Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone

As I spend this Thanksgiving eve preparing for tomorrow’s drive down to L.A. for my friend Rhonda’s annual shindig, I thought I should give newcomers to this blog a taste of what went down in 2008. In a nutshell, Michael and I were the lone Yankee fans among a table full of naysayers and I got into it with…Well, take a walk with me down memory lane.

My Thanksgiving Saga/Yankees Brawl

My family lives back east, so my husband and I drive down to L.A. every Thanksgiving and celebrate at the home of our friend Rhonda Friedman. Rhonda not only takes in strays like us but prepares a fabulous meal and sets a very elegant, tasteful table – flowers, crystal, candles, the works.

Rhonda is the supervising producer of the soap opera daytime drama, “The Bold and the Beautiful.” She is frequently seen walking the red carpet at Emmy Awards and such.
Rhonda always presides over a really nice group of people, but occasionally, as on “The Bold and the Beautiful,” there is drama.
This year, along with her family members, we were joined by her friend Jennifer Farrell, who until recently hosted the TV show “Find & Design,” which was like “Extreme Home Makeover” without the “Extreme.”
Jennifer’s boyfriend Mike was there too. He produces/directs a reality series called “My Big Redneck Wedding” on Country Music TV. I had never heard of it, so I made him say the name of it about six times. Apparently,
it is hosted by this man.
Also in attendance was Rhonda’s friend Mary Ann, the ex-wife of actor John Saxon. Does anyone remember him from the movies or the zillion TV series he was on?
So there I was, sipping champagne, eating turkey and minding my own business, when Jennifer’s mom, who was visiting from Florida, said very animatedly, “Jane’s got a book coming out about how she loves the Yankees! I went to my Books-a-Million in Gainesville to buy it, but they don’t have it in stock yet!”

I smiled, eternally grateful that I would have at least one sale, and said, “It doesn’t come out until February 3rd. Maybe you could go back to the store then.”

I resumed eating, this time diving into the stuffing.

“The Yankees are losers,” said somebody down at the other end of the table. It might have been Rob, Rhonda’s brother. Their family is from Chicago and they’re Cubs fans. Or it might have been Mike, Jennifer’s boyfriend, who also roots for the Cubs.

“They had a down year, yes,” I admitted, feeling my blood pressure spike.

“A down year?” said Antonio, the dashingly handsome son of Mary Ann and John Saxon. “They sucked.”

I laughed. Well, it was Thanksgiving. You’re supposed to laugh and be jolly and forgiving.

“Yeah,” Mary Ann chimed in. “What do you think went wrong with them, Jane? Besides the pitching and hitting and fielding.”
O.K. That was downright sarcastic! Never mind that she and her son are Dodgers fans. No excuse for picking on my team during a lovely holiday meal.

I set down my fork and eyed her. “We had a new manager,” I said. “And there were injuries. A lot of injuries.”

“Plus, they sucked,” said Antonio.

Everybody at the table laughed. LAUGHED. Including my husband, a Yankee fan, or so I thought. Would no one but me defend the Pinstriped Ones? 

“We’ll bounce back and be very competitive next season,” I said, my heart thumping now. I was trying to keep it civil. I w

Antonio smirked. “How? You can’t even sign Sabathia.”

Uh-oh. I gripped my champagne glass tightly and said through clenched teeth, “Then we’ll sign one of the other free agents. Lowe, maybe.”

“Lowe?” he said mockingly. “You can have him. He’s garbage.”
“Face it, Jane. The Yankees aren’t what they used to be,” said Mary Ann.

That did it. How dare she? How dare any of them?

I should have attempted to calm myself, done some deep breathing, shoved more food in my mouth. Instead – I’m so embarrassed to tell you this – I threw my champagne at Mary Ann. In turn, she grabbed a handful of candied yams and threw them at me.
In the blink of an eye, she and I were really going at it.
Needless to say, Rhonda’s beautiful table was ruined. My apologies to her. I can only hope and pray she’ll overlook my boorishness and invite me back next year.


No, nobody got hurt. It was a “fun fight.” When we went to Rhonda’s last year, the Yankees had just won the World Series so you’d think everybody would have been a tiny bit more respectful. Instead, I got an earful about how the my team “bought” a championship, blah blah blah. Enough is enough. This year I’m going armed with the chocolate fudge cake I baked earlier today.
It’s a recipe from my friend Diane Worthington’s cookbook, Seriously Simple, and it’s incredibly dense with a chocolate walnut glaze. If anyone at Rhonda’s says even one negative thing about the Yankees I’ll pull it off the buffet table, stick it in my car and take it back home with me – plus the whipped cream that goes with it!

Here’s hoping my Thanksgiving – and yours – is full of laughter and good food. (I’ll report on this year’s ad
venture on Friday.) Before I sign off, in the spirit of thanksgiving and gratitude, I’d like to give a shout out to Tom Kackley, the equipment/clubhouse manager for the Trenton Yankees. Tom emailed today to tell me about a fantastic auction he runs every year on eBay to raise money for the domestic violence shelter in his hometown of Canton, Ohio. Tom’s wife’s sister was murdered by her husband in ’97 and he felt powerless to help – until he came up with the idea for the auction. This year, it’s going on  until December 1st and there’s all sorts of Yankees memorabilia for sale. Check it out:

For more on the shelter he helps support, here’s the link for it. http://www.domesticviolenceproj.org/



  1. scofid

    Not many teams making the Championship Series can say it was a ‘down’ year! Thanks for sticking up for our honor at the party! 😀 By the way, I grew up about 21 miles from Tom Arnold. Of course, I still don’t know if that is a good thing…or a bad thing. I would be very thankful this Thanksgiving if tomorrow’s headlines read “Yanks Sign Lee…and Jeter…and Mo!”. Oh well, I guess I’ll be thankful for good health and the safety and happiness of my friends. Enjoy your day tomorrow!


  2. Jane Heller

    Signing Lee, Jeter and Mo would quite the Thanksgiving surprise, Scott. I’d love to be a fly on the wall at their turkey feasts and hear what they’re talking about! But good health, safety and happiness are even better alternatives. Happy T Day to you.

  3. mikeeff

    grace under the most trying conditions…and these are supposed to be friends… only you could handle it. meanwhile those haters don’t deserve that beaUtiful cake. I want some. NOW – hey what’s that on top?
    have a beautiful holiday. i’m going to my dad’s bearing treats. the food will be wretched. his wife can’t cook…

  4. mel.tmottbg@gmail.com

    Yea for Barbara and Harold being together on Thanksgiving!

    My pumpkin pies (made with real pumpkins) look great, the apple pie dough is chilling in the fridge.

    Here is a song for today:

    Over the river and through the woods
    To Jeter’s house they’ll go
    Hal knows the way
    He’s just got to pay
    And sign both Jeter and Mo – oh
    Over the river and through the woods
    oh how the did it sink so low?
    It was such a loss
    We miss the Boss
    and how he handed out dough.


  5. dschaub@gpo.gov

    Gobble. Gobble.
    Happy T-day from a fat old turkey who’s avoided the axe yet again this year…and may your sumptuous repast be exactly that, no more & no less.
    Of course, we know better. If any of those glitterati haters are there (and if they even remember your Yankee ties…I bet some won’t), they’ll have too much to feast on as of right now. You can point out that many great Yanks didn’t finish their careers there (as pointed out yesterday), and for that matter many great footballers didn’t either, like say Joe Montana, Joe Namath, etc. etc. Create diversions. Above all, dear Jane, DON’T forget that li’l ol’ bottle of Tabasco…or maybe something HOTTER if you got it…?!!
    Finally…what a thoughtful thing for that Trenton Yankee clubhouse mgr. I hope that it continues to work very well, and I may check it out myself. Today is a rotten miserable cold rain in D.C., but my goofy sons are STILL going out to play tackle football in 45-degree rain & mud…meanwhile, we host…gotta pick up 89-year-old ma-in-law and take her back, too…but at least it’s a Football House, so Yankee-bashing will be at a minimum…have a GREAT day, everyone!

  6. bgalaxy@verizon.net

    happy thanksgiving. we are thankful for the yankees, for you jane, and all the other jane bloggers. enjoy.
    barbara and harold (who is braving the cold to be with me)

  7. Jane Heller

    The cake is delicious and fairly easy to make, Mike, since most of the batter is blended on the stove before popping it into the oven. After baking it, while the cake is still hot, you make the glaze, which is chocolate ganache with chopped walnuts (those are what’s on top – in the pic they look like worms, don’t they?) and pour it over, sticking holes in the cake so the glaze drips down into it. Can’t wait to have some today. Have fun at your dad’s. Those caramel treats you showed us on twitter looked pretty yummy. At least you can eat those if your dad’s wife’s turkey is from hunger.

    You made pumpkin pies – plural – AND apple pies too, Melissa? And I was bragging about my chocolate cake. You put me to shame! Have a wonderful day. I loved your song. The lyrics are perfect, especially how the Boss handed out the dough. So true.

    Gobble gobble to you, Dave. And thanks for mentioning Tom’s auction on eBay to benefit the domestic violence shelter. I hope you do check out the merchandise there. You’re a good son to pick up your mother-in-law in that awful weather and take her home after your feast. Enjoy your family and your football.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and Harold, Barbara! I’m so happy you’re together for this holiday. Please give him my best and tell him I commend him for braving the cold when he could have stayed in warm and toasty Florida. Right now in Santa Barbara we’re having record breaking cold temps. It’s in the 20s and I’m not loving it!

  8. jimmy27nyy

    Hi Jane … Oh, the memories !!!

    How’s it going? … My blogging activities have been very limited over this past year. But, I try to keep up with mlblogs as much as I can … Let’s hope and pray that the Yankees sign Jeter, Mariano, and Cliff Lee “soon”. And enough already with the disrespectful way the Yanks are handling the Jeter negotiations !!! … Hopefully, the talks with Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte will go much smoother … Anyway, have a great Thanksgiving Day. And if there is any of your chocolate fudge cake leftover [which looks delicious, by the way], you can send a slice to me. Or, maybe, Jane, you can bake a new cake(s) for one of your next book signings !!!
    Happy Thanksgiving and Best Wishes,
    – Jimmy, “BY&L”

  9. beckers46

    Happy Thanksgiving, everybody! Jane, good luck defending our beloved Yanks this year. We all have to stick up for our team to naysayers. My co-workers always pick on me. Since they know NOTHING about baseball, they really don’t have room to talk. I’m thankful for many things this year. I’m very thankful I stumbled onto this blog over the summer. I’ve enjoyed chatting with all of you. May peace be with each of you this Thanksgiving day. For those that work in retail, best wishes tomorrow. Turn those red sales figures BLACK! Have a greay day! – Becky :0)

    P.S. Fingers crossed deals will be made with Jeter and Mo soon. And that Andy comes back for another year!

  10. abby1306

    Love the story, Jane! I probably would have done the same, ha ha! But this year you definitely have something to shut them up. The cake looks delicious! 🙂
    We don’t have Thanksgiving (Ok, we do have a day we call Thanksgiving, but unfortnately we don’t celebrate it. But I so love Thanksgiving and I wished we would celebrate it like you do!) but nevertheless I wish you a very happy Thanksgiving and hope you all can enjoy it with your family and friends!
    I really hope we’ll hear very soon about Jeter’s and Mo’s and Lee’s signing. And it’s Nick Swisher’s 30th birthday, so congrats to him. 🙂
    Wishing you all the best and enjoy Turkey Day!
    – Nadine

  11. Jane Heller

    Jimmy, it’s been so long since I’ve “seen” you! I’ve missed your comments and thoughts on our Yankees, so I was really glad that your name popped up today. I, too, hate the way the Jeter negotiations have gone, but I hope the next week will bring better news for him and the others you mentioned. If the chocolate cake is a success, I’ll post the recipe and you can make it. It’s really easy. Have a great day!

    Happy Thanksgiving to you too, Becky. I know you’ve had experience with Yankee haters at work, so you can empathize with my adventure today. I’ll be leaving in a couple of hours and am gearing up! Very thankful that you stumbled across my blog last summer. You’ve been such a welcome addition to our little community here.

    I thought you didn’t watch the show anymore, Paul? But not to worry. I’ll try to get all the dirt today about the goings on in the Forrester and Logan families, especially with Brooke.

    Sorry you don’t have Thanksgiving there, Nadine. I wish you could fly over to the States and join us today. I could use another Yankee fan to support me. I hope your day is fun nevertheless, and wish you all the best too. And Happy Birthday Swish!

  12. Jane Heller

    It was more funny than rude, blithescribe. Everybody did say those things, but it was all done in the holiday spirit. Sort of. LOL. The truth is, nobody likes the Yankees except Yankee fans so I’m pretty used to the ribbing. I can’t wait to see what they hit me with this year. My bigger worry is traffic on the freeways! Happy Thanksgiving and let’s hope the cake tastes as good as it looks. As I said above, it’s easy to make so I’d be glad to share the recipe.

  13. blithescribe

    Wow. Just wow. On the one hand, you have a very funny story to tell for years to come, but on the other hand wow, those were very rude guests. I can’t even imagine making the initial (fill in the blank) sucks comments with regards to anyone’s team (other than my Red Sox friend who picks on me like he’s my big brother, all in good fun, and would be astonished if I didn’t dish it right back out in kind), let alone at a holiday gathering to someone who is passionate enough about the team to have written a book about rooting for them. And then to then continue the insults? And they were Cubs fans who have no room to throw stones at anyone, to boot? It’s comedic movie funny, but wrong at the same time. If they start in again, you should ask them to remind you how many years it’s been for them again? It’s hard to keep track once you hit the century mark. Or offer to bring goat tacos next year instead of dessert. You know, to help end the “curse”. LOL

    Happy Thanksgiving! The cake looks gorgeous by the way!


  14. raysrenegade

    That reminds me of the first year I got to sit at the Big Table” while my sister and a few cousins and kin of the near-family were destined for the folding “Kiddie Table”.
    Of course being the battler I am I took a few mashed potatoes bombing raids to my lesser aged combatants at the smaller table.
    Food fights were a rite of passage in my family’s gathering, and when the biggest instigator of my family ( no…not me) finally got the reward oif the adult supervision…I had artillery going full bore to the unknowing clans of kids.
    Ahhhh memories.

    Rays Renegade


  15. Jane Heller

    Mashed potato bombing raids! Lol, Renegade. I bet you were a little rascal at those family Thanksgivings. Hope you have a good one today. I’m en route to mine now. Wish me luck.

  16. colombiano2386@yahoo.com

    Happy Thanksgiving to you Jane and fellow baseball fans. Hilarious story that you just told btw. Hope it doesn’t amount to that again this year. We all have alot to be thankful for like spending time with our loved ones and enjoying their company and indulging on terrific food. I finished eating a feast of roast turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, green string beans, yellow rice, and cherry cheesecake and now the itis is kicking in and I just wanna go to sleep lol. Everyone enjoy the rest of your holiday, indulge some more if you ate already, and just kick back and relax and watch some football afterwards or whatever else you prefer. I’m waiting for the Jets game to begin. Enjoy the holiday everyone. This is the first in years that I’ve been able to do so with family (I previously worked as a movie theater manager and worked all holidays ugh). Hopefully we Yankee fans can have something else to be thankful for real soon: new contracts for Jeter, Mo, and Lee!

  17. Jane Heller

    Happy Thanksgiving, Leo. Wow, that meal you just ate sounds incredible – and very filling! Glad you were able to spend time with your family this year. It’s only 3:45 here in CA so my big feast is awaiting. Can’t wait.

  18. diehardcubsfan4ever

    Happy Thanksgiving, Jane! As a diehard Cubs’ fan, I can certainly relate to the lively table talk. You can’t help it that you are a Yankee fan (just kidding!). I was hoping the Cubs could land Joe Girardi, but the Cubs snubbed him. I wasn’t too thrilled about it. Now, I’m hoping the Cubs can trade a pitcher to the Yankees, in exchange for Brett Gardner. Surely, the Yankees could use Carlos Zambrano or the left-handed set-up reliever, Sean Marshall. The Cubs need a lead-off hitter and Brett Gardner would be perfect, but I doubt the Yanks are willing to part with him. Aside from that, I love your blog. It’s awesome. Nice dramatic appeal, very creative. Good luck to the Yankees next season. I hope Derek Jeter can be re-signed. It would be a shame if he isn’t.

  19. Jane Heller

    Happy Thanksgiving, diehardcubsfan. So you’re interested in Brett Gardner? I hope the Yankees keep him, sorry. I love his speed and he could be great for us in the leadoff spot once Jeter moves down in the order. And yes, I think the Captain will be signed soon. Good luck to your Cubs next season.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s