Jiyoon Park

This past Thanksgiving, I dragged my oldest step-grandmother to the Patagonia Thanksgiving Day Parade brought to you by People’s Gas, sponsored by Puma x Rihanna, created by Bill Nye.

Every Thanksgiving, my cankled family gathers at our Baptist neighbor Gregberto’s yam farm to begin the Thanksgiving pregame. This is the one event each year where my family actually talks to each other and to our Baptist neighbor Gregberto. We start doing Pilgrim Shots™ at 9 a.m. but don’t get to the Turkey Chug™ until noon. Obviously, we make sure to balance the alcohol with food. Intermittently throughout the morning, my family bonds by randomly chucking recently harvested yams at one another. We all hate yams, but we have to please our Baptist neighbor Gregberto, who inherited the farm’s yams. He graciously hosts us, even though we have recently started dumping our radioactive trash in an unused corner of the yam farm.

You’re probably wondering what a Pilgrim Shot™ is. First of all, it’s not actually trademarked, we just add that in so people feel threatened if they try to steal our ideas. A long, long time ago, in March of 2004, my oldest step-grandmother was watching a documentary about the origins of Thanksgiving and decided to make a drinking game out of it. Every time the word “pilgrim” was said, my oldest step-grandmother would take a shot of, you guessed it, fermented yam juice, a gift from my Baptist neighbor Gregberto. My step-grandmother can drink all of the beer at Oktoberfest and still do 10 backflips, but after only four shots of fermented yam juice, she can barely stand. We’ve watched that iconic Thanksgiving documentary so many times that even after several shots of fermented yam juice, I can recite the dialogue backwards. Since 2004, our family has kept this tradition alive every Thursday, but on Thanksgiving — the day we attribute to the pilgrims, the day that inspired it all — we start the shots a little earlier and drink out of tiny pilgrim hats.

The Turkey Chug™, on the other hand, actually is trademarked. This tradition goes even further back than the Shot™. Back in the day when turkeys roamed freely in the woods and in bike lanes, my oldest step-grandmother and her leather-jacket–wearing posse liked to drink beer out of regular kegs. They were classy drinkers, so cans and bottles were out of the question. As Thanksgiving 1946 approached, my oldest step-grandmother and her leather-jacket–wearing posse could not find a keg anywhere. My oldest step-grandmother and her leather-jacket–wearing posse were desperate. There was only one clear solution: They threw out the stuffing that my step-great-great-step-grandmother had made, and before the turkey was even in the oven, they filled the carcass with beer. And they Chugged Turkey™ out of its anal cavity. There is no way our family would ever miss the Turkey Chug™ on Thanksgiving Day.

Normally, the Patagonia Thanksgiving Day Parade starts at noon, which, as you know, is Turkey Chug™ o’clock. It has always been my dream to see the parade live, but even though my family was wasted, they are never sufficiently wasted to go to the parade. They only want to watch the Victoria’s Secret Thanksgiving Day Catwalk on pay-per-view. This year, I swore, would be different.

Thanksgiving Eve, my siblings laid out pumpkin pie by the chimney with care in hopes that the Pilgrims soon would be there. They were sure to go to sleep early so that the Pilgrims would shine their shoe buckles overnight. After feigning a nightmare for good measure, I snuck out the window and, bobby pin in hand, headed to my Baptist neighbor Gregberto’s house. I ducked under the glowing neon “BAPTIST” sign to arrive at the landfill pile. I had brought my old calculator along with its highly acidic batteries as an offering. I made a quick pit stop at the yam garden for a midnight snack. It was disgusting. I couldn’t help thinking of my actual favorite rooty plant: sweet, sweet, sweet potatoes.

Then, knowing the Turkey Chugging™ ancestors were on my side, I quickly and quietly crawled toward the doggy door. It was locked, as I knew my Baptist neighbor Gregberto didn’t have a dog, only squirrels. My bobby pin and I wrestled with the lock for about three hours. Finally, my Baptist neighbor Gregberto just opened the door for me. I was in.

My plan was to turn all the clocks in the house back one hour. Then, I could make it to the parade on time, and people would have chugged enough turkey to want to accompany me. It was foolproof until I did a brief survey of the house. There were no clocks. Satisfied, I began to pick the back door lock so that I could make my escape. After one hour of fruitless efforts, my Baptist neighbor Gregberto heard me and opened the door. I was out.

It all went according to the Plan B that I was forced to develop after Plan A: Clock Conundrum didn’t pan out. I threw yams at my siblings until they woke up. I poured pumpkin beer on my oldest step-grandmother until she was ready for shots. An hour earlier than usual, everyone’s first Pilgrim Shot™ was sliding down their throats. The shots continued and surely enough, at 11 a.m., which as you know is not Turkey Chug™ o’clock, my family began chugging.

I kept track of my oldest step-grandmother, making sure she kept downing shots. Once she was sufficiently sloshed, I was able to convince her to come with me to the Patagonia Thanksgiving Day Parade brought to us by People’s Gas, sponsored by Puma x Rihanna, created by Bill Nye. I stood eagerly in the front row, with one foot keeping my step-grandmother solidly on her feet. The floats glided through the streets: a gasoline pump wearing a Better Sweater® 1/4-Zip, some felines wearing Lightweight Synchilla® Snap-T® Pullovers, a couple baking soda volcanoes in their P-6 Logo Responsibili-Tee®, and Rihanna herself wearing some knock-off tracksuit, which was okay I guess. To be honest with you, my step-grandmother and I were not fans. Patagonia had, for the first time, let me down, a feat which no one thought humanly possible due to my inhumanly low standards. I was ready to go back to my Baptist neighbor Gregberto’s house within 10 minutes, to reunite with my cankled family and our Baptist neighbor Gregberto on this most hallowed holiday.

Marco D’Printer | design@yaledailynews.com