Thanksgiving Avoidance

Vegetarians in Hiding

Mernie Buchanan
2 min readNov 23, 2023

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painting by the author

Today is a wonderful day with a lot to be grateful for. A biggie is that I’m always wildly relieved any Thanksgiving when I get to avoid hot rooms full of people crowded around big piles of meat.

I’ve been veg since 1984. Holy crap. That’s 40 years wrestling with the annual awkward decision where, upon receiving an invitation I can’t lie my way out of there are two options: 1) Blurt out my food preferences. This makes a generous friend who, while preparing an elaborate feast for a crowd, feels obligated to cook an entire separate meal (ugh) or… 2) Accept politely and say nothing.

With option 2, the gracious hostess inevitably notices I only have mashed potatoes & cranberries on my plate (if the green beans are covered with bacon). This prompts the even more awkward, “You should have told me! I would have…” Then all the forks stop midair and I get the looks. Some are looks of fear. Oh no. The plant based woman is about to go on a screed and guilt trip every one of us about the environment or animal rights or…

I never do. I’ve tried jokes but they fall flat because there are also looks of pity. It’s kind of hellish. Add to that the psycho paradox of the caveman part of my brain getting all excited about the odor of steaming dead critters while my frontal lobe screams Run Away.

I considered throwing a veggie thanksgiving to do, but after separating out the: made with dairy / vegan / gluten free / vegan & gluten free dishes, and wrestling with the reality that Tofurky isn’t actually food, I gave up… while at the same time appreciating why so many stand up comedians mine the rich vein of making fun of us. They kind of have to since so many other groups have become exempt.

I had all the intensely passive aggressive (and not passive) family-of-origin holidays anyone could ever want. The quiet bliss of a cold, sunny day is heavenly.

I send warm wishes that you find serenity and joy whatever you’re up to regardless of whatever kind of food you eat.

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Mernie Buchanan

Originally from CA & Las Vegas, I now paint and write in Woodstock NY. All images are my original art & photos. Links to more at mernie.com