• John McGary, Woodford Sun Staff

Here's Johnny - Thanksgiving fun, 2017

Some folks say the best things about Thanksgiving are family and food.

To that, I’d add a third best thing, and might well rank it higher than the first two.

I’m referring, of course, to the instigation of mild disputes, be they food-related or not, between family members.

At this Thanksgiving, no one fought over food, because there was plenty of it, but there was a wee bit of controversy over something else, thanks to you-know-who.

Allow me to set the table, so to speak.

My mother hosted Thanksgiving at her southwest Lexington home. Attendees began arriving a few minutes after 2 p.m., including myself, The Hatchling (aka my 19-year-old daughter, Anna) and her mother, my brother and his spousal unit, and their three children.

The food was great and so was the first football game of the day, a matchup of my favorite NFL team since childhood, the Minnesota Vikings, and those perennial Thanksgiving turkeys, the Detroit Lions. (Yes, I’m aware that before this year, the Lions had won four Thanksgiving games in a row, but I had to work the word “turkey” into this column, in part because we had ham at my mother’s.)

My brother’s youngest, Jeremy, is six-years-old and, even for a child of that age, not especially fond of taking directions, suggestions or hints from his elders. His sister, Suzette, three years older than him, is much less independent-minded.

After watching Jeremy play with a puzzle and do other things as enthusiastically and loudly as he pleased for a few hours, I decided to have some fun at everyone else’s expense, particularly his parents.

The Tweety Bird puzzle came in a box that promised 100 pieces. However, The Hatchling and her mother were pretty sure there were more than that, and while I didn’t care how many pieces there were, I did see the opportunity for some puzzling behavior.

After my brother told Jeremy and Suzette to put the puzzle back in the box and get ready to leave, I amended his order.

“Hey, you kids should count the pieces before you put them back so we’ll know exactly how many there are and so next Thanksgiving won’t be ruined,” I helpfully suggested.

It played out just as I’d dreamed, and I felt like a James Bond villain whose plan actually worked.

The children enthusiastically jumped into their task, but within seconds, the competing accounting firms started to clash.

By the time Suzette had counted to six, Jeremy had begun counting on his own, with his own collection, and I had begun chuckling. As Jeremy’s pace picked up, Suzette expressed her frustration, and I was laughing so hard that I nearly expressed my second plate of food.

Eventually, The Hatchling jumped in to oversee matters, taking those handed from Suzette, arranging them in blocks of ten, then putting them back into the box.

Jeremy’s work wasn’t done, however, which meant that mine wasn’t either.

Because the youngest of us wasn’t running the show, he became dead-set on sabotaging the inaugural Thanksgiving Puzzle Piece Count of 2017. He began handing The Hatchling several pieces at a time, each time giving her a number different than the number actually in his hands.

Being 13 years older, however, and a pretty smart cookie besides, she saw through his scheme and, as far as I could tell, kept an accurate tally.

The final census, overseen by the accounting firm of The Hatchling, Inc. with varying levels of assistance from two less established accounting firms, revealed a count of 108.

Meanwhile, my chuckles and belly laughs had burned at least 14 calories, or about one spoonful of the delicious corn pudding of which I’d consumed two servings.

The Vikings won, no one was seriously injured in Detroit or at Mom’s house, and a new holiday tradition was born.

I’d call that a pretty good Thanksgiving, and only partly because it gave birth to this column.

Hope yours was, too.

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