How to Celebrate Thanksgiving . . . with your Republican family

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by Susan Bankston

What are those crunchy things in the sweet potatoes?
What are those crunchy things in the sweet potatoes?

We are entering the holiday season, that festive time of year when you are forced to play nice with the people who caused you to leave home in the first place.

At my house, we get to look forward to spending a day with Uncle Buzz and his third wife, the unpetite and rarely charming Bessie Lynn. She has a Newt Gingrich tattoo on her upper arm, and Newt smiles when she flexes her muscles. We think she may have been married to Newt once, but we’re afraid to ask, since Bessie Lynn is kinda sensitive about her ex-husbands. We think she may have eaten one of them, but we’re afraid to ask about that, too.

There’s also cousin Lila Sue, who is a new provisional member of the Belles of Heaven Republican Women’s Club. She cusses a lot less now, but she still drinks, so I dunno how this provisional thing is going to work out.

Lila Sue is fond of bringing a dish that looks like the pieces of banana might be doing something nasty with the pineapple rings while being held captive by green Jell-O. The whipped cream she places around the edges does not help with the whole image of innocent Jell-O she might be trying to achieve.

Then there’s always that one guy who wasn’t present at any of the previous family events. Everybody thinks he’s somebody else’s new husband, but he’s really secretly filming the documentary Dysfunctional Southern Families. A year later, you discover that Lila Sue’s Jell-O dish is the talk of the town at the Sundance Film Festival, and the documentary’s preview poster features a large photograph of you pointing and snickering at the whipped cream around the edges.

I mean, I’m certain that has happened to someone else besides me, right?

I’ve prepared myself for holiday dinners this year by coming up with a list of things to stimulate conversation among the Republican relatives around the dinner table. Please feel free to use as many of these as you need to really hack off your family and be the star of the Sundance Film Festival next year.

Top Ten Progressive Things You Can Say to Hack Off Your Republican Relatives at the Holiday Dinner Table:

10. “If the green beans seem a little crispy, it’s because I roasted them over the open fire at a bra-burning rally.” (If you’re a male, you get extra points for confusion value.)

9. “Did anyone else notice that Obama took the words ‘under God’ out of ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame’?”

8. “I know yoga, and I’m not afraid to use it.” (Especially memorable if you’re madly waving a fork around at the time.)

7. “You know this squash was picked by an undocumented worker that we brought here to vote Democratic. While on drugs. With Ebola. While having an abortion. Enjoy!”

6. “Is this turkey Halal?”

5. “Just so you know, I’m taking a swig of vodka every time Uncle Wilber refers to President Obama as a space alien intent on killing all white Christians, and there is only so much vodka in the world before I stick a candle in his ear and a feather in his butt and turn him into a damn centerpiece.” (It helps if you already have a throw-down candle.)

4. “The crunchy things in the sweet potatoes are brought to you by the National Rifle

3. “Brother, let me say that I’m really sorry my Prius pried the front bumper off your Hummer.”

2. Jump on the table and in your best Ethel Merman voice, sing, “I’m gay, gay, gay!” Even if you’re not, not, not.

1. Say nothing. Just wear your “Voting-Machine Hackers for Hillary 2016” T-shirt, and smile knowingly all day.


Susan Bankston lives in Richmond, Texas, where she writes about her hairdresser at The World’s Most Dangerous Beauty Salon, Inc., at



Susan Bankston

Susan Bankston lives in Richmond, Texas, where she writes about her hairdresser at The World’s Most Dangerous Beauty Salon, Inc., at

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