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Mashed Potato Mile

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Thanksgiving 2009 brings about the third annual "Smith Family Mashed Potato Mile." This grueling race forces my family to overcome the forces of laziness, gluttony, and of course...early morning! Before I can go into detail about the "SFMPM," I need to give everyone a brief overview of my family. Nana and Papa, my grandparents on my mom's side (and also my current roommates!), have six children: Barb, Ellen, Janet, David, Carol, and Mary. The six children gave Nana and Papa a total of 19 grandkids. So every Thanksgiving, all of us (plus some "adopted" family members) usually number somewhere around 30. Needless to say, it's a big group.

Looking to spice up a boring holiday (sounds like a certain airline, huh?), the grandkids decided to come up with a fun activity that everyone could participate in. We originally tried the Turkey Trot here in Dallas, but that didn't work out. The cold weather, early start time, and ridiculously long distance (5K) just didn't cut it for our family. We needed an event that allowed cheating, beating, and of course, LOTS of eating. So in 2007, the “Smith Family Mashed Potato Mile” was born.

The “SFMPM” starts at the crack of dawn (10:00am), so that everyone can participate--even us late-risers.  The only three rules are: everyone must wear their official “SFMPM” race shirt, everyone must have a snack during the race, and cheating is tolerated. When the horn sounds, the racers push, shove, elbow, and claw their way from the starting line at a blistering pace of 1/4 mile an hour. As we chat, eat, and cause a royal ruckus, we slowly make our way around the neighborhood on our 1/4 to 1/2 mile track. The race usually features at least one stop for a wrestling match, one stop for a rest and relaxation "veg," multiple stops to argue about the distance and route, and of course...the heart-pounding finish!

Some highlights from years past include: in 2007 Uncle Will, after unveiling his "race spandex" racing ahead of the pack, only to have us all get tired and deviate from the route to turn back early. He got last place that year. In 2008 we had a photo finish--literally. My Dad appeared to finish first, but after further review, it was determined that a picture of cousin Michelle, who couldn't make it to the race, actually crossed the line before him. It was taped to the front of his scooter.

So there is no telling what the 2009 "SFMPM" will bring. Word on the street is that we will have sponsors this year, with all money being donated to Nana and Papa's favorite charity. If your family is looking for a good time this Thanksgiving, I challenge you to form your own grueling race. All it takes is a willingness to be lazy, a desire to eat on the go, and a willingness to come together as a family to do something special.

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Great blog, Sam! How come you can't see me in the fam picture - I want a repost (Is Janet now your favorite aunt? I can understand that you would have to put your twin cousin in the picture). Twin cousin (n.) First cousin born on the same day within the same hour delivered by the same doctor at the same hospital in the same town. Usually the better looking of the two.
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Sam you always do something to make me proud. Famous last words "Sam did it."
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The Smith family pushes themselves way too hard!! Just think of all the food preparation for the whole bunch...and the clean-up! Plus a race that starts at the crack of dawn! Too, too much. Next time start the race at about 4pm and have "relief" stations along the way, like a smogasbord of turkey day dishes and leftovers. Everyone eats, has a great time with the neighbors, no muss-no fuss, and the last Smith to cross the finish line is obviously the winner! Thanksgiving dinner re-invented. (Also be sure to "leak" information ahead of time about who will be wearing mandatory). Great job, Sam! The last time I saw you, you were wearing a bike helmet pretty much 24/7, carrying a roll of packing tape in a holster, and sitting atop a retaining wall,shorts around ankles, doing something that prompted your mom Carol to yell (hardly every happened) something at you. Congratulations, keep up the good work! We miss you!!!! Kathleen, Mary, Max and Sam
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The thought of that many Smiths concentrated into one small neighborhood should be disturbing to the community and, perhaps, the entire state. My family takes great comfort in knowing that SFMPM occurs about a thousand miles away from our home in Albuquerque and we can safely celebrate Thanksgiving the way NORMAL families do...without the National Guard, riot squads & UFOs (While many Americans trace their Thanksgiving origins to Plymouth Rock, some have suggested the Smiths arrived from a galaxy far, far away. Hey, I'm just saying...). Can you imagine if they put Sam in charge of the Boston Marathon? Be afraid. Be very afraid! Happy Thanksgiving, From the Baillio's
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Rumor has it that there was also a Thanksgiving devilled egg throw down this year? any update on that? How did the family weather the pressure of two big competitions in one day? I hope and trust that the Longhorns in the family fought back any feeble Aggie attempts at an upset. In any event, I think the public deserves to know more.
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I chose not to participate in this year SFMPM because I feel that the organizers did a little false adverstising last time. I heard rumors of Whataburger hamburgers and fries as the pre race meal, and there was not a justaburger to be found. I managed to stagger through the race undernourished, but swore I wouldn't do it again. I also demanded my entry fee back, but the organizers reminded me that I hadn't paid an entry fee. I also heard a rumor that this year's SFMPM might have not even taken place because everyone was too lazy to get off the couch...just saying.
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Well from what I know of the Smith Family and the Hanley family, this can only mean one thing.... Family Fun. I have never seen a family as united as this family. I wish I could say all families were like this. We should all aspire to be like you. The cackling, laughing, poking, and proding that goes on when you are all together is delightful. What a wonderful family and wonderful family tradition. Keep the torch burning.... Love Gaye Lynn
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Sam, Good stuff-----ing! Was your dad on that bike that was stolen from Lance in Austin this past week? That would seem to be cheating beyond the accepted norm! Hook 'em, James B.
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Delighted the tradition is - eating on the run.