The holiday season is like the first big drop in a rollercoaster - the slow, inexorable build-up and sense of anticipation, followed by that moment when you're balanced at the tippy-top and you think, "hold on, maybe this wasn't such a great idea," and ending with a screaming, frenzied rush to the end that you really can't remember afterward.
This past Thanksgiving was that moment where I thought to myself this was, perhaps, not a great idea. I thought this to myself while standing in the nearly empty vegetable aisle of a local grocery on Thanksgiving day.
I had picked up all the things I would need for Thanksgiving the day before, to avoid having to shop on Thanksgiving. Yet, there I was, shopping on Thanksgiving despite my best efforts.
A few days before, I expressed the desire to have candied yams with dinner, because we all know it's not Thanksgiving until the candied yams are on the table.
"That's fine, but I'm not making it," Grandmama told me.
"I've got some yams, so don't buy any."
The evening before, I called her.
"I'm at the store," I said. "Do you need anything whatsoever for Thanksgiving? Because I'm at the store, and I could get it for you. No problem."
"No, I'm fine."
"Are you sure? Because I'm at the store now, and I don't want to have to stop tomorrow."
"No, no, I have everything."
I believed her. I should have known better. The next morning, I was wandering around in a bleary daze, herding children and trying to find a polo shirt for the Little Professor to wear, when she called again.
"Did you buy yams?"
My antenna went way up. "No, I didn't buy yams. You specifically told me not to buy yams, because you had yams, so I didn't need to buy yams. Why are you asking me this?"
"I don't have any yams."
"Why did you tell me you had yams if you didn't have yams? I called you from the store last night! I could have bought them last night."
"It's not my fault. I thought I had yams."
"You didn't check?"
"No, I checked."
"What happened to the yams between the time you checked and now?"
"Nothing, I didn't have any."
"I don't understand."
" ... it was a can of sliced peaches."
"Let me get this straight: You mistook a can of sliced peaches for yams?"
"No, it's fine," I sighed. "I'll just pick some up on my way over."
So that was how I ended up in the grocery store on Thanksgiving, looking for yams. I had a moment of panic when I thought they were out of yams, because the shelf looked bare. However, there was one last, lonely can of yams hidden at the very back of the shelf.
My apologies to anyone who came to the store after I did and didn't get any yams, thus ruining your holiday meal.
But you really should have gone shopping the day before.
(Wallace-Minger, a resident of Weirton, is community editor of The Weirton Daily Times.)