A Thanksgiving story, or why one slice of pie will do

November 20, 2015

Pumpkin Pie with Gingered Whipped Cream / JillHough.com

Eons ago, my Aunt Leah had a beloved dog named Lady. Leah was going away for Thanksgiving, so she arranged for Lady to stay with friends.

The friends, of course, made Thanksgiving dinner, and afterwards they piled leftovers into a bowl for Lady.

Which Lady ate and ate. And ate and ate. Then ate and ate and ate some more.

Pumpkin Pie with Gingered Whipped Cream / JillHough.com

Leah’s friends got worried. They thought Lady would eat some and leave the rest for later. But she didn’t. She kept eating. They watched and thought, “When is this dog going to stop? She’s going to explode!”

They were really worried.

Finally, having polishing off every last bite, Lady lumbered off to a corner, and, with a groan, laid down and fell asleep.

When Leah returned to retrieve Lady, the friends told Leah what happened and how concerned they got. Leah understood immediately. “Lady’s a former stray,” she explained. “Her mindset is she never knows when the next meal is coming. So she eats all she can when she can.”

Pumpkin Pie with Gingered Whipped Cream / JillHough.com

I try to remember Lady when I’m presented with a buffet or a second slice of pie, or I’m pondering the last few french fries in the basket. I mean, it’s so easy to think I should eat because—who knows when I’ll have another opportunity for pie?

But the truth is I’m a grown-up with resources and know-how and if I have a craving I could be eating pie—or pretty much anything else—within about 20 minutes.

In other words, while I’ll never condone sacrifice or deprivation, the story of Lady and her Thanksgiving overdose reminds me that I don’t have to eat something just because it’s there and I don’t know when I’ll have a chance to have it again.

I’m not a stray dog.

As fantastic as it may be, one slice of Pumpkin Pie with Gingered Whipped Cream will usually do.

Pumpkin Pie with Gingered Whipped Cream / JillHough.com


12 thoughts on “A Thanksgiving story, or why one slice of pie will do

  1. Dee Dee (My Midlife Kitchen)

    Love this story. We have had rescues that have either been strays at one point, or who had to compete for food, and they never lose that “have to keep eating” urge. Sadly, I think many of us humans do the same thing, and we are worse for the wear. I know I’ve been guilty of it when something is REALLY good! Thanks for a super reminder that we don’t have to act like the proverbial “pigs at the trough” when special treats are in front of us! :o) Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. Jill Post author

    Thanks for chiming in, Dee Dee! Thanksgiving is a particularly tough time to remember I’m not a stray dog–because most items on the table are so rare, plus as you point out, they’re often so good. Happy Thanksgiving to you, too :)

  3. Jill Post author

    Thanks for saying so, Sarah! Even if you have a tried and true pumpkin pie recipe you love, use it and try the ginger in the whipped cream. It’s such a simple thing, but it really makes a difference! (Don’t you love it when things work out that way?)

  4. Jill Post author

    Yeah, Nutmeg Nanny, Thanksgiving is a particular challenge when it comes to distinguishing between eating because it’s there and eating because you really want to! What’s your favorite Thanksgiving dessert???

  5. Susan Norman

    I read your story to Rosie, our new (previously feral) cat. She relates and says that good food should be eaten even if you are already full and even if it is in someone else’s bowl. Happy Thanksgiving!

  6. Laura

    What a fabulous story. Near death experiences affect you the same (I have had a few)–I tend to approach everything like that, treasure and enjoy it, who knows when you will get to again!

  7. Jill Post author

    You’re so funny, Susan! I’ll read your comment to those at my Thanksgiving table so they’ll understand if, should I clean my own plate, I start eating off theirs. :) Happy Thanksgiving to you, too.

  8. Jill Post author

    I can totally get that, Laura, although I’m happy to say I’ve never had a near-death experience. I once knew someone who had a terminal illness, though, who said that he was lucky because he actually knew he was going to die–the rest of us lived like it’d never happen to us, but because he knew otherwise, it made life all the sweeter.

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