People in DC share their infamous Thanksgiving stories

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and ahead of it, you may find yourself reminiscing about past gatherings that are memorable for all the wrong reasons.

From a great flood to a mystery stew, I listened to some infamous annual gatherings as told by people walking through D.C.’s Dupont Circle.

File the first two stories under “when first responders show up on the holiday.”



Ben Phillips, who lives at the Wharf, remembered when he was around 5 years old getting a hold of his cousin’s phone at the dinner table and accidentally calling 911. Phillips said in a panic, he hung up on dispatchers and passed the phone off to his cousin, but the story didn’t end there.

“I think about 15 minutes, 20 minutes go by and the cops come to the door and are like ‘did someone call us? Are you guys good,’” Phillips recalls. As the adults told the officers everything is OK, Phillips said he fessed up to making the call.

One woman who didn’t want to give her name to protect her brother recalled the year the fire department was called when his attempt to fry a turkey went south fast.

“Flames started coming out the fryer,” she said. The woman recalled her family trying to put out the flames coming from the fryer, which was next to a tree.

“It was a very bad situation that turned out to be comical in the end,” she said. The woman said once the fire was out, the family went out for the meal.

Other instances of meals that didn’t go as planned. One time in college, Marty Stone, of D.C., and his friends decided to cook a turkey.

“The turkey didn’t quite fit in the oven, but we still kind of put it in there, and hours and hours later, it still wasn’t ready,” Stone recalled. They then canned the bird and went out for pizza.

Elia Schahbazi remembers a Thanksgiving when a professor invited students to dinner, and he was in charge of the turkey. The professor prepared it and put it in the oven, but there was one little problem, he looked at the cooking instructions for a chicken not a turkey.

“The turkey was not cooked, the stuffing was all smooshy in there,” she said.

Schahbazi said the professor ultimately went with his plan B: going out to buy a bunch of burgers.

Lee, who gave his first name only so his family didn’t come looking for him after sharing his story to the world, said one Thanksgiving, his uncle from the South came to dinner, and was tasked with making a soup.

The soup came out OK. It got rave reviews until his family was realized it wasn’t a French onion soup or creamy spinach soup. Instead, the main ingredient was turtle!

When those who ate the soup found out what was in it, most people said, “‘I am glad you told me later, but it was good!'” Lee said.

The final story can fall under the title of “a crappy Thanksgiving.”

Jacky, who was out walking her dogs, said on one Thanksgiving, she attended dinner at her new stepmother’s home. During dinner, nature called.

“They had really bad plumbing on the stairs, and I went to the bathroom upstairs and the whole toilet overflowed and seeped through onto the Thanksgiving dinner,” she said. “My dad was knocking on the door saying ‘Jackie what happened’ and I’m like, ‘I’m so embarrassed.’”

She said the lesson she learned was to try holding it until you get home, especially if you’re eating at the stepmother’s house.

Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

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