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Teachers share their strangest holiday memories

Dog food for Thanksgiving

Mr. Maas-Baldwin

“My mother has a demented sense of humor. Here’s the deal: We had a big family dinner. Everybody came over. One of my mom’s friends came over, and she brought a loaf of lamb beef hash. So we reheated it, and my older brother and younger sister and I were remarking that it kind of smelled like canned dog food in a loaf. And my mom overheard, and she said, ‘You guys, you have to eat some of that at the dinner table because we don’t want to hurt Lorrie’s feelings.’ To which we were like, ‘Mom, we don’t want to eat that. There’s so much good food; why do we have to eat that?’ And so, basically, at the dinner table she was staring us down and pointing at it and making us eat the food, or else we were going to be grounded. So then, after we all finished our lamb beef hash, everyone at the table just started cracking up. Everyone but my brother, sister and I …we were just confused. And then they all revealed that it was canned dog food that we had just eaten. And they got a kick out of feeding their kids dog food, apparently. It’s just demented.”


Mr. Stafford

“The first time everyone comes to eat Thanksgiving at my in-laws’ house, they have to be levitated. It’s kind of like an initiation, and it’s always really awkward. A month and a half ago my brother-in-law came over for the first time, and he was really nervous that we wouldn’t be able to lift him because he’s a pretty big guy. So, of course, we tried to lift him before doing the levitating thing, and we couldn’t. At this point, he was, like, sweating. Then we did the hand-over-the-head thing and tried again and lifted him right up. To which he was like, ‘Oh my gosh.’ We’ve done it to a lot of people. It started with friends of my parents, and then became a tradition. I’m always kind of worried that it’s not going to work. But it always does.”

The Christmas I stabbed my mother

Mr. Deckelmann

“I must have been ten or 11 years old, and I was sitting at the dining table. My mom was all worried because everyone was coming over and she had to get everything ready and stuff, and she kept asking me to move—get up, get up, go clean your room, and this and this and this—as I was reading the paper. I was cutting something out of the paper; I think it was a horse racing form or something like that because even at that age I liked sports and all that stuff. And she kept telling me to move, and finally she got fed up and was coming over and going to slap me, like ‘Get up and go do what you gotta do.’ And I held my hand up, and I had the scissors in my hand, and she went boom and stabbed herself right through the hand. All the way through. And she had to go to the hospital, and it was just a…a very sad Christmas. I felt awful all day. She came back and forgave me, but y’know, ya stab your mom … it’s pretty traumatic at that age.”

-Carly Rudiger

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