*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.
It's been decades, and we still tell the story of the year my father threw the Christmas turkey out the kitchen window, took a trip to the hospital, and wound up eating grilled cheese sandwiches with brown gravy for Christmas dinner.
It was Christmas morning, and our family was all in the kitchen, preparing for the big feast. But things were going wrong from the start. My mother was trying to cook the turkey, but it wouldn't cook properly. My father got mad and started throwing things around the kitchen. Then he saw the uncooked turkey and picked it up. He threw it out the window and went to get his coat on.
"Where are you going?" my mother asked.
"Out to get a cooked turkey because this one isn't working!" My father replied, annoyed with his wife's inability to cook the turkey properly. Our family tried to stop him, but it was too late.
My father had stormed out the door and was halfway down the street when he remembered he hadn't even taken his wallet with him. He turned around to head back home but slipped on the ice and fell, hitting his head on the pavement. He lay there for a few seconds before he passed out completely.
Hours later, my father woke up in hospital with bandages wrapped all over his head.
He felt disoriented and couldn't remember how he had gotten there, but then he realized that he had missed out on Christmas dinner. That's when it all came back to him.
"Wait... what happened?" my father asked my mother.
She explained what had happened while trying not to laugh.
Fortunately, my father could come home in time for a late Christmas dinner. The hospital discharged him, and we drove him home. The only problem was that there was no Christmas dinner to be eaten.
There was no Christmas dinner for two reasons. First, my father had thrown the main attraction out the window earlier in the day. Second, once he fell, hit his head, and went to the hospital in an ambulance, any thought of cooking took flight.
We arrived home and sat around the table with our stomachs rumbling. My mother rustled around the kitchen, preparing whatever she could find in the fridge now that our turkey was lying outside on the ground.
"Grilled cheese sandwiches," my mother announced triumphantly as she set the plate of sandwiches on the table, and we all took a sandwich or two. The whole family ate eagerly as my mother's words rang in my ears: "I've even got some gravy for the sandwiches, so it's basically dinner."
The table was silent for a few minutes, except, of course, for the sound of chewing.
"Who eats grilled cheese sandwiches for Christmas dinner?" my father muttered with his head still bandaged.
We all laughed... except him.