Thanksgiving Day guests will arrive wearing Seattle tuxes:
		clean jeans, turtleneck sweaters and down jackets with 
		weathered ski-lift tags.  Hiking boots are optional.

	CONVERSATION'S GAMBIT:
		Topics will include:  1) the election; 2) previous 
		elections; and, 3) the next election.  Several arguments 
		will ensue before the host or hostess declares politics 
		"off-limits."

	CLEANERS' COROLLARY:  
		Spills will happen in direct proportion to the staining 
		capacity of the dish (cranberry sauce rates high) and the
		expense of dry cleaning the garment.

	CHRISTMAS CONVENTION:  
		If you are attending a family gathering, expect this reminder:  
		"Don't forget to bring your Christmas list to Thanksgiving 
		dinner."

	MEOW'S MOMENT:  
		The family cat will appear long enough to 1) shed hair on 
		anyone wearing a black or navy-blue sweater; 2) perch on the 
		lap of whoever most dislikes cats; and, 3) insist on sharing 
		the smoked-salmon hors d'oeuvres.

	OLD-TIMERS' LAMENT:  
		Some oldster in the group will remark that it's a rotten 
		shame there's no longer a Turkey Day football game between 
		Puget Sound and Seattle high-school champs.

	ELBOW'S LAW:  
		Local custom calls for every left-handed diner to be seated 
		to the right of a right-handed diner, maximizing chances for
		spills.

	PORCELAIN'S PROGRESS:  
		At least two different patterns of dinnerware must be visible 
		on the table during every course.
	
	SALAD LAW:  
		Tossed salads supplied by guests will arrive with an excess
		of moisture, supplied by ambient rainfall.  If the day is 
		merely overcast, the host or hostess should add water before 
		serving.
	
	MOLDED SALAD LAW:  
		Guaranteed to do one of three things:  contain miniature 
		marshmallows, fail to unmold properly, or slide off the
		serving plate onto the lap of one of the diners.

	GRAVY'S CONSTANT:  
		The silver gravy boat -- a wedding present from Great Aunt 
		Emma and Uncle Ed -- will vanish before the meal.  It will 
		show up next summer when you're searching for beach towels.

	TURKEY'S GRIPE: 
		One vegetarian guest will complain about the fare, saying, 
		"Why can't we ever have tofu au gratin?"

	PIE'S PARADOX:  
		Provide two kinds of pie and diners will either decline or 
		ask for "a sliver of both."

	POLLYANNA'S PRINCIPLE:  
		Guests will include one orphan, someone from out of town who 
		can't make it home.  If no orphan is available, the family
		oddball can substitute.

	REFRIGERATOR'S RULE:
		After all guests depart, at least one never-served dish will 
		turn up in the refrigerator.

	DEPARTURE'S RULE:  
		Some guests will arrive very early; some will show up late.  
		But they'll all leave at the same time.








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