Couple’s Thanksgiving mishap makes memories for a lifetime - Catholic Courier
A couple poses at a Thanksgiving dinner table.

(Photo by Ed Rivera)

Couple’s Thanksgiving mishap makes memories for a lifetime

When we were newlyweds, we decided to invite family and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving with us.

We expected lots of people, so we bought a 25-pound fresh turkey more than a week early. We had to remove shelves to fit the turkey in our small refrigerator.

We planned when we would peel the sack of potatoes to mash. We had ingredients for multiple green bean casseroles at the ready. We bought pumpkin, chocolate and banana cream pies.

Days before, Ed was marinating the turkey with garlic. Our hands smelled like garlic, the fridge and everything in it smelled, and the milk tasted like garlic.

While marinating, I asked Ed how many RSVPs we received. He said, “I don’t know. Didn’t you tell them to respond to you?” Oh, no! Ed thought I did the inviting, and I thought he did the inviting. We started arguing over who told whom what. I started crying a lot. Not a pretty cry, but an “I Love Lucy” cry with tears streaming, snot dripping and mouth wide open howling. It was not looking good for a happy Thanksgiving.

Ed took a deep breath and hugged me. He said it would be OK. We divided the list of names and called. Since it was already so close to Thanksgiving, people said they already had plans and couldn’t come. Yikes!

What we thought would be our first big Thanksgiving dinner turned out to be turkey for two. We ate turkey for breakfast, lunch and dinner for days. Luckily, we laughed and joked about writing a turkey leftover cookbook.

They say if life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Life gave us a 25-pound turkey, and we made tacos, burritos, omelets, sandwiches, soup, etc. That crazy Thanksgiving memory lasted Ed’s lifetime and will surely last mine.


Leonor “Leo” and Ed Rivera were members of the local Worldwide Marriage Encounter community for 32 of their 34 years of marriage until Ed unexpectedly died of a genetic heart defect on Aug. 1, 2020.

The 2024 Worldwide Marriage Encounter Weekends are Feb. 23-25 and Nov. 15-17, 2024. All weekends take place at Notre Dame Retreat House in Canandaigua.

To read more of Leo and Ed’s blogs, visit

Tags: Catholic Marriage
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