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Passing The Spoon On Thanksgiving


Today, of course, there is turkey, stuffing, football games - and how about gourd baseball? That one's not like the others when it comes to Thanksgiving traditions. We asked you to tell us about your nontraditional rituals for the holiday. So batter's up. Kelie Navatne's(ph) family in Bloomfield, Michigan, plays baseball with the gourds her mother-in-law uses for Thanksgiving Day decorations. We hit them into the lake, she writes, and yes, they do explode on contact. Kelie adds: Sometimes we're wearing them after a good game.

A good answer is what Bob Terreberry of Maple Springs, New York, has been after for almost two decades. He puts together a family quiz every year.

Mr. BOB TERREBERRY: It was just a way to introduce family information to our kids -you know, what was grandma's maiden name? And then it got to be more humorous.

BLOCK: So you have to kind of keep coming up with new and surprising questions.

Mr. TERREBERRY: Yes. Once in a while, we go back to - if I get stuck, I go back to the archives and bring up the one - the favorite one is, where is Chuck? Well, Chuck is a dead gerbil, and he's buried in the backyard.

BLOCK: What are some of the questions on the quiz this year?

Mr. TERREBERRY: The one that I like the best is: Who bagged a deer prior to hunting season? And that was my wife, who hit a deer just a couple days ago and did $5,500 damage to our brand-new car. So I have one, too, that I think you'll like. It's called: What radio network thinks our quiz is worthy of national public acclaim?

(Soundbite of music)

BLOCK: Now, this Thanksgiving family tradition may make you not want to eat. So listen with care.

Ms. MARY WEBERG: My name is Mary Weberg. I'm from Denver, Colorado. Pass the Spoon is a pretty disgusting game that we play at Thanksgiving whereupon after everybody's done eating dinner, and your plates are still full of food debris, you take a fresh serving spoon, and the person who starts the game is the loser from the last year.

So the person is given a nice serving spoon on which they place a piece of food from their plate, and then the spoon is passed to the next person, and they put a piece of food on their plate, and it goes around in the whole circle of gathered guests until somebody drops a piece of food off of the spoon, and that's when it gets kind of sad because they have to eat the contents of the spoon.

BLOCK: And how high might that stack get before somebody has to eat it?

Ms. WEBERG: Oh, it can get pretty ugly. If you think about it, a couple hours ago, you had all this beautiful food and now it's on the spoon, stuff like Uncle Stinky's purple mashed potatoes - and that cranberry horseradish that we got the recipe from here, from NPR.

BLOCK: Mmm, Mama Stamberg's cranberry relish.

Ms. WEBERG: It looks really nice on the spoon - basic turkey, maybe a little black bean soup from Steve(ph), sausage pieces from stuffing from Gloria(ph), things like that.

BLOCK: Now, are there any rules for Pass the Spoon?

Ms. WEBERG: There's two rules. One, you can't put big chunks on the spoon, like a giant piece of breast crust or turkey gruel. That wouldn't be very fair. And you can't put any liquids on, like gravy or wine.

BLOCK: And what happens when somebody drops a piece, and they know they have to eat it? What goes on around the table?

Ms. WEBERG: Well, that's when the tribal chanting starts.

BLOCK: Tribal chanting.

Ms. WEBERG: Yes - eat it, eat it, eat it. And clapping and everybody just laughing, crying-laughing because you have to eat it.

BLOCK: You know, that doesn't sound so bad to me because that's just basically the whole meal just all together.

Ms. WEBERG: Well, you're welcome to join us.

(Soundbite of laughter)

BLOCK: Join in the tradition.

Ms. WEBERG: Yes.

BLOCK: Well, who's your money on this year, Mary?

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. WEBERG: I think that I would like to see Uncle Stinky drop the spoon this year.

BLOCK: Uncle Stinky.

Ms. WEBERG: Uncle Stinky is actually Tune Irvin(ph), my brother-in-law.

BLOCK: Well, Mary Weberg, Happy Thanksgiving, and may you not be the one who has to eat the spoon this year.

Ms. WEBERG: Thank you very much, and Happy Thanksgiving to you as well.

BLOCK: That's Mary Weberg of Denver, Colorado, explaining what's sure to become the rage for our listeners next Thanksgiving: Pass the Spoon.

You can find a lot more nontraditional Thanksgiving traditions, and share your own, at

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BLOCK: And a very happy Thanksgiving to all of you from all of us at ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, from NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.