A college student brings his new girlfriend home for Thanksgiving but forgets to warn his meat-loving family that she is a vegan.
None of it would have happened if Dylan Ulrich wasn’t such a poser, or at least, that was his bother Dean’s opinion. What would go down in family legend as the Great Turkey Caper only happened because Dylan always followed his current girlfriend’s lead in everything.
When he was dating a political activist, he marched in protests. When he dated a Goth, he wore black lipstick and listened to depressing music. But the family had no idea his latest girlfriend was a vegan…
Dylan called his mom the night before Thanksgiving and announced that he was bringing a special girl home for dinner. “Mom,” he said solemnly. “I think she’s the one.”
Mrs. Ulrich didn’t take that statement very seriously, because Dylan was always finding ‘the one,’ but she planned for an extra guest for Thanksgiving dinner. She told her husband, “Gus, dear, Dylan is bringing a girl home for Thanksgiving!”
Mr. Ulrich sighed. “I hope this one won’t insist on getting in touch with the unquiet spirits of our ancestors!”
Mrs. Ulrich shook her head. “I don’t know, Gus, he didn’t say anything about this one…Maybe she’s just…normal.”
Dean, who had just walked in, started laughing. “Normal? You must be dreaming! Remember the wrestler?”
Mr. Ulrich shuddered. “I wish I didn’t! She nearly broke my arm! But she was not so bad, the girl who burned incense at the dinner table was way worse!”
Mrs. Ulrich looked worried. “I think Dylan can always manage to do worse…And that’s what scares me!”
Dean put his arm around his mother and gave her a consoling hug. “Listen, mom, you just dish up your amazing turkey and that eggnog and this girl will just melt! Dont worry about it!”
But Dean was wrong, very wrong, because when Dylan arrived the next day shortly after lunch with a thin girl with a sharp nose in tow, Mrs. Ulrich was in for a huge surprise.
Dylan introduced the girl, Carmen, and Mr. and Mrs. Ulrich welcomed her warmly. They all sat around the sitting room chatting amicably, and at first, Carmen seemed quite pleasant.
Then Mrs. Ulrich popped into the kitchen and brought back a pretty tray filled with delicious-looking hors d’oeuvres and things started to go very wrong. Carmen stared at the tray as if it held poisonous snakes.
“Oh my God!” she gasped. “Is that…Is that…”
Mrs. Ulrich smiled proudly. “Those are Devils on Horseback, dates, and bacon, they’re delicious, and little quail eggs with my own liver pate, and those are salmon canapés…”
Carmen covered her mouth with one hand. “Stop, stop or I’ll vomit! How could you? That’s disgusting!”
“I’m sorry…” said Mrs. Ulrich bewildered, while Mr. Ulrich started to frown thunderously. Dylan was blushing furiously and looking very embarrassed. “Er…Mom…” he said. “Carmen is a vegan, you know…Like me?”
You can’t build a relationship on a lie.
“Like YOU?” asked Dean astounded. “You’re a vegan?”
Dylan threw his brother a significant look. “Well, yes, you know how I feel about meat and animal derivatives…”
“Disgusting!” cried Carmen and Dylan nodded his agreement enthusiastically. Mrs. Ulrich looked at her husband, and he looked back at her raising his eyebrows and grinning.
“My dear,” said Mrs. Ulrich calmly. “Please forgive me, it was insensitive of me. I will prepare a special dish for you for Thanksgiving dinner.”
“For me and for Dylan!” Carmen demanded arrogantly. “He’s given up that barbarism and his diet is now 100% of vegetable origin.”
“Of course,” said Mrs. Ulrich smoothly, but she didn’t see her husband and her younger son exchange looks. If she had she would have known they were planning something.
While Mrs. Ulrich went into the kitchen to prepare dinner and dream up a vegan substitute for turkey, Dylan took Carmen for a walk, and Mr. Ulrich and Dean vanished for parts unknown.
They came back an hour before dinner laughing and winking at each other, and locked themselves in the dining room. Mrs. Ulrich heard some odd sounds, but she was too busy to investigate.
Finally, everything was ready and Mrs.Ulrich called the family to dinner. Carmen made a face when she saw the gorgeous golden brown steaming turkey in the center of the table, and Dylan looked a bit embarrassed.
Then Carmen screamed, “What’s that?” She was pointing with a trembling finger at the head of a giant turkey mounted on a polished board that was hanging on the wall of the dining room.
“What? That?” asked Mr. Ulrich. “That’s last year’s turkey! Wasn’t he handsome? And really delicious. I bagged him myself with just one shot!”
“ANIMALS!” screamed Carmen. “BARBARIANS!” and she ran out of the house, with Dylan in pursuit.
Mrs. Ulrich turned to her husband and her younger son who were screaming with laughter and said, “That was cruel and rude, and you haven’t just hurt that poor girl, you’ve hurt Dylan!”
“But mom,” said Dean. “It’s a rubber turkey we got at the pet shop…”
“It was still nasty, I expected better from you,” cried Mrs. Ulrich. Mr. Ulrich and Dean looked very ashamed of themselves, but luckily for them, Dylan came back.
“Carmen’s gone,” he said glumly. “She called an Uber, and said she’d see me in college.”
“In that case,” said Mr. Ulrich. “Let’s sit down and eat that turkey.” Mr. Uçlrich carved and dished out the succulent turkey to the whole family and they were all about to tuck in when Carmen walked in.
“Dylan,” she said. “I just realized I left my handbag…” And then she saw that her vegan boyfriend was busy chewing a great big mouthful of turkey. Of course, that was the end of yet another one of Dylan’s strange romances.
Mrs. Ulrich was very upset with her men. Mr. Ulrich and Dean for being insensitive, and with Dylan for being a stone-cold liar and deceiving poor Carmen as to his nutritional scruples. Nevertheless, the turkey was swiftly reduced to bones, and a good time was had by all.
What can we learn from this story?
- We should respect each other’s choices and beliefs. The Ulriches weren’t very sensitive to Carmen’s choices, but she was also rude and offensive — so both sides were in the wrong.
- You can’t build a relationship on a lie. Dylan lied to Carmen about being a vegan so she’d date him, and so she couldn’t trust him about anything else.
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