Editor's Column: This Thanksgiving, pass the rolls

Let’s face it, Thanksgiving dinner is rather boring. For all the buildup to the big holiday, all we do is eat, chat a bit between swallows, and waddle away from the table like one-third of the turducken we just ate.

The dinner itself needs to be livened up, a thought that occurs to me every year as I’m deciding whether to fish a carrot out of the gravy. About that time somebody down the table says “pass me a roll, please,” and I have an irresistible urge to grab one, grasp it firmly in my throwing hand, and fire it down to the startled person who made the request. It’s great fun to see if they can overcome their shock to catch the roll, or if it catches them on the forehead.

This urge harkens back to my kids’ table days, when we did indeed throw rolls when we could get away with it. It was the best part of Thanksgiving. And even some of the adults in the family weren’t beyond having a little fun with their food. Generally, roll-throwing is something women don’t condone, although I’ve got a 90-year-old aunt in Spokane who I’m sure can still throw a doughy two-seamer like a Felix Hernandez fastball. I still lob an occasional roll on Thanksgiving, but only to an immediate family member who might remember the old days. The younger generation and all the new in-laws seem to be a bit too dignified for such behavior.

My ideal Thanksgiving dinner is one in which whenever someone says “pass me a roll, please,” they are prepared for the response. If several people are asking for rolls, there would be a crossfire of flying rolls. Seeing all those airborne rolls might make you hungry, so you just reach out and intercept one without even having to ask. Eating dinner would be more of a challenge as you’re always alert for a roll heading your way. Nobody wants to get beaned by a roll.

The other option for having fun with rolls was popularized by one of my grandfathers. “Do you wanna roll?,” you’d say, trying to be polite to your elders. “Certainly,” he’d respond. Then he’d stand up, step away from the table, and do a somersault. “Thanks, I feel better now, do you wanna roll?” And then you’d have to get up and do a somersault.

I’m a bit doubtful that literally rolling on the carpet will ever become as tempting as throwing rolls to liven up a dull holiday meal. Everyone doing somersaults around the Thanksgiving table might be a little dangerous, especially if Aunt Martha lands on you, and the gravy might get cold before all the participants can complete the challenge and sit back down at the table. And there’s always the possibility of being sued by some humorless shirttail relative. Still, the kids are sure to love it and it certainly breaks up the Thanksgiving dinner boredom of either chewing or talking, or doing both at once. That’s real exciting.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner Thursday, and for the sake of the kids, make it more memorable with a little roll playing.

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