‘Thanksgiving for Strays’ in Colorado | PostIndependent.com

‘Thanksgiving for Strays’ in Colorado

Most everyone in the United States knows of the Pilgrims and the Indians who joined together for the first Thanksgiving in America. Few know of the strange stories of non-native Coloradans who share the Thanksgiving table in any way that makes them feel “at home” for the holidays.Pilgrim Gov. William Bradford is credited with proclaiming a day of thanks smothered in giving between early American colonists and their proud predecessors, the Native Americans. It is the scores of young ski bums, snowboarders, and all-around outdoor enthusiasts who move to Colorado for the mountain location who created the “Thanksgiving for Strays” tradition, quite possibly named by my co-worker Dan’s friend Leslie from Eagle-Vail.The menu at a “traditional” Thanksgiving dinner may include favorites made by mom – roasted turkey with all the trimmings, oyster stuffing, sweet potatoes, cranberry relish, old-fashioned green beans, deviled eggs, sweet rolls and pumpkin pie. The food selection at a Thanksgiving for Strays may be like mom’s home-cooked meal, but there is always something a little out of the ordinary, whether it has to do with the meal itself or those in attendance.Dan recalls a Thanksgiving for Strays with a guest list that included a Willie Nelson look-alike. He didn’t sing “Blue Eyes Cryin’ in the Rain,” but his presence alone at the dinner table was like a classic Thanksgiving for Strays country song.Two unnamed Carbondale comrades remember a Thanksgiving for Strays of the past featuring seven non-natives and one uncooked turkey. Their attempts to smoke this particular turkey lasted three long, intoxicating days. Plan A quickly crumbled upon the discovery that the gas smoker was rusted completely. Plan B involved a charcoal contraption, and unfortunately for these novice turkey cooks, they failed to keep the charcoal smoker hot enough to smoke the turkey thoroughly without causing salmonella poisoning. The “chefs” tried until Saturday before giving up on the nearly raw bird. The resulting Thanksgiving for Strays involved a steamy hot tub full of twenty somethings and enough beer to fill it. Not so bad, really, even though Mom would probably not approve.april: see page A10april: from page A8This year my friends and I are in the midst of planning a Thanksgiving for Strays that sounds traditional in regards to the shopping list: a healthy 22-pound turkey, many cans of chicken broth, scores of fresh rosemary and sage, a plethora of brown sugar, and eggs – lots and lots of eggs. But it’s the possibility of foiled family recipes, non-traditional pitch-in items and drunken football and wood-chopping-contest wagers that will most likely make this a Thanksgiving for Strays to remember.Even better, there has been talk of a guest who may attend with a nickname that includes “two-tooth” (and that’s not because he only has two teeth – it’s quite the opposite, actually). Also, it was suggested during the pre-planning phase that my friend Brian from Miami was going to cook up a batch of fish. Since the three party planners are from land-locked Indiana and we prefer the aroma of roasting turkey to the aforementioned stinky dish, we decided to override that idea completely. There will be no mention of fish at our Thanksgiving for Strays. Brian will bring pecan pie and he will like it, and most importantly, so will I. April E. Clark enjoys oysters in her stuffing and the Thanksgiving turkey fully-cooked. She can be reached at aclark@postindependent.com

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