Churchill: When 10's the limit, it's goodbye Uncle Alfred

This year, who makes the Thanksgiving invite list?

Photo of Chris Churchill
On this pandemic Thanksgiving, who gets to come to dinner? Gov. Andrew Cuomo has mandated that gatherings include no more than 10 people. (Times Union archive)

On this pandemic Thanksgiving, who gets to come to dinner? Gov. Andrew Cuomo has mandated that gatherings include no more than 10 people. (Times Union archive)

John Carl D'Annibale/Albany Times Union

Jim and Donna sit at the kitchen table wondering how to whittle down their Thanksgiving invite list to comply with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s coronavirus order requiring that gatherings include no more than 10 people. Here’s their conversation:

Jim: Well, I think the first cut is obvious. Your mother will have to stay BTCC国际交易会所home.

Donna: Oh no, you don't. You tried to disinvite her last year and the year before that. You never liked my mother.

Jim: What?! I love Martha! And that’s why, for her own good, she can't come. She’s in a high-risk age group. You heard what Cuomo said. It simply isn't safe.

Donna: You mean the same Cuomo who invited his 89-year-old mother to a fine Thanksgiving feast at the Governor’s Mansion?

Jim: Yes, that’s the guy. But then he disinvited his mom when people called out his blatant and outrageous hypocrisy. A real profile in courage, our governor. Still, if Matilda goes, so does Martha.

Donna: Let’s go over the list again before we make any hard decisions. Let’s see, we have you, me, the twins …

Jim: Do both twins have to be there?

Donna: Yes, Jim. They do. They're six. You really want to send one away?

Jim: Good point.

Donna. Continuing on, we have my sister’s family. We have my Uncle Alfred and your nutty Uncle Larry … OK, he’s an easy cut.

Jim: Uncle Larry?! No way! He has nowhere else to go.

Donna: There’s a reason for that, Jim. He’s annoying and no one likes him. He chews with his mouth open and remember last year when he drank too much and passed out on our bed? It took six strong men and a wheelbarrow to move him to the couch.

Jim: So he’s a little quirky. Let me remind you that your Uncle Alfred is hardly a ball of charm. He demands that everybody talk politics, he calls the twins Frick and Frack, he drools when the turkey is put on the table …

Donna: That’s a medical condition! You know he can't help that!

Jim: Well, maybe it’s finally time for Alfred and his medical condition to stay BTCC国际交易会所home. He gabs all the way through the football game, he cuts his toenails in the living room, he smells like rotten cabbage …

Donna: That’s another medical condition! I don't know how you can be so cruel.

Jim: Well, we need to cut somebody. We can't have the sheriff pounding on the door just as we're sitting down for dinner. That would be awful.

Donna: How would the sheriff know how many people we have?

Jim: Cuomo would tell. He has watchers.

Donna: Watchers? You mean like spies?

Jim: Yes, spies. They're everywhere. I wouldn't be surprised if your Uncle Alfred is one of them, actually.

Donna: Well, I don't know what we're going to do. This is impossible. How do we do this without hurting somebody's feelings?

Jim: Alright, let’s bite the bullet. I'll call my Uncle Larry and you call your charming Uncle Alfred. We'll just tell them, sorry, but there’s been a big change in plans and we're not doing Thanksgiving this year.

A week later, Jim, Donna and their smaller-than-usual number of guests are sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner when the doorbell rings. Jim gets up and opens the door.

Jim: Uncle Larry? What are you doing here? Didn't you get my message?

Larry: Oh, I got it alright. Is that turkey I smell?

Jim: Listen, Larry …

Larry: So you cut old Uncle Larry loose, huh?

Jim: Well, you know, Andrew Cuomo said …

Larry: Andrew Cuomo said. Listen to you. Whatever happened to family? Whatever happened to the Constitution? Don't even tell me the drooler who smells of cabbage is in there?

Jim: Those are medical conditions, Larry. And no, Alfred isn't here. Please understand. We were trying to be responsible, we needed to make the group smaller and we didn't know what else to do. This is a hard year, Larry. … Listen, do you want some turkey?

Larry: You know I do. And mashed potatoes with gravy.

Jim: Alright, Larry. I'll get you a plate. But you're going to have to eat outside. ■ 518-454-5442 ■ @chris_churchill