Drop That Smartphone, Or The Turkey Gets It!
Every year I swear that I’m not hosting Thanksgiving. And I always change my mind, knowing that it will take me three days to transform my tiny apartment into a place fit for human habitation. Though it’s almost certain that I will die of exhaustion after giving the turkey its once-in-a-deathtime butter massage before gently placing it into the roaster, there’s nothing quite like a turkey dinner that attracts rarely-seen family to my door.
I find myself actually looking forward to the spine-snapping job of single-handedly preparing supper for twelve on Turkey Day. I’ve been doing this almost every year since I was 21, and it just wouldn’t be the same without the aroma of roasting turkey wafting through my home. After a day of Black Friday window shopping when I can’t afford to actually buy anything, those leftovers are comforting. But in recent years, things have changed. Horribly.
Before smartphones arrived on their spaceship named The Bane of Social Interaction, Thanksgiving used to be a wonderful holiday. My home would be filled with women meandering in and out of the kitchen for drinks or a chat, lending a helping hand with the food. The men would congregate in the living room to watch football, their cheers accompanied by Cheetos flying through the air to be found six months later when we decided to vacuum under the couch. Then, after what seemed like forever, I’d announce dinner and we’d cram our bellies full of enough delectables to feed all of Cleveland. After we’d eaten, someone would run out for that enormous, wrist-spraining Black Friday newspaper so we could noisily pass it around , enjoy pumpkin pie, and look at all the store ads. Good times.
Thanksgiving is a lot quieter these days.
Post-smartphones, Turkey Day is still filled with family, food, and football. But now, it also features do-it-all devices that seem to be Super-glued to their owner’s hands. Our newspaper’s arrival has been outstripped by my guests silently using their phones to view online ads, just so they can high-tail it out of there to go shopping. Which leaves me feeling extremely insulted. After spending three days preparing my house and a grand meal, I at least expect my guests to show the courtesy of sticking around til at least 7pm. Is that too much to ask?
Let me tell you a true story. It was 2004, before the smartphone invasion. Easter Sunday arrived, and with it, my entire family at my grandmother’s house. I’m thankful that no one had a smartphone that day, because I might have missed out on sharing a memorable afternoon at the kitchen table with my aunt, whom I was very close to. I didn’t know it at the time, but that day was to be the last time I would see her alive, for she died unexpectedly the following July at the age of 47.
For all you know, this Thanksgiving could be the last time your entire family is together. Do you really want your relatives’ last memory of you to be an image of you with your eyes on your phone? Is checking your social media really more important than familial interaction? It’s a holiday, for crying out loud. One day. No matter what holiday it is, you can put down your phone for a few hours. The world will not end, I promise. Perhaps you’ll learn what’s really important by doing so, and you may just discover that you appreciate that special time with your loved ones. You never know when it will be the last time you see them.
I am the author of "For Her Courage," which is available at www.Lulu.com. I've been an avid writer for the last twenty years, and I am currently working on a young adult fantasy series that is being edited by my friend and fellow author Deborah Glaefke Gilbert, a former professional editor and Cleveland State English professor. I also have a humor book in the works, along with another fantasy series.