How the Dogs Destroyed Our Thanksgiving

Way back, almost 30 years ago, the moment my wife and I got engaged, we immediately went to the animal shelter to adopt a dog. 

We found nothing, and, discouraged, we resigned ourselves to a trip every week or so till we found the perfect companion. 

But as we were walking back to the parking lot, a man was walking in with a box of puppies. There were eight total: four tan baby Golden Retrievers and four black puppies whose breed we could not tell. “Same litter, different fathers,” he suspected. I guess “mom” got around.

We played with them all and picked the two with the biggest personality. It was a tossup. I fell in love with a Golden and she fell in love with a little black one. Which do we pick? 

We each had our favorite, we each had fallen in love with one — so we picked them both.

Of course we all think our dogs are the greatest dogs ever, but these really were. 

After they turned about a year old, we were preparing for Thanksgiving dinner. I don’t recall if we were going elsewhere and taking the turkey or if we had guests coming to us. 

In any case, when the turkey was done, it went out on the countertop to cool down, and we left the kitchen. 

Suddenly it got very quiet. 

With puppies, you learn very quickly that if things get too quiet, a dog is in the closet eating a shoe or something. But we had never imagined this.

Leo, the Golden, had jumped up on the counter and dragged the entire turkey pan to the floor, grease and all. Somehow we didn’t hear the crash. 

Both dogs devoured the entire 16-pound turkey, eating every bit of it to the bone before we discovered them. 

Our Thanksgiving was ruined and we had a giant mess to clean up, but we had a good laugh and the dogs took a long, tryptophan-induced, full-belly nap.

Memories of Thanksgiving

What I love about Thanksgiving is that there are so many memories. There was the year I had a temper tantrum and threw my loaded plate across the room, where it crashed into the wall, then to the floor. I can remember my aunt whispering, “That kid is spoiled and needs a good spanking.” She was right, and I got one.

I can remember my dad’s friend Raymond McPeak, from the Merchant Marines, who we only saw on Thanksgiving. Of course there were parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, football games, and the Macy’s parade with cousins and others who dropped in.

It seems silly, but…

We have to have a special day to remind us to say thank you … thank you for those we love, thank you for the people in our lives, thank you for the kindness of those around us.

And though I try to say thanks at every possible opportunity, I just want to thank you.

You’re getting this note because you subscribe to one of our magazines or newsletters, have attended one of our online or in-person conferences or artist retreats, have signed up for our podcasts, or have invested in one of our hundreds of art instruction videos or watched our channel on Roku, Apple TV, or Amazon Fire. 

That means a lot to me and my family.

I have become obsessed with art, making art, writing about art, developing things to help you become a better artist or collector. And sometimes that obsession results in our sending you notices of lots of new things, new videos, or letting you know about things we’re excited about and that hopefully will make your life better.

I hope our obsession is helping you in some little way. 

And though I hope you hear “thank you” from us all the time, it can’t hurt for me to say it once more.

I truly am thankful for you. I am grateful. 

It’s my wish that this Thanksgiving is memorable, and special. And if you have an extra seat at the table, think about those you know who will be alone if not invited. Everyone deserves a seat at the table.

And, if you have a lot of extra, make up some plates and bring them to people who need to know you care. Or help serve at a local shelter.

Your generosity can make others feel appreciated and remembered.

God bless you, and Happy Thanksgiving.

Eric Rhoads

PS: If you missed last week’s Sunday Coffee blog, it’s all about Thanksgiving and the people you will be sharing it with. You can find it here.