Judy Kucharuk: I don’t know what’s worse, brussels sprouts or holiday turkey games


Ah, Thanksgiving! A day where we over-eat and yet the bowl of roasted brussels sprouts remains untouched for another year.

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What is it with brussels sprouts that the mere mention of them that activates the gag reflex? We tried to explain to our dinner party attendees over the weekend that these were not their mother’s brussels sprouts and yet, there were few takers.

Our Thanksgiving was picturesque, a table filled with a bounty that was almost embarrassing, surrounding by family that were thankful, grateful, and relieved that we had dispensed with the game playing that I had initiated earlier.

Does your family play games? No, not mind games, that’s a given. I’m talking about games like charades or Pictionary, or Never Have I Ever. In my infinite wisdom, I suggested we play the game Never Have I Ever, but I didn’t know that was the name of it so I called it Two Lies And One Truth. Actually, we all spent the first five minutes considering two truths and one lie until someone asked, “Isn’t that backward?”

You know that moment when your vein is pulsing so aggressively in your forehead that you’re certain you’re about to have a stroke? That’s exactly how I felt as I herded my family towards a common goal of scribing their two lies and one truth.

“This is hard!” they exclaimed, and I could hear heavy sighs throughout the room.

I think I said something like, “We are going to play this darn game and enjoy it!” as I struggled to wrangle the group towards the finish line.

It doesn’t help that my dad is hard of hearing and hearing aids make it difficult to listen when a group is clucking like chickens. It also doesn’t help when someone vanishes halfway through the exercise to have a cigarette or mix a drink and you have to explain everything two or three times.

“Is everyone finished?!” I yelled above the din of conversation.

My voice had taken on a sharp edge and my smile had all but vanished. I began counting the people in the living room as if we had just evacuated to a muster station in the middle of an emergency. I wanted to be assured that everyone was in the room so we could start.

“Dad, you go first please,” I said.

“Why me first? Is it because I am the oldest?” he replied sullenly, deliberately trying to get a rise out of me.

It worked, as his comment made me snap a bit and I yelled for everyone to shut up so dad could give us his two truths and one lie — er, his two lies and one truth. I was clearly frustrated and felt like I was losing control of the room. Games are supposed to be fun, right?

One by one, we went around the room and about halfway through I realized that perhaps this game wasn’t the best choice. My family members have vivid imaginations and a proclivity for hyperbole and some of the lies were disconcerting to say the least.

If a stranger had walked in without any prep of the proceedings, they would have assumed were a family of criminals and deviants. Finally, the game ended and with it, my patience. I gathered up the papers and pens, snatching them from outstretched hands thinking, this is what I get for forgetting to create one of those saran-wrapped balls full of goodies so we could play the same mindless game we played at Christmas last year.

Hey Judy, you know what game we should have played? That game with the saran wrapped ball of goodies where we…

Judy Kucharuk is a lover of sarcasm, witty people and footnotes. Follow her @judylaine 

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