Years ago, before I was lucky enough to have a wife and family, I was single.

Well, that wasn’t hard to figure out.

Anyway, I had several Thanksgiving meals as a single man that were memorable.

In 1985, I was a sports writer in Dothan, Al., a city of about 30,000. One of the local high schools was in the playoffs, and I had been covering the games.

On Wednesday, I went to its quarterback club meeting. I went every week because people would fight over paying my check. I didn’t take advantage of it by always ordering the ground chuck.

My plan was just to lie around and watch college football games on television. I bought some things from the local grocery, most of which was a liquid grain item.

I got a knock on my door around 2. It was one of the parents. They had a huge plate loaded with everything, and no turkey loaf.

About a half hour later, another knock and another plate.

By 4, I had four or five plates, enough to eat for the next week, if I rationed it wisely.

The last one with my family was when I was in college. I missed a couple while I was in the Marine Corps, so I tried to make sure I came home when I was discharged.

My folks were about to go to Florida for the winter. They were leaving that Saturday. I drove the 35 miles that Thanksgiving morning to be with them. I was excited. My mom was a decent cook, and there were certain things I really liked.

My dad and I always had a disagreement about the cornbread dressing (or is it stuffing?). He thought it had to be almost liquid, while I preferred a drier style.

I left Auburn at 10-ish so I could spend the day with my folks. I got there about noon, and everything was cooking. I couldn’t wait.

And then mom appeared with a turkey loaf. In case you don’t know, a turkey loaf is ground up turkey put in an aluminum container with some gravy-like substance you can pour over it.

I stopped at Burger King on my way back to Auburn that day.

Perhaps my favorite Thanksgiving memory as a single came in 1980. A fraternity brother of mine, Bill, was an orphan. He wasn’t planning on going anywhere, and my folks were already in Plant City, Fl., probably munching on turkey loaf.

He and I decided to have a feast. We bought Cornish hens, stuffing mix (OK, we were too lazy to make the real stuff), the fixings for green bean casserole, rolls, a pie, some other items, and we bought wine.

I’m not a wine drinker. I bought something that came in a little jug. I don’t think it’s made anymore. I have an idea why.

He was the wine drinker. He was going to buy a bottle of Paul Masson Chablis. Being the pseudo-comics that we were, we started calling it “Paul Mason Chab-liss.” That isn’t exactly French.

All day we made jokes about Paul Mason Chab-liss. It continued the next day and through the weekend.

About two weeks later, he had just finished finals, and I was pulling into the fraternity’s parking lot.

Me: “Where are you going?”

Bill: “To get a bottle of wine.”

Me: “Paul Mason Chab-liss?”

Bill: (laughing) “Yeah, that Paul Mason makes good Chab-liss.”

We walk into the sandwich shop and go to the counter.

Clerk: “Can I help you?”

Bill: “Can I have a bottle of Paul Mason Chab-liss?”

Without batting an eye, the clerk turned and went to get it.

Poor Bill had the look of horror on his face.

I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving without any turkey loaf and maybe some Paul Mason Chab-liss.

Brian Love is a freelance writer in Cleveland.

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