A Pug Thanksgiving
When Hannah told me we were going to see Tucker and Whitney, I was super excited. I couldn't wait to play with them and chase Jack Jack the cat. Now that I have arrived, my excitement is waning. The house is filled to the brim with people of all sizes- from tiny children to giant men. Anywhere I go, someone wants to pet my head or pick me up. Ben and Lucy are running around with other children; Hannah and Nate are ignoring me. I can't escape the madness.
With all the commotion in the house, I follow the lead of Tucker and Whitney. I curl up on the couch next to Whitney in between two unfamiliar bodies. I try to fall asleep, but the noise in the house is deafening. It's no use. I get up and wander towards the kitchen, following my nose. The smell is overwhelming, but in the best possible way. I wonder what they are cooking.
The kitchen is busy with activity; I have to walk carefully to avoid being trampled. My nose leads me in front of the oven. Unfortunately, the oven is in the center of the kitchen, surrounded by moving feet. I take a step back and try to see in the oven, but I am too short to look in the window.
I see a foot coming towards me and I jump to the right. I can't stay in the kitchen any longer if I want to stay in one piece. I walk back to the couch and jump next to Tucker. From this spot, I have the perfect vantage point of the kitchen. I sit and wait, hoping to see what is giving off the delicious odor.
Not long after I sit down, the kitchen mysteriously clears. Most of the group vacates to the living room. I leave my spot on the couch, and someone claims my seat moments later. I don't mind. I'm willing to give it up to figure out what is cooking in the kitchen.
I walk straight to the oven and stand on my hind legs. The oven is warm to the touch on my paws. I look into the window. The window is dark, but I can make out the outline of something. It is big and sort of round with a pale color. I have never seen anything like it. Honestly, it looks disgusting. I jump off the oven, disappointed.
How could something so ugly smell so good?
I wander around the kitchen looking for scraps. I find a few bits of cheese and crackers under the table before returning to the living room. A spot is open next to Hannah, so I claim it and lie down.
I can’t sleep with the noise and activity. After what seems like an eternity of trying to fall asleep, Hannah carefully gets off the couch and heads to the kitchen. I follow her.
"Is the bird ready to take out?" she asks.
Bird? That's one big bird.
"I think so."
"Great! That means it's almost dinner time," she says. "Z, come here." She walks away from the oven to the other side of the kitchen.
We watch as Nate's dad opens the oven door and reaches inside. He pulls out something completely different than what I saw. It is golden brown, almost a pug color brown. It looks moist and tender. And, oh my, the smell. It reminds me of chicken, but tastier. I need to get a piece.
“The turkey looks and smells great," Hannah says as Nate's dad places it on the table.
Turkey? What kind of bird is a turkey?
I hop onto a chair in the kitchen and stare at the magnificent cooked turkey bird. While I fixate on it, the rest of the kitchen is a blur. People are moving everywhere and carrying food to the table, to the counter, and back again. They are shouting to one another and laughing, so I sit and wait. The turkey bird is unreachable at the moment, but at some point I know an opportunity will arise for me to take a sample bite. Or two. Or three.
I watch as Nate's dad cuts up the turkey bird. I am a little sad watching the giant bird being dismantled into bite-sized pieces. But, in the long run, I know it's better for me if it is sliced. It's a lot easier for me to get my paws on a slice, than on the whole big turkey bird.
All of the food, including slices of the bird, is resting on the counter in the middle of the kitchen. It's impossible for me to reach the counter unless someone lifts me up. Eventually the food will move to plates around the table and the opportunity will come.
The seats are filling up around me. Children and adults are staking their claim on chairs. I know it's only a matter of time before someone sits on me, so I hop to the ground. I look for the kids' section of the table, the gold mine for scavenging.
Lucy sits down on the far end of the long table. The table is the longest I have ever seen. You could have twenty pugs sitting on chairs! Sitting next to Lucy is a boy smaller than her. He is the lucky winner today; he will be my helper on the turkey quest.
In a few minutes, the room is quiet and the table is full with people and plates. I sit next to the small boy and wait. He eats for a few minutes and then stops. He backs his chair up.
"Christopher, you need to eat more before you get up," a woman says from across the room.
"But Mom, I'm not hungry," the boy says.
"You need to eat the rest of your turkey and potatoes." The boy looks at his plate. I take my opportunity. I walk over to the far side of him, hidden from his mom's view. I put my front paws on his lap.
"Hi Zelda," he whispers.
This is it. I know it.
I leap on to his lap. My head is at table height, but I can't reach the turkey. I put a paw on the table.
"Zelda, down," Hannah yells from the far end of the table.
It's now or never.
I put my other paw on the plate and reach for the slice of turkey. I grab for it with my mouth, but as I put my weight on my front paws, the plate flips toward me. The turkey flies to me and I catch it in my mouth. I leap off the table and on to the ground out of the way. With the turkey in my mouth, I look up.
The plate is upside down on the boy's lap.
I'm in trouble.
I bolt for the living room, but I slow down when I hear laughter. I stop and turn, setting the turkey on the floor. The table is erupting with laughter; I am okay. I listen to the conversation as I take my first bite.
"I can't believe what just happened."
"Zelda must have really wanted some turkey."
"Christopher, let's get you cleaned up."
"This will be something to remember for years."
I savor the turkey. It does remind me of chicken, but juicier. After the first bite, I gobble the rest of it in seconds.
"Happy Thanksgiving Zelda," Nate shouts. The table laughs. I lick my lips and smile.