Thanksgiving with the Nuns

Harpy Thanksgiving, Readrrr.

Photo on 11-26-15 at 2.03 PM #3
Harpy Sistrrr Grim got all dolled up for the Shabby Abbey ThanksGrimming Gab-fest.

I know what you’re thinking: you know life’s been tough on the sistrrrs for some time, you know we’re scraping by on our grim and grimy palms and knees at the Shabby Abbey, and you’re, reasonably, expecting us to be ungrateful.

Well not so. We’re not ungrateful.

But I wouldn’t say we are grateful, either.

We are nungrateful. Yup. Huzzah! There’s a word for your holla’-day table. Sure, I know what you’re thinking (“Nun… grateful?”), and you’re right: the nuns and gratitude typically don’t mix, but on Thanksgiving, the nuns make an exception to the rule and assume an attitude of gratuitous graciousness. (Word-hungry Readrrr, wrap your doctrinal lips around the word right now and grate some nutmeg over it because tis the season for being nutty with nungratefulness.)

You need a definition.

Nungrateful: an emotive state characterized by an appreciation for nuns or, if one is a nun, as one should always be a nun, then the emotive state of appreciation that occurs in nuns. If you’re a nungrateful nun, then you’re a double whammy nun-of-nuns and a convent rarity, as one who has lived the sorrowful life yet who still finds merit in the nunhood.

Nuns have been nungrateful for each other for centuries.

There has been a lot of nungratefulness going around here today; let me tell you! It’s not even over yet. It’s nearly curfew at the Shabb Abb, but I, by the grace of God, have managed to sneak off into the library to write this post. The nuns are still hard at work on their eleventh slice of pie (they want to try them all; it’s tradition, but don’t think they’re being gluttonous– these pieces are no bigger than your average mandarin orange slice). Nevertheless, the nuns are the slowest eaters on the planet, so when they started on the slice of lemon meringue, I seized the opportunity to snake my way out of the room. The nuns close their eyes in an ecstasy when consuming pies (“the fruit of our Lord’s loom”); all I had to do was slip down under the table and slither my way through the maze of slippers.

I only had one close encounter, when Sistrrr Phyllys decided to shut her knees together as I was passing through the dark drape of her habit on hands and knees. This is not the first time this has happened with Sistrrr Phyllys. Before coming to the convent, she was a renowned psychologist and a Quaker, and, I think because of this, she’s always analyzing me and watching my every move. Since I knew she would predict my inclination and escape route, I was not at all surprised that she felt the need to erect a barrier against my efforts. That is why I brought her all eleven of my cherry pie slices. She had been giving me “the pie eye” from across the table for over six hours, and we came to a very firm non-verbal agreement in that time about exchanging favors. So I set down all my cherries between her hefty legs and gave her the signal: eleven nudges to her right knee with my nose. (This may sound odd to you, Readrrr, but it’s to be expected: the nuns have their own ways of communicating and these ways work for them. (We nuns are very parenthetical creatures, by the way.))

Nuns have superior communication skills!

It’s not Sistrrr Phyllys I have to worry about, anyway; it’s that damn hall monitor from hell (every abbey has one), Sister Intestincle. As per usual, this rubber brained sister thwarted my plan to get into the library earlier today. (I confess, I have been trying since five thirty this morning.) Trust me when I tell you: this sister is a night terror. I don’t exaggerate, on this point. She gives all of the nuns, even despicable slug-stew wielding Sister Danita, night terrors. And the runs. Both. Simultaneously. It’s god-awful, and we suspect the diarrheal reaction is an internalization of the smell of Sister Inestincle’s breath when she stops us in the hall to question our whereabouts. The stench alone would send even the most determined nun flying back to her room in a state of utter panic. It is so sad what Sister Diarrhea has done to us. In fact, we’ve all had to start wearing Depends to bed at night because of the close proximity of her rancorous toxicity to our little nun beds, and this is a terrible thing for our abbey, because Depends are exorbitantly expensive and, well, no one likes diarrhea for a bedfellow!

I wrap myself from head to toe in toilet paper whenever I anticipate (dread) an encounter with Sister Intesticle

I have been working with Sistrrr Mal (last name: Content) for years to have this blight on the abbey transferred to a more suitable location, way way way down south, but the higher ups over at The Vat don’t want to have to deal with any controversy that might arise from her transfer. So we’re stuck with Sister Intesticle, for now, but I know that soon someone, Readrrr, is going to change this. Even though I don’t have a cent of my own, I am banking on it. If someone doesn’t change this soon, the nuns will have to start opening their mouths about this, and we know The Vat doesn’t want that. But I’m not worried: Our Heavenly Lor’ed is above The Vat and will step in if The Vat doesn’t. I have faith in Our Fathrrr,Readrrr! Hee will come through! So… no worries…

But all this is to say I made it here, by grace, tonight just to be able to share with you a few of our Thanksgiving traditions. One that I haven’t mentioned thus far is a ‘top ten list’ that the nuns compile and vote on every year to represent the ten things for which they are most grateful. Generalized gratitude, unlike nungratitude, has to be enforced around here. Since we already voted and since I am in charge of making the nuns grateful, I can report on the 2015 Shabby Abbey Gratitude Results.

Things For Which The Nuns Are Grateful (besides themselves & the Lord):

  1. Canned tuna
  2. The addition of the wood oven to the attic
  3. Fumigation
  4. Sister Intesticle’s 1-hr long weekly trip out of the abbey to get a perm
  5. Bad jokes
  6. Memory erasure
  7. The Nun Mobile
  8. The yellow wallpaper I put up in the kitchen
  9. Oscar Wilde & Julia Child (it was a tie)

Surprisingly, the usually-contentious nuns were all in agreement on this list, when we took our vote. The only debate ensued around the issue of Oscar Wilde and Julia Child, but I told them they didn’t have to choose, and we all were in agreement that a ten and a half exception was best.

Roo de Loo
Our abbey is allowed one pet. Meet Little Julia, our kitchen kitty. Loves to measure things and I encourage counter-sprawling!

Thanksgiving is a time for the nuns to make long, fruitful toasts to one another, to roast the flying friarycakes out of one another, to fight over the heads of the table, and to praise the good father, the son, and the holy spirit for the endless opportunities for self-denial that Hee provides.

The surprise of surprises this year is that I was actually able to work in some magic (do NOT mention this magic word –magic– to the sistrrrs, though, or I’ll be staked and burned by the morning). The nuns were planning to eat their usual .0000024 course meal but I pulled some strings so that they could enjoy something special today.

Remember, in addition to being a probationary nun, I am a wicked witch, Readrrr. Full blown. As you recall, I’m sure, Sister Danita turned me green but it was Head MoFo who put me in charge of the Shabby Abbey kitchen when she caught me (wand-handed) with the cauldron (I should have known that cauldron would leak all the details of my hexploits!).

I decided to surprise the nuns, for whom I am ever so grateful, with a few dishes that Martha Stewart taught me how to make, back when we shared a cell together at Camp Cupcake (the good old days…of yore).

The result was pleasant.


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It turns out that, though this would send the nuns into a tizzy, MAGIC WORKS. I didn’t have to do ANY cooking whatsoever. All I had to do was cast a few spells in the kitchen, and, voila, I was able to feed every single s’more-loving last one of my nuns. Everything was delicious and the nuns ate their hearts out. The only thing I haven’t worked out yet is portion control (as in: I need to start controlling the portions produced by this cauldron if I don’t want my nuns to look like blimps by the end of this week).

I’m all for adding a little green to keep things overtly wicked but I also happen to know that the nuns are obsessed with rosemary. Almost as much as I’m obsessed with the nuns!

The good news is that I know now that the nuns will not starve. No, things are going to start looking up now that Sistrrr Grim is in charge, and the nuns are going to make up for the thousands of years of deprivation.

Which reminds me: I didn’t mention this because I didn’t want to toot my own horn, but there was one item I left off of that NunGrateful List: the nuns are nunequivocally grateful that Sister Danita’s days in the kitchen are O-VER. And on that note, I want to do something really strange. I want to say that I’m grateful, today, for Sister Danita for teaching the nuns What Not To Eat and for getting me a permanent gig in the kitchen as Culinary Overseer. With the way things are going, who knows, maybe my wicked witchcraft will land me at the top, with Head MoFo. Someone’s got to take care of all the little nuns, and that someone is me!

Yes, as you can tell, I’m feeling good tonight. All that kitchen magic has me cooking up ideas.

Finally, however, though all of this is messy and I’m pressed for thyme:

I’m grateful-beyond-grateful for you, Readrrr.

Photo on 5-6-15 at 11.07 AM #2
Yes, You.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. andrewjsacks says:

    Your powers are vast, immense, Sister Grim, and nun-surprising. You will note that as the nun-appreciating novitiate that I most staunchly attempt to be, I even LIVE in an emotive state: California. Is that not nungratitude for ya?


  2. Anonymous says:

    You ask my I live in the green mountains
    I smile and make no reply
    as the peach blossom falls into the river and floats into the unknown
    I have a world that is not among men.
    Li Po
    (But I’ve never really thought of the mountains as feminine until just now–although I do feel/know they don’t love me)


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