Giant lumps the size of Christmas coal in the gravy, homemade pumpkin pie … oops, I forgot to put sugar in the pie … turkey and dressing is a tad parched like the Sahara Desert, soupy mashed potatoes. And, oh yeah, somebody forgot to pick up the cranberry sauce. Over the eons, the Frantz family has experienced at least one of the above culinary disasters during the holidays.   Did I forget to mention my favorite? It has to be the pricy, honey-dripping, spiral-sliced ham that flew off the kitchen counter onto the floor about five years back. Didn’t matter how many times it was mopped, the floor was sticky for about a month. Hmm, my guess is the memorable dish that awaits us this year is gonna be like the final score of the Texas/A&M Turkey Day bowl game … a mystery … till well into the fourth quarter. Hubby and I made up this year’s entire menu from a cookbook that is cleverly entitled “Thanksgiving.” I believe it was the drool-worthy pictures that originally sold us on the book. That, and in the past, we’ve successfully conjured up a couple of the tasty recipes. Personally, I think the title is a bit dull. I would have preferred something with a little more pizzazz like “Recipes for a Turkey Day Extravaganza” or “Gobble, Gobble Day to Infinity and Beyond”, but nobody asked me.   So we’ve got our aprons on and up to our elbows into creating sweet potato biscuits, corn bread dressing with oysters and ham, candied yams, mashed potatoes with leeks, a fancy cranberry sauce, broccoli with crunchy crumb topping and one honey glazed turkey in a pear tree.  Sorry … wrong holiday. Now tell me, do you think we jumped overboard on the Titanic with two recipes in the sweet potato/yam category? I’m just sayin’.  Doing a double-take on our menu, I noticed something looked strangely odd. Yep, the entire dessert category was missing-in-action. Can’t believe hubby overlooked his favorite part of the feast. I can still recall when we were first married. His mother’s sideboard was always lined up with about 10 delicious desserts, heavy on the pies, every holiday. Having nine sisters does have its advantages. Rick and his dad were always the first dudes in the long line. I’m certain when Rick realizes his dessert error there will be an emergency request for at least a couple of pies.   Funny, I was thinking about pies the other day as I stepped out the back door and looked skyward. Clunk. It wasn’t the first time I’ve gotten smacked on the noggin’ with something from that tree. It is an ornamental pear. We planted it probably 20 years ago and it provides great shade and a nice spot for our bird feeder. It also has the loveliest white blossoms in the spring. My favorite part is when the blossoms drop. The little white petals from the blooms make it look like it is snowing … in the spring. My guess is we’ve had the tree one year too many. The tree, or what is growing on it, has turned strangely evil. “That tree is absolutely coming out this winter,” Rick has said every day since the first poor-excuse-for-a-pear landed on our back patio and deck. This is the first year the tree has produced “fruit.” Literally thousands of them … every day. No kidding. I’ve counted as I’m madly sweeping. Not the kind of fruit you and I would consume, mind you. If it were, I could start a pie shop out of my kitchen. Each pear is extremely small, about the size of your index fingernail, and perfectly round like a cherry, only brown. It seems the squirrels absolutely love ‘em. So much so a couple of them sit all day long in the tree and break them in half and chomp. Then they drop the messy, gooey remains all over the patio and deck.   Actually, I can’t figure out what part of the “pear” they are munchin’ on, because it looks like they just break them in half and drop them. But hey, we’ve got the fattest squirrels on the block, so there you go. You should see them. Imagine a squirrel after drinking a couple cases of beer. Yep, our squirrels have beer, I mean, ornamental pear, bellies.   That leads me to a Thanksgiving dessert alternative. Only first I gotta figure out if squirrel pie is a dessert, entrée or a side dish. Happy Thanksgiving! Dixie Frantz is a longtime Kingwood resident and newspaper columnist since 1996. E-mail Dixie with your comments at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..