Thanksgiving Promptings

by Jackie Houchin

Glazed TurkeyOften, before diving into a scrumptious feast, the host of a Thanksgiving celebration will ask her guests to pause and answer this question.

“What is one thing you are thankful for?”

Dutifully each guest around the table mentions some thing or person they especially appreciate. Perhaps a prayer is given to further delay devouring the meal. But finally the repast begins in earnest with guests consuming on average a hearty 3,000 calories each.  (That’s just at the table! Another 1,500 will be eaten while snacking later on.)

I could ask that question here too, but I’d like to do something different. We are writers after all, and presumably you readers scribble a few things down now and then as well.

So instead of that question….

I’d like to challenge you to take one (or more) of the facts or prompts below and think up a brief scenario, or outline, of a fiction story you could develop from them. Write an “elevator pitch” in the comments below. Who knows, you may be able to use it later in a novel, or short story, or as an anecdote in your memoir.

Give it a try, but don’t spend too much time on them. After all there’s a turkey to thaw, bake, eat, or re-purpose into soups or sandwiches. (Along the way, I might offer a mini-suggestion to get your juices running.)

  1. Now a Thanksgiving dinner staple, cranberries were actually used by Native Americans to treat arrow wounds and to dye clothes. (A prison escapee gets a leg wound and…..?)
  2. “Everyone says you can’t go home again. Well this Thanksgiving, I tried and this is what happened….”
  3. Baby turkeys are called poults. Only male turkeys gobble and, therefore are called gobblers. (What is that awful sound Uncle Herbert always makes….?)
  4. “I never realized how grateful I was to have a home until…..”
  5. Black Friday is the busiest day for Roto-Rooter, a major plumbing service. They are called in to clean up “overwhelmed” sewer systems. (At one house, the plugged up sewer system yields…..)
  6. The song “Jingle Bells” was originally written as a Thanksgiving song. (The song writer’s reaction when the publishing of his song is delayed till December….?)
  7. Parents frustrated by a teenager’s lack of gratitude, determine that THIS Thanksgiving, she will be taught a lesson….
  8. The Friday after Thanksgiving is called “Black Friday” because stores hope the shopping day will take them out of the “red” and into positive profits. (Show an alternate reason for why it is called Black Friday.)
  9. Sarah Josepha Hale (1788-1879), who tirelessly worked to establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday, was also the first person to advocate women as teachers in publish schools, the first to advocate day nurseries to assist working mothers, and the first to propose public playgrounds. She is the author of two dozen books and hundreds of poems, including “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”  (Choose one aspect of her life and turn it into a Historical-Fiction piece.)
  10. Approximately 50 million people watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on television. (But that year, ONE of them saw….?)

Aw, go on!  Try at least one!

And Happy Thanksgiving!  Each day in November I am posting on my Facebook page things that I am thankful for. Come on over and take a look, and add yours.

WinR profile pic


Recently I have been writing short stories for children about missionary life in Malawi, Africa, based on my 3 excursions to the dark continent over the past few years. Stop by and read a few if you are interested. .

Author: Jackie Houchin

First, I am a believer in Jesus Christ, so my views and opinions are filtered through what God's Word says and I believe. I'm a wife, a mom, a grandma and now a great grandma. I write articles and reviews, and I dabble in short fiction. I enjoy living near the ocean, doing gardening (for beauty and food) and traveling - in other countries, if possible. My heart is for Christian missions, and I'm compiling a collections of Missionary Kids' stories to publish. (I also like kittens and cats and reading mysteries.)

15 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Promptings”

  1. What a great exercise! However, I can’t get the image of Roto-Rooter out of my head now! (We were one of their best customers when we lived on Lebanon Street in Aurora IL, but, thank Heaven, it was because of the large oak tree.) Maybe I should write a horror story. (Alligators in the sewers!) Have a wonderful Thanksgiving everyone.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I was intrigued by the Thanksgiving Parade. I’ve never watched. I’ve also never gone to Hawaii. Hmm, a story about a stranger in a strange land…(smile) Great post, Jackie, I did start thinking about several ideas. And actually actually plan to write them down for once! Have a great Thanksgiving.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. “Everyone says you can’t go home again. Well this Thanksgiving, I tried and this is what happened….” I drove down my street. It had been a long time since I was there and it looked different. I thought the house on the corner was one-story, but a bigger house was there now. I had been away. Five years. I got off early on good behavior. But I’d been a good boy and they let me out just in time for turkey. I said I was going to surprise my family. I also said I was going to straighten up this time. I guess the surprise was on me. My house wasn’t there. I asked an old lady next door and she said the house had been gone for over twenty years. How could that be? She said it was burned down by the kid who lived there. He had killed his family and ran off. They never found him. His name was Dave. My name was Dave. But that couldn’t be. I caught a glimpse of myself in the reflection in her front window. An old man was staring back. I blinked. The old man blinked. It was me. But how could this be? I turned to the old lady. “All the Davenports were killed?” “Davenports?” she said. “No. The Davenports live on the next street.” That was when her elderly husband stepped outside. It was his face I had seen in the window. I ran all the way home. It was going to be a very good Thanksgiving.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, man! That is terrific! How could you think up the WHOLE story just like that? Well, it just proves why you have so many stories out, and why you won the recent Sisters in Crime anthology contest. Thanks for the effort, Gayle. I sure didn’t see THAT coming!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. A prison escapee gets wounded in Southern Oregon near the cranberry bogs. The sheriff and his dogs are got on his tail so he wades into the bog, only to find that the bottom is quicksand; he flails, flounders, splashes but keeps sinking. Finally as he is going under he remembers his grandmothers wonderful cranberry sauce from Thanksgivings past. He quickly says a quick prayer asking God to forgive him for his past evil deeds and stuffs his mouth with the cranberries. Much to his dismay they don’t taste like grandma’s sauce-they are sour, bitter, he can barely keep them in his mouth. Then as they fill his stomach and begin to digest, they form a huge volume of gas and guess what, he floats right out of the quicksand. A breeze kicks up and low and behold he’s blown to the side of the bog where, much to his dismay the sheriff is waiting. Good news though, he gets back to the jail in time for a traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner. Lesson learned don’t eat the cranberries before the turkey is served.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. What caught my attention was the reference to Roto-Rooter since, yes, we’ve been having plumbing issues. I’m fortunate enough to have a very handy husband who’s been able to take care of them. But my imagination began rolling along at the suggestion “At one house, the plugged up sewer system yields….” I don’t want to post any of the thoughts i had here, but, heck, I’m a writer so the possibilities are endless!

    Liked by 1 person

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