Thanksgiving 2011 was like no other, as the entire Republican presidential field came to our home for turkey and fixins.
How were we so lucky?
Amazingly, we were chosen via robo call to host the live event for Donald Trump's new Internet channel, EGOTV.
Here's how the day went:
10:00 am - The candidates arrive in their custom made buses, creating quite a traffic jam in the driveway. My wife and I greet them along with our children. The kids love Rick Perry's bus, which includes a flat bed and gun rack, complete with a turkey hunted down with his bare hands a few hours earlier.
10:30 am - "Turkey Bowl" football game. The highlights:
Newt Gingrich insists on being game historian, making rules such as "Go deep, go out," or "One Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi" sound like a dissertation on molecular physics.
Mitt Romney plays quarterback for both teams, naturally.
The game is tied going into the final minute when Romney completes a pass to Herman Cain, who bowls over Jon Huntsman and Michelle Bachman, then races towards the goal line with Ron Paul latched onto his right leg. With ten yards to go, Perry (who found it hard to run in cowboy boots) manages to lasso Cain from the sideline, bringing him down head first with a thud.
As everyone rushes to Cain's aide, he sits up, dazed, and explains that there is, "All this stuff twirlin' around in my head."
12:00 noon - The candidates watch football and wait for dinner. Perry cheers for his Cowboys, while Romney can't decide who to root for when he isn't nervously changing channels. Cain, still dazed, tries to remember where he has seen Huntsman and Rick Santorum before.
3:00 pm - Dinner.
At the dining room table sits my wife and I, along with Romney, Gingrich, Perry and Cain.
In the next room, at the kids table, my children sit with Bachman, Paul, Huntsman and Santorum.
Gingrich leads a prayer which goes on for over an hour, after which he announces a new book on Thanksgiving (written while everyone else was watching football), available on Amazon for $24.95.
Discussion centers around who can be the most conservative, with several ideas bandied around including:
- Privatizing Social Security, with funds invested in a nationwide chain of drive thru gun shops (Perry)
- Putting God on the $20 bill in place of Andrew Jackson (Santorum)
- Converting Head Start into a vocational job training program (Gingrich)
Things get heated over taxes as Paul begins jumping on his table while Bachman shoots peas at the other candidates.
At one point Cain says, "I am against government aid to pilgrims for the following reasons...LINE!!"
6:00 pm - Departure.
The candidates begin to leave. Perry says to my wife, "Boy, there were three great things about today, the food, the company and......let me get back to you."
Plenty of pleasantries to go around.
And who gets the leftovers? We do, the voters.