November 20, 2016 - Nancy Isham

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    SunNov202016 ByNancy IshamTaggedNo tags
    So this is the way my typical Saturday-before-Thanksgiving goes. I stand in front of the frozen turkeys at the grocery store and try to figure out just how big a turkey I need – can’t get too big a one, because it has to be completely thawed by Thurs. I know from experience that you don’t want to leave that little bag of innards behind in there! But, you also have to make sure there’s enough left over for turkey sandwiches later that night, right? 

    Then okay, our son is a vegetarian, so I have to make sure he gets some tofurky, whatever the heck that is, so he has his protein!

     But what about side dishes? My daughter would be perfectly happy with a big ol pile of mashed potatoes and nothing else on her plate, but my husband likes sweet potatoes, so I’ve asked my daughter-in-law if she would bring those. Now, Lisa likes to think outside the box and search the Internet for new things, so who knows what she will show up with. 

    Did you know that marshmallows contain crushed whale bones and so vegetarians can’t eat them?? Me neither, but I do NOW!

    And of course there’s the stuffing you make with the broth you get from boiling that little bag of unidentified parts. Never did make much sense to me why my mother used to leave bread out to dry for days just so she could re-wet it again, so now I buy that stuffing stuff in the bag. 

    Anyway, that’s lots of carbs, so I need a healthy green vegetable – that green bean casserole with mushroom soup and French fried onions on top counts, right? Ok, throw in that relish tray.

    But I’m making my mom’s cranberry jello salad for ME even if nobody else will eat it – I’ll get to play Sweeney Todd with the old fashioned meat grinder ‘cause if you put cranberries in the blender, all you get is mush!
    Anyway on to dessert. You just have to have pumpkin pie, right? But you can either get pumpkin that you have to spice up with nutmeg and cinnamon, and who knows what else, or you can get the kind you dump right out of the can into the pie crust. Bet you can’t guess which one I got! However, I did get real whipped cream since it’s a special holiday – uh no, the kind in the spray can, not that liquid stuff you have to whip up with beaters! Who does that?? Besides, by that point there is not an inch of free counter space in the kitchen anywhere! BUT I am making a deep dish apple pie for my son-in-law – from scratch!! 

    Does any of this sound familiar? A typical Thanksgiving? Well, such a special day is not necessarily typical in other parts of the world.

    I’d like to read you parts of an article written by Hannah Dreier for The Week magazine in Aug 2016.

    In Venezuela, life on the line

    Venezuela's vast oil wealth once fueled a bustling economy. But over years of mismanagement under a socialist government, much of the nation's production ground to a halt, and the country grew ever more dependent on imports.

    The supply chain broke down — first slowly, then all at once, as a steep drop in the price of oil left no money to pay for even some of the most basic necessities.

    The extent of the country's economic collapse can be measured in the length of the lines snaking through every neighborhood. The average shopper spends 35 hours waiting to buy food each month.

    All Venezuelans are assigned two shopping days a week based on their state ID number. They line up before supermarkets open and everyone is limited to two units of whatever is on offer.

    The longest lines are for what is in shortest supply: food.

    Venezuelans line up again and again for subsidized goods, not always knowing what they'll get when they finally reach the front. When supply trucks arrive, workers throw open the doors, game-show style, to reveal whether shoppers will be taking home precious pantry staples or a booby prize like dog food.

    For older shoppers, standing in the heat can be too much to bear.

    Irama Carrero had been staring blankly ahead for hours in a grocery line this May when her gaze suddenly became more fixed. She tilted backward. No one broke her fall, and her head smacked the concrete. While most in line stayed put, a young man volunteered to take her to the emergency room. On the taxi ride over, Carrero said she hadn't eaten since the day before.

    Queues thousands of people long are targets for muggers, who will sometimes work their way down person by person. 

    As lines have grown longer and more dangerous, they have become not only the stage for everyday life, but also a backdrop to death. More than two dozen people have been killed in line in the past 12 months, including a 4-year-old girl caught in gang crossfire. An 80-year-old woman was crushed to death when an orderly line of shoppers suddenly turned into a mob of looters — an increasingly common occurrence as Venezuela runs out of just about everything.

    The people waiting for hours in front of a Caracas drugstore were dazed with heat and boredom when the gunmen arrived.

    The robbers demanded a cellphone from a 25-year-old in black shorts. Instead of handing it over, Junior Perez took off toward the entrance to the pharmacy. Eight shots rang out, and he fell face down.

    The dozens of shoppers in line were unmoved. They held their places as the gunmen went through Perez's pockets. They watched as blood ran from the young man's head into the grooves of the tiled walkway. And when their turns came, each bought the two tubes of rationed toothpaste they were allowed.

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