Frankie O: Thanksgiving traditions

Frankie O: Thanksgiving traditions

Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2010
3:41 PM

By Frankie O
CSNChicago.com

We all have our favorite holidays, for all sorts of reasons. For me, it usually is whatever one is next. Holidays are fun! (Especially when you dont have to work, but I choose the wrong profession for that to always be true.) It starts when were very young, as we learn what each one means. These days, I often get asked which is my favorite, and one seems to have risen above the rest. You could almost say we were made for each other. Thanksgiving has reached mega-status in my house, at least for Dad. Like all recurring events it comes with many things that make it unique: Traditions.

The earliest thing that I liked about Thanksgiving is the four-day weekend. That gets your attention in a hurry. Nothing is more fun and its never gotten old. As Ive learned, it really takes four days to take it all in, and to recover. Part of that is because due to the long weekend, Friday night has been moved to Wednesday. How cool is that? For us in the bar business, its one of the biggest nights of the year. Thankfully, thats no problem for the participants, since Thanksgiving is a low-stress holiday. No presents! Although the specter of what is about to happen all around us. In fact radio stations are already playing Christmas music and my smart-phone is blowing up with money saving sales event e-mails. Its good to ease into the madness that has become Christmas. Speaking of easing in, its a day for comfy clothes. No formal pictures around a tree, so its come as you are. And as we will discuss, that is also good for other reasons.

My morning consists of cooking a turkey breast, (I must smell cooked turkey ALL DAY!)and snacking. Consider it a pre-game stretch. If you dont have a plan, you are not going to maximize your opportunities! I also must set my Fantasy lineup, because the feast of football is about to begin. I guess its good that the Detroit game is early, since lately, well almost my entire life, that has been the worst of the games. Then its off to the in-laws for the fun to begin. As soon as we arrive its the time honored tradition of picking the spot that I will occupy for the next six or seven hours.

Optimum viewing angle is a must. No, not of the TV, its of the wife in the kitchendining room, being out of the line of fire is a good thing! Mark your territory and let the games begin! Dinner is usually served at game 2 kickoff, due to the amount of people, we dispense of the formality and everyone eats where they are. In front of the TV really works for me, since I dont want to miss an opportunity to root against my most hated rival, in any sport, the Dallas Cowboys. The Eagles 27-0 win, the Leon Lett game and the Randy Moss game were very good days. The turkey was extra tasty! And speaking of food, its not just the turkey, its all about THE FEAST.

At this point, I always try to be a good guest and pay my respects to the chef, mom, by eating everything in sight. Nothing says Im so thankful for your cooking like 3 trips to the chow line! That third plate sometimes takes some effort, but sometimes you have to suck it up and get the job done. This is also were my choice of comfy wear and seating position come into play because its time to HUNKER-D! (Thats hunker-down or simply curl up into the fetal position for the uninitiated.) Then more football watched through a tryptophan haze. Why does my wife ALWAYS send the kids to me now? This is my time! After a slice of all three different pies available,( dont want to be rude!)its time to ride the sugar-buzz and get the kids home and ready for bed. And, oh yeah, another football game. I love the NFL Network! After game three its time to veg-out and thats where a mindless comedy comes in. A Thanksgiving movie. For me its always Planes, Trains and Automobiles. I love that movie! I dont understand why TNT doesnt run it on an all-day loop like they do with A Christmas Story.

As midnight approaches, the time is almost here. The late-night mission. The reason for this day. My annual leftover-turkey sandwich. Over the years, the recipe for this sandwich has been honed to perfection! It is without question, the best sandwich of the year. I wont share the recipe with you here, since I cant do the description justice by just typing it, but if you come into the bar and tell me about yours, Ill tell you about mine. May the better win!

On Friday, the wife leaves the house before anyone even considers waking. Good for her! That also means that after creating misdirection with the little ones with DVDs, Wii games and money, I can spend ANOTHER day of watching football and eating turkey. What other holiday keeps giving like that? (I know it means nothing here in Chicago, but the Flyers play a matinee every Black Friday. In fact, as a youngster, it was at one of these games that I witnessed my first bench-clearing brawl and became a hockey-fanatic for life!)

Saturday, for me, means back to work but thats not really a bad thing. Honestly. I have a serious tryptophan high and moving is a good thing. Besides, at work, on the TV, theres more football! Does the fun ever end? Well no, since Sunday brings the NFL and a return to my fantasy domination!

By Monday, Im pretty well spent. Thankfully, the kids are back in school and Im almost out of turkey. Monday is trash-day in Mokena so its a cleansing day. All of the leftovers that Ive been sharing a love-hate relationship with must go. So its a little turkey salad while I enjoy the Monday Night Football game.

Its also time for reflection of the weekend and holiday past. The real reason Thanksgiving is the one for me. Its about sharing time with loved ones, eating , laughing and having times together that will always be remembered. Sometimes life moves a little fast for us all, so its good for us to have an organized time of doing whats really important. That it includes eating and football only makes it better.

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Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks host Lightning tonight on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks host Lightning tonight on CSN

Watch as the Blackhawks take on the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live. Then stick around after the final buzzer to watch Blackhawks Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.

Click here to watch the game or download the NBC Sports App, your home for live streaming coverage of the Blackhawks.

Five Things to Watch:

1. Grab the first goal.

The Blackhawks have scored the game's first goal in seven of the last eight games, and of those seven, they've won six of them. Meanwhile, the Lightning have scored the first goal only 17 times in 48 games this season, and are 12-5-1 in those games. They're 9-17-4 when they allow the first goal, so getting out to a lead first will be important against a struggling Lightning team looking for signs of life.

2. Will the floodgates open for Jonathan Toews?

After a four-point game in a 4-2 win over Vancouver, the Blackhawks captain matched his point total over his previous nine games. He's up to 26 points on the season, which is now fifth among Chicago forwards. When Toews has offensive droughts, they usually last longer than they should. But when he gets hot, he gets extremely hot. Perhaps we'll see the floodgates open offensively.

3. A chance for the team lead in scoring.

With an empty-net goal on Sunday, Marian Hossa tied Artem Anisimov for the team-lead with 18 goals. Artemi Panarin is right behind with 17, and Patrick Kane isn't far either at 15. The Blackhawks had four 20-goal scorers last season, and haven't had more than that since the 2013-14 season. They're definitely on pace to hit four, but could they surprass that? Richard Panik, who scored another goal Sunday as well, is fifth with 11 goals while Ryan Hartman has 10. Toews is at eight, but a flurry after a drought could make things interesting.

4. The triplets reunited?

In an effort to jumpstart a struggling offense, Lightning coach Jon Cooper reunited the triplets line of Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat that was so successful during their 2015 playoff run in their latest game, a 5-3 loss to Arizona. It's unclear whether they will begin tonight's game on the same line, but if not, it's worth watching throughout the game whether they do. The Blackhawks have been coming at opponents in waves lately, so Cooper could look to separate the three to distribute the scoring.

5. Take advantage on special teams.

The Lightning have racked up the fifth-most penalty minutes in the league, and own a bottom-10 penalty kill unit at 80.1 percent. The Blackhawks are the second-least penalized team, and have converted on 17.9 percent of their power plays, which sits at 16th. But they haven't scored one on the man advantage in five straight games, going 0-for-9 during that span. Here's a chance to change that.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

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