Wait For It… a blog by Andy Ross

Thanksgiving Story

Posted on November 25, 2010

Tonight, after a long Thanksgiving with my relatives, I'm full of turkey and passive-aggressive tension. Both are tiring. So, instead of my usual bit of wordy, pedantic nonsense, I thought I'd share a true story. It's about my parents' first Thanksgiving:

My father and mother started dating while she was in grad school and he was working at the phone company to save up for law school.

The first time my grandparents met him, it was at his black-satin-sheeted bachelor pad. (He had picked up some European flair while serving in Italy in the navy.) I guess it wasn't the best first impression. Especially because my grandfather was an imposing figure--the head of surgery at the Cleveland Clinic.

So, my dad was trying very hard to make a better second impression when my mom dragged him to Thanksgiving in Cleveland that year.

He bought a couple of roasted chickens in preparation for the trip, and he practiced carving them until he had it down to a science. When the big day arrived, he graciously offered to carve the turkey.

Swip, swip, swip. He honed the knife against the sharpening steel, and with a grand flourish, he sliced into the turkey. White meat, dark meat--it was as effortless and beautiful as a magician fanning a deck of cards. The turkey simply unfolded before the family at the table.

With a cocky grin, my dad looked up at his future father-in-law and said, "Well, Doctor, how's that for a handsome bit of surgery?"

"Nice job, hot shot," replied my grandfather. "Now let's see you put it back together."

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.


Thanksgiving Parade Float

Posted on November 12, 2010

I'm having the hardest time brainstorming my float for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. I wouldn't say I'm blocked per se, but for whatever reason, I can't come up with a concept. Turkeys? A cornucopia? What is this, amateur hour?

First, I thought I'd do a falling leaf motif. Maybe me and some Broadway celebrity friends gliding down from giant maple leaf parachutes. But, then I remembered that I did a parachute thing in 2004.

I had an idea for a float made out of fall berries--cranberries, juniper berries, lingonberries, mistletoe. That's a great motif, but what do you do with it? Make one giant berry out of other berries? Too meta.

Maybe a mobile ice skating rink? One sharp turn, though, and a triple lutz turns into a triple klutz. (Ha! At least I still have my sense of humor.)

It's nearly impossible to come up with something never done before. Let alone top my float from last year. How do you beat Bruno the Christmas Llama? The king head wears a heavy crown.

It's no help that the Macy's people are pressuring me for my technical specs. Can't they just trust that I'll have the best float again? I guess it makes sense after I did that 1:4 scale replica of the Chrysler Building. They had to widen 5th Avenue, but everyone agreed it was worth it.

Maybe a working rocket ship shaped like a sweet potato? How about a giant, smashed jack-o'-lantern? Is that too cynical? I don't want the television audience thinking I'm belittling Thanksgiving. I learned my lesson after my "Armchair Quarterback" float. One too many potato chip crumbs and suddenly it's a class statement.

I've got to come up with something soon. This isn't like the Rose Bowl Parade; I can't just slap a few mums onto chicken wire and call it "Splendor of Hope" or some bullshit.

Listen, I'm going to lock myself in my office, and I'm not coming out until I have an idea for my float. If I'm not out by lunchtime, please bring me some tomato soup and... Wait a minute! Tomato soup and a sandwich! It's so subtle, so comforting and universal. To the drafting board!