Alligators who wear vests

Well, I didn’t mean not to post yesterday.

Which isn’t exactly true because I’m in Bryan with Gulley and the kids at Honey and Big’s house and we were too busy laughing at a random assortment of things for me to take time to focus and write. Not that I really ever focus but, you know, there’s always a first time.

This trip wasn’t originally part of our Thanksgiving week plan, but Gulley and I went to lunch last Tuesday and agreed we were both a little sad that a trip to Bryan/College Station wasn’t on our agenda because we sometimes forget that a road trip with the kids is less relaxing than a trip to Walmart on Black Friday.

Because of soccer games and football games and end of season sports parties, we weren’t going to make it in town for the Aggie game. However, we would make it in time to eat homemade soup at Honey’s and eat brownies and that made it seem worthwhile. Plus, we really wanted to take the kids to Santa’s Wonderland because we have to face the reality that they may not be that into that whole thing for too many more years.

Actually, I don’t really want to face that reality. I find denial is a lovely place this time of year because passing of time LA LA LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU.

Anyway, we left town about three on Saturday. As usual being in the car with the kids made the trip feel at least an hour longer, largely because they like to spend the last hour asking “Are we there? Are we almost there?” and ten minutes later, “ARE WE THERE YET?”

And Will always enjoys waiting until we’re about five minutes from our destination to announce “I HAVE TO GO TO THE BATHROOM SO BAD RIGHT NOW AND I CAN’T HOLD IT”. Truthfully, I think he just does it to mess with me. But I don’t want to bet the upholstery on my back seats on it so we have to pull into the DQ parking lot.

On Saturday night we stayed up late visiting with Gulley’s Aunt Diane and had the best time. Diane cooks Thanksgiving dinner and we spent some time discussing various Thanksgiving side dishes because I was a little puzzled by a few of you that mentioned noodles in Friday’s comments. I have never heard of a noodle for Thanksgiving. Now, my Me-Ma and Pa-Pa used to serve spaghetti and meatballs on Thanksgiving in addition to turkey, but they were Italian. Spaghetti and meatballs are pretty much an option at every meal.

But just a noodle? Like a plain noodle? Or an egg noodle? How does the whole noodle thing work? I don’t understand.

As for me, my favorite Thanksgiving side dish is a tie between broccoli-rice casserole and dressing with just the right amount of homemade cranberry sauce on the fork with it. I couldn’t care less about the turkey. I don’t care if it’s fried or smoked or baked or whatever. I think poultry is kind of foul. Get it? Foul?

I’m so sorry.

(I don’t really think it’s foul as much as it’s just not my favorite. But the pun worked.)

We also watched Baylor beat K-State and Stanford beat Oregon and wondered if the world was ending. Between that and the whole Hostess cupcake thing it doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibility. Although now it appears that the Twinkie may live to see another day. I have to think that all those people freaking out and buying up all the Twinkies haven’t actually eaten a Twinkie recently. Or ever.

On Sunday morning we slept late and then went to see Nena at the assisted living home. We visited and she was especially interested to hear about my visit to the eyebrow specialist. She told me she has always gotten her hair cut by only well-known hairdressers who cut famous people’s hair. (This isn’t exactly true, but she likes to say it because the woman who used to cut her hair once cut Barbara Bush’s hair.) Anyway, she’s been debating whether she should let one of the aids at the assisted living home cut her hair. Gulley and I told her she needed to feel free to say no because you can’t just trust anyone with your hair.


We also got in a discussion about marriage and she told us that she and Granddaddy had NOTHING in common, except, WELL, he really liked to eat and she likes to eat, too. Which, you don’t really hear people mention that specific commonality in premarital counseling, but it must have been enough because they were happily married for sixty-six years.

After our visit we got in the car to go eat and somehow we all started telling jokes. I don’t really know a whole lot of jokes because I usually hear them and forget them immediately. But my friend Annie Downs just finished doing thirty days worth of jokes on her blog and a few were still fresh in my mind.

I was feeling inordinately proud of myself for remembering the jokes so I asked the kids, “What do you call an alligator wearing a vest?”

Will called out from the back seat, “A PSYCHOLOGIST!”

Which, hilarious, but no.

The correct answer is an Investigator.

But Gulley and I have spent the rest of trip discussing various things going on in our lives and wondering if either of us needs to go see an alligator wearing a vest. And you have to admit that sounds so much more fun than saying you’re going to see a psychologist.

Feel free to use it for yourself.

Later that night we took the kids to Santa’s Wonderland. I’m happy to say they had a great time and still loved the fake snow and the hayride and all the lights.




They even sat on Santa’s lap and told him what they wanted for Christmas. Caroline wished for a puppy.


Thankfully, Santa was non-commital on that wish.

Because a new puppy might be enough to send me to an alligator wearing a vest.

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  1. Pam says

    Writing to you from the shadow of the golden dome…….home of the #1 Fighting Irish!!!
    Haven’t been able to say that for. Y. E. A. R. S. !!

    Anyway noodles….yes noodles…..Amish beef and noodles…..the ultimate comfort food.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours

    God Bless

  2. says

    The noodles are Thanksgiving to me. Yes, egg noodles, cooked in stock so which thickens with the flour and makes gravy. Like carb heaven:-)

    (And I know you get these questions all the time, but I really love your boots; are these the ones you linked to a couple of weeks ago? I need boots and am in such a quandry.)

  3. Reta says

    I personally don’t understand the noodle thing either not that I am knocking it. Our good friend from Pennsylvania first told me about it…Being from the south unless its a dumpling its not at our table. 😉

  4. Lori H says

    I will be reading these comments later today to see what the noodle thing is about. First I have heard of it. Not that I am judging because I am pretty equal-opportunity in my acceptance of food. Well, except for beets, mushrooms and weird meat parts (tongue, etc).

  5. Jill Ann says

    Grew up in central IL, and grandma’s noodles are at EVERY Thanksgiving!

    Ours are like Kelly described…large thick cut egg type noodles, cooked in stock, with some sort of poultry thrown in, it thickens up and …nice and gooey and delcious. It also makesa great fancy gravy for your mashed potatoes!

    LOVE your Texas Santa! He’s a cutie.

  6. says

    I grew up in Dallas and moved to Indiana in college. The noodle thing is a mid-west thing. I’d never heard of it before moving here either. They are thick, homemade noodles (called Amish noodles)…but I’d rather get my carbs in a stuffing or potato form. Which shows, even after 17 years, I’m not REALLY a mid-westerner.

  7. Sue S says

    I absolutely LOVE Nena stories!!! She brings me joy! Next time someone mentions that my husband and I seem happy after 31 years of marriage, I will tell them it is because we both like to eat!!
    Sounds like such a fun trip!
    Have a Happy Thanksgiving! I am not being glib when I say I am truly thankf for you! Your blog consistently makes me laugh outloud. I so appreciate your consistency even though I know sometimes you write when you are tired or super busy. I have told you before some of my favorite posts start off with, “Absolutely nothing has been going on around here” or “We did nothing over the weekend”. It is your gift to find humor in the mundane and express it in such a hilarious way that makes you and your blog so special! You are loved and appreciated!

  8. Leigh says

    Never heard of noodles as Thanksgiving food…Here its dressing and mashed potatoes and sweet potato casserole. And sometimes we think that might not be enough carbs so we add in a corn casserole, too. And Mel, my Katie doesn’t care for the turkey either, so we also have ham.

    Love the Santa Wonderland pics. We live an hour from there and have never been. We say every year we are going and then we never do. I think that your Caroline and Gulley’s boys are so blessed to be growing up together as friends, and with Mommas that are so close. The relationships y’all have with each other and your extended families are a real treasure for not just you but for those kids too. And I predict they’ll always be up for a road trip to Santa’s Wonderland.

    Finally, Sic ‘Em Bears! Great game on Saturday night. Our Pastor, a Florida Gator himself, even gave Baylor a shout out from the pulpit Sunday morning! I was thrilled as a Mom of two Baylor grads, but also as a Gator, ’cause there’s still a chance for us to get to the national championship game.

    Blessing to you and your family for Thanksgiving, Mel. I’m thankful for you and your friendship.

  9. Whitney says

    I’m with the ladies above in my noodle making (egg noodles, thick, and tasty). However, EVERYONE in my family, extended and all tops their mashed potatoes with noodles. So there is NO gravy at my Thanksgiving. Personally, I do NOT like my noodles and mashed potatoes to mingle…..and the no gravy thing? Party. Foul.

  10. Kate says

    I find it ironic that you think noodles at Thanksgiving is odd, yet the kids go on a hayride at Santa’s Wonderland and you don’t bat an eye or make a disclaimer….

    For the record, I find both things odd. :o)

  11. Colorado says

    To be honest, I’m still surprised about all the people having mac and cheese for Thanksgiving. I guess I live a sheltered life here on the mountain. Anyway, love the Santa photos! Those kids are growing up….. I’m in denial about that whole time passing by thing too. Happy Thanksgiving Big Mama!

  12. Honey says

    Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion!!! I haven’t laughed this much in so long and have enjoyed every minute of this visit from you and Amy and the kids! I love you!

  13. wendy says

    Needing to see an ‘alligator wearing a vest’ was funny! I’ve never seen a santa wear a cowboy hat.

  14. Dianne Bond says

    Well, Aunt Dianne really enjoyed visiting with you girls Saturday night and talking with those precious kids:-) Lots of fun!!! Have a wonderful “Thanksgiving”!! I will have to think about the “noodle thing” :-)

  15. says

    Okay, since I’m one of the weird ones who mentioned noodles for Thanksgiving, I guess I should reply! :) I’d never heard of it until I got married, but it is amazing, albeit carb-overload. My mom in law makes a thick egg noodle totally from scratch – even cutting the dough up on newspaper, boiling then simmering them in the turkey broth on the stovetop. They get thick and wonderfully chewy with great flavor and you dump them on your mashed potatoes and turkey.

    Speaking of which, I need to learn that recipe!

    • Trena says

      My mom makes these same noodles and they are delicious! But in our part of the world, they aren’t part of the actual meal, they are made the next day with leftovers. Yummy!

  16. says

    I must visit a vested-gator so that I won’t have to wear an orange jumpsuit for the rest of my life. Sure, it benefits me, but it REALLY benefits a certain few other people that are still able to walk without limping.
    My gator doesn’t bite. She keeps ME from biting!

  17. JennyJoT says

    Your Caroline is SO pretty – and I believe I see quite a resemblance to Nena – no? Or is Nena not even related to you? My brain, she is FULL, and I can’t remember the relationships. Happy Thanksgiving!

  18. says

    When we lived in Indiana, if people were serving chicken/turkey and mashed potatoes for dinner, there were noodles right along with it. We always thought it was odd.

    Although people who come to our table and see tater tots instead of mashed potatoes might think we’re odd too. (It’s a family tradition, “Friends” style.) :-)

  19. Amie says

    Noodles must be a Northern thing. My family grew up with noodles on the Thanksgiving table, and while I like to eat them alone because I’m not a mashed potato fan, they are a popular topping for mashed potatos. They are one of my favorite parts of the meal, and I’ll miss them this year at Thanksgiving with my husband’s South Arkansas family. I also prefer sweet potato casserole with pecans on top, not cut up sweet potatos with marshmallows…guess what I “volunteered” to bring? :)

    • Miss B says

      I hope she fixes this blog soon. The replies are apparently messed up. Yours appears to say “because I’m not a mashed potato fan”. Haha, could you even imagine that someone would write something like that? Crazy.

  20. Peggy says

    I just love your posts! ALWAYS makes me smile & feel a little light hearted. Happiest Thanksgiving to you & yours! & Gulley’s too…. 😉

  21. Kensey says

    Nena is so adorable. I can hardly stand it!! Ugh, she just looks like the dictionary version of sweet sweet grandmother.

    Looks like you guys had a wonderful trip!!

    The noodle thing is new to me! We have noodles cooked in stock with roast and mashed potatoes, but not on Thanksgiving.

  22. ohlookaduck says

    Oh, homemade noodles! My Texas grandmother always made them and now I carry on that tradition. We make them differently than described by others. She always rolled hers very thin and cut them about 1/4 inch wide but the main difference is half were boiled and drained, half were sauteed golden brown in butter and put on top. Add gravy–oh my!! I tried not making them one year, but I’d rather not have turkey than miss the noodles.

    • Vicky says

      “I’d rather not have turkey than miss the noodles”

      Same here! It’s not Thanksgiving or Christmas without the noodles!

  23. Carol says

    Never heard of the noodles? although my Italian grandpa would always find an occasion (say, Christmas eve, to make lasagna!) Happy Thanksgiving!

  24. says

    no one on noodles. But besides that, thanks for another fun post. :)
    Hope your Thanksgiving was great.
    I definitely like the alligator wearing a vest option–I’ll remember it.

  25. Kylie says

    I live in Arkansas where it seems that most don’t partake of noodles on thanksgiving…but my mom’s family is all from Kansas (transported to AR in the 70’s) and the noodles are the most looked-forward-to dish every year. Someone else mentioned an Amish background to the noodles and I also think that’s correct. Prepared like others have mentioned – rolled thin, left to dry, simmered in turkey or chicken stock til thick -it’s amazing! My nana made them every year of my life. She died this summer and Im thankful I got to watch her make them so many times so that I could do it myself this year. I hope we made her proud!