Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Tuesday, March 5

Gapers Block

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr


Andrew Huff / November 24, 2009 12:13 AM

Suggested by Robyn, inspired by this Gawker post. Got a question for Fuel? Send it to inbox{at}

JJ / November 24, 2009 12:57 AM

Bitter story: many Thanksgivings were spent listening to my older cousin (who I've never been close to) graphically describe her sexual exploits while we hung out in our basement while my mom endured entertaining my (insane, troubled) aunt and uncle upstairs. My cousin was only a few years older, but was heavily into drugs and boys, and bragged loudly of abortions and girlfights. I glanced over at my Barbies in the corner, wishing I could play with them. We could not have been more opposite.

When my mother died a few years ago, this same cousin cornered me at the funeral luncheon to tell me how much she'll miss getting high and then calling my mom to chat. She was a loser then and is a loser now.

JAP / November 24, 2009 3:53 AM

My sister's apartment. 1996? Over the course of two days each member of my family contracted a fast-moving virus that caused uncontrollable vomiting AND diarrhea. Recall vividly being turned away at the bathroom due to my dad occupying the space and having to wait for my mom to finish puking at the sink so I could spew turkey and all the trimmin's. No less than 6 people were made ill that Thanksgiving. Like a Rockwell painting, covered in sour, acidic gravy.

Mrs. Foote / November 24, 2009 9:25 AM

199. Spent the early hours in the ER with my dad, followed by a late morning stint in my sister's Wheaton kitchen cooking a dinner while she played the role of angel of mercy at said ER. I did get the meal cooked and nobody ate it. That year, I was thankful that my dad lived to see another Christmas. My sis SHOULD have been thankful that I did not choke her to death, but she was thankful that my dad's illness did not prevent her from spending the winter in Florida.

shechemist / November 24, 2009 9:53 AM

I was pregnant with the eldest and we traveled to the In-Laws. My MIL had become a horder so the place was cramped and packed full of weird stuff. MIL complained to me about the amount of toliet paper I was using (hello! Pregnant! I needed to pee every hour!). She also asked me to name the kid after her, and when I explained we had picked out names and we were using a variation on my (dead) mother's name. I thought that would have closed the issue. Nope. 10 mins later my husband walks in and she starts in on him about naming the kid after her. Good gravy.

joshua / November 24, 2009 11:12 AM

not the worst, but definitely the most memorable. i was backpacking in australia with my best friend. he and i just finished exploring frazer island and were going to celebrate thanksgiving by bucking our $5-a-day regimen and going out for steaks.
before heading out, we light up a huge spliff with our new scottish friend gary. gary wasn't used to such potent stuff and walked into a sliding glass door on our way out of the hostel. now i'm dying laughing, but am trying to comfort and reassure him at the same time.
this just freaks gary out further, who goes to the front desk and calls an ambulance for himself because he thinks he's going to die. ambulance comes and takes him to the hospital. hostel staff then drives my friend and me to check on him, but by this time we're famished and so get kfc drive-thru on the way.
now, my friend and i are scarfing kfc in hospital waiting room when gary is released.
he still can't look at me (i'm the one who made him smoke devil weed!) but my buddy with a drumstick in hand tries to reason with him.
we all go back to the hostel together and gary spends the rest of then night wandering the streets of hervey bay alone, unwilling to go to sleep, convinced i'm going to steal his soul.

annie / November 24, 2009 11:19 AM

2004. Was in the process of a divorce and went out on "Black Wednesday", got tipsy, drove my car and hit a parked car. Owner of the car came flying out of the house and was threatening my life, cops came, had to do a serious of tests, miraculously passed them but I had to total the car, that I didn't own, it was the soon to be ex's..he didn't want to split up at that point and so he did join my family for Thanksgiving dinner and because he was such an ass decided to tell everyone why I had a fat lip. We were divorced a few months later. (I have never drank and drove again, I consider myself lucky and super stupid!)

Brubeck / November 24, 2009 1:16 PM

I think it's coming the day after tomorrow.

Nuke LaLoosh / November 24, 2009 2:30 PM

@Brubeck -- are we going to the same Thanksgiving? Because I think my answer is the same as yours.

Tracie / November 24, 2009 5:38 PM

No good story, but my brother is a bartender, and he said that Thanksgiving and Christmas nights are his busiest nights. Now what does THAT tell you?

Cletus Warhol / November 24, 2009 6:00 PM

Unfortunately, I'm afraid I'm going to have to "third" Brubeck and Nuke.

Roxanne / November 24, 2009 6:35 PM

I am vegan, so all Thanksgivings are equally bad :(

charlie / November 25, 2009 8:18 AM

I moved to Vail Colorado when I was 21. I spent that Thanksgiving alone in a condo owned by a family friend. I think I ate Burger King take-out.

It was horrible...

kelly / November 25, 2009 9:47 AM

Mine was last year, when I brought my new boyfriend home with me from out of town. It was my family's first time meeting him, and my young niece and nephew had only ever seen me with an ex boyfriend (we had broken up about 4 months earlier). Boyfriend #2 was well aware of the situation he was walking into, and was surprisingly cool with it. We walked into the 15+ party of extended family when my nieces came screeching up to us and said "You're much cuter than the last guy!" Which was actually not that bad. But at dinner, my grandma got a little tipsy on the Zinfandel and 7up cocktails and called him by the wrong name repeatedly, at which point he finally corrected her. I don't know if she experienced selective amnesia, but Grandma immediately acted as if this were the first time she was hearing of my breakup and she immediately began asking me what happened, ignoring any and all attempts to redirect the conversation. We eventually just started talking above her, although she continued asking about my ex for the rest of the meal.

Boyfriend #2 and I are still together and going to the same dinner tomorrow. Hopefully Grandma will recognize him at this point.

Spook / November 25, 2009 2:52 PM

On one unseasonably cold Thanks Giving Day, I took the bus and train to Stroger (then Cook County) Hospital to
visit a dying friend.

I snuck them in Popeye's chicken and two forties of Mickey's, which is quite good when its really cold. We drank out of those hospital dixie cups and
I left after he cried himself to sleep. But not before the dude in the next bed( who said he was 83 and also dying) ask for the other forty, which I gave him.

Then with a
headache so
agonizing that it seemed to drip from my nose, I headed to the home of a friend whom I hadn't seen in years who then lived on the westside with his mother.

I had bumped into him five days before at the hospital visiting the above friend as well. We all grew up together.

When he found out that I had no real Thanksgiving plans he invited me to his mothers place for dinner.

When I walked in the door, it was really clear that things had gotten worse for them. They were really really poor. I had a hard time eating because it was obvious they didn't have a lot of to eat given the size of the family gathered around. And I had never seen such a small bird.

After finishing my small plate and leaving, I felt too sick to sit on a bus. I thought the cold could keep my from passing out so I walked into Pilsen and escaped the cold by ducking into a dive bar. This was the high point of the night, because I asked one of the bartenders for aspirin. Looking at me, she offered me two of her prescription
migraine pills. Although I'm not a pill popper, I gobbled them down. My headache was gone after two Heineken and 20 minutes. I had also found my winter girl friend ( the bartender) who lived a few blocks away. My friend died around Christmas in the hospital.

Visiting her was always the high point of visiting him because her bar was always filled with pretty cool artists and interesting nieghborhood denizens.

mikely / November 25, 2009 4:06 PM

Wow, I don't have a 'worst Thanksgiving' story. My family has its share of requisite minor dysfunction (mine included), but all-in-all, I'm lucky to have great parents and a great sibling. My folks are cool enough to come into town every year too, which makes it really easy for me. My mom orders a smoked turkey, my friends bring things so I only have to make a few things. My girlfriend is from Europe, so she always gets a kick out of the starch-heavy feast (but she loves it). I'm very lucky, and very thankful. I also have the best stuffing recipe of all time. Since the turkey is already smoked, I can't stuff it in the bird ... but the recipe is so moist and delicious, you'd think it had been.

FYI, the Edgewater Lounge usually has a free ham out for patrons, for those desiring a beer who haven't also stuffed themselves into a food coma. Me and my friends usually go for a nitecap.

fluffy / November 25, 2009 4:40 PM

the worst was me sleeping the day away. I was newly divorced and didn't want to deal with it. With my ex, we used to cook big dinners and invite everyone over who didn't have anywhere to go- we'd get a big crowd and it was lots of fun. The second worst was/were all the thansgivings my parents got into a fight.

mike-ts / November 26, 2009 1:30 PM

Re: Annie, forgive my devil's advocacy, but if I was in the process of breaking up with a woman, and we came together to her family's Thanksgiving with her face looking like "someone" beat her up, I'd let them know it was a car wreck and not my hands, just out of c.y.o.a.

This Thanksgiving, I'm thankful that my Thanksgivings have been A,B,C, or D+, but no F's. Even stationed in the Army overseas where our Thanksgiving Day wasn't theirs, I didn't let the lack of the Norman Rockwell thing bother me.

@Spook, God bless you man for doing something to make your dying friend's final Thanksgiving one iota less painful.

Violet Lintel / November 28, 2009 11:03 AM

It will be a challenge to put a comedic spin on this but: My mom had a stroke about five months earlier (which I was the only person present for and able to call 911) which left her in the early stages of dementia. My S.O.B. father was in total denial and insisted that she cook T.G. dinner anyway.

She burned everything and the stuff that she didn't burn tasted like shit; and I mean that literally - we were a family that enjoyed pork chitterlings (pronounced chit-lins in the particular parlance of the South). For those not in "the know" these are pigs intestines. Prepared correctly they are a delicacy. Prepared incorrectly - that is without hours of cleaning - they taste like everything you hope Hitler and Stalin get forced fed in hell.

I left that night and stayed at a friends house for the rest of winter break my freshman year at college.

I left my father's house the following year.

Mother-Fucking Thanks Giving.....

JP / November 29, 2009 1:09 PM

@Spook - that's a really beautiful story, as rough as it must have been at the time.

GB store

Recently on Fuel

Urban Ethos [26]
What is Chicago's "urban ethos"?

Cool Glass of... [16]
What're you drinking?

Supreme Decision [22]
What's your reaction to the Supreme Court's decision on the Affordable Care Act?

Taking it to the Streets [20]
Chicago Street Fairs: Revolting or Awesome?

I Can Be Cruel [9]
Be real: what is the meanest thing you've ever done?

View the complete archive

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15