Family talents steal show during annual Thanksgiving Day banquet

Writing this five days before Thanksgiving, my salivary glands are beginning to anticipate my sister-in-law Amanda’s tender turkey, my brother Kevin’s specialty mashed potatoes and sister Debbie’s crockpot of meatballs along with her vegetables and dip.

My college sophomore Phoebe graciously responded to the early-November family email by offering to bring the college specialty of ramen noodles and easy mac, but she was quickly rebuffed with “No thank you!” from her Aunt Leta.

I know all of our Thanksgiving Days look different, but if the past can hint at the future, Thursday will involve watching the parade in our jammies, going for a hike/walk and getting together with the family. After we pray, eat and watch some football together, our young nieces and nephews will walk around with an official-looking clipboard and ask us individually if we would like to audition for “the show.” If we choose to try out in a private room in front of a panel of judges (none older than 13), we are agreeing to submit ourselves to a first round of sweet and encouraging judges (like the judges on “The Voice”); but if we do have the opportunity and are called back for a second audition, the judges turn into Simon Cowell.

Last year the original Hommel Sisters Trio, my older sisters Leta, Debbie and me (the one who sang on the Clowes Hall stage in 1963, yes, I was 4 years old and way cuter then), auditioned. We were ecstatic to be awarded a golden ticket to move on to the second round of auditions and were jumping up and down screaming with glee.

Unfortunately after the second nearly flawless audition, the judges, who will remain nameless (Grace, Nev, Raegan and Eli) obviously had impaired judgment from eating way too much of Grandma Betty’s pie and cut us from the show. Leta, Debbie and I were devastated and were not afraid to let these young judges see our disappointment when we dramatically slumped to the floor, sobbing in anguish — then stormed out of the room. Of course we had to apologize when we faced the judges in our second-round individual performances.

By the time you read this the leftovers will be in the frig, the cards and board games stored back in their boxes, and the Hommel Thanksgiving variety show will be over.

It’s hard to anticipate ahead of time what the judges would be looking, for but this year I have been practicing Adele’s song “Hello.” And even if I’m a bit pitchy, I don’t think the judges will be able to overlook my extra effort of adding dramatic props — I’m bringing a flowing black duster, so that my hair and the duster will blow in the wind of the box fan that I will have plugged in and placed 2 feet from my performance area.

And if that doesn’t score extra points, I’m banking on the 8-year-old, little-boy humor vote by slightly changing Adele’s beautiful lyrics:

Hello from the outside (outside)

At least I can say that I’ve tried (I’ve tried)

To tell you I’m sorry

For breaking your heart that fart

But it don’t matter, it clearly

Doesn’t tear you apart anymore

I just realized I’ve turned into my Aunt Shirley, Joan, Sandy, Betty and Janet — with a hint of my dad Frank, and Uncle Don, Steve, Joe, Mike and Tim. And for that I am truly thankful.