Gas Leaks & Gratitude

Yes, you read that title right. We had a gas leak.

No one really plans for things to go a little crazy on Thanksgiving. Ok, that’s a lie. There just have to be folks out in the world who KNOW that when a group of people get together, something interesting is bound to happen.

We are THAT family. Whether we like it or not, we know that something is bound to happen at the Fraley house. The saying usually goes something like “Only at the Fraley’s”… or “”Typical Fraley’s”. I used to be somewhat offended by this statement, but not anymore. I’ve learned to embrace it.

You see, I used to be a planner. I used to map out EVERYTHING and I just had to be in control. Too many things in my childhood were out of my control, so I just assumed over-controlling everything as I got older would make some sense. Yea…no. God had a different plan for my life. He thought it would be funny for me to marry a fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants kind of guy.

Y’all. I’ve been trying to reign him in our whole marriage. [Insert the loudest cackle laughter that you can imagine]… That’s NOT possible. I promise.

He’s amazing and he is also FULL of adventure. Because of all of his endearing qualities, I have learned to laugh at the unexpected events that come my by these days.

Alright, full disclosure, laughter is not always my first response. Sometimes it’s still hard to embrace the shenanigans. I get frustrated and sometimes the tears just start flowing. What can I say? I’m human.

We had a smaller than usual crowd for Thanksgiving this year. I can’t complain too much because the pandemic shut down the world for over a year, so I’m happy to take what I can. But this year was much more intimate. My mom came over the night before and we did what any normal person would do before hosting a group of people the next day: we cleaned Kenneth’s man cave.

The ability to clean a space that no one will see instead of doing practical tasks, like preparing pecan pie or side dishes, is a skill set that has been passed on for generations. Before any large gathering hosted by any woman in my family, you will notice us cleaning the most unlikely of spaces. Why? I’m going with genetics. I honestly have no idea why. Our husbands CERTAINLY have no idea why. We just do it.

While my mom and I were blissfully preparing a space that was not necessary, we were also calculating what actually needed to be prepared the night before. Funny how that works.

We woke up to the smell of coffee, and we were full of anticipation of watching the Thanksgiving Day Parade. We were READY. Y’all we cleaned, prepared, and got ready like champs! Some family showed up early, but we had both ovens working in overtime to make sure everyone had room to finish their contribution to Thanksgiving dinner.

The time came when our turkey (which my husband prepared & left sitting in the middle of the counter) was ready to head to the deep fryer. For all of you conventional turkey roasters, the deep fried turkey was one of my husband’s ideas which turned out to be an amazing hit a couple years ago. If you are looking for healthy food options, this is not it. The turkey is rubbed down & dropped into peanut oil. The skin comes out all crispy and delicious. This is the type of turkey you eat with stretchy pants on. I’m just sayin…

So, as Kenneth heads outside to do the only task assigned to him on Thanksgiving, we all continued to prepare the ham and the wide variety of sides in my kitchen. A few minutes before we took our annual “food picture on the table”, my cousin walks in and informs us, in her ever calm and soft-spoken nature, that the turkey wasn’t going to be ready. It had caught fire and the guys were trying to “figure out what to do.”


I could NOT help but laugh. What can you even do in this situation? As it turns out, the turkey did not actually catch fire. It was not in the fryer yet. The pot had a hole in it, so the oil was flowing everywhere. The propane leaked & got a hold of the oil. (In all seriousness, this could have been BAD.) Kenneth was able to stop the leak quickly and it really wasn’t that big of a deal. However, like any true game of telephone, what I heard was that the deep fryer exploded and caught fire. That sounds like a Fraley shenanigan story if I ever heard one.

Gas leak or not, we ate ham for Thanksgiving. We called around the county in hopes of borrowing a pot at the last minute, and we did. The turkey was done just in time for sunset and everyone to leave. Leftovers, anyone?

The best part of the whole story is the laughter. The memories we shared were ones that I will carry with me for a lifetime. The Fraley story about “that one time Kenneth caught fire to the fryer before Thanksgiving” is added to the list of stories I will share with my grandchildren one too many times until they know it by heart.

You see, the funny thing about control is that you know what to expect. Sometimes knowing what’s coming is necessary and it makes a lot of sense. But it can be boring and predictable. When you’re faced with an unexpected or unplanned situation, you get to control how you respond. This year we responded in joy, thankfulness, gratitude, and laughter.

Learning to laugh at the unexpected has taken me YEARS of practice. I still get it wrong and try my hardest to control things around me. I’ve also found that you have to CHOOSE joy and positivity. They will not choose you. Your brain was wired for survival, not wired for seeing the glass half full. In order to embrace change, you must first choose your response.

Today I encourage you… no matter what unexpected situation you find yourself in, learn to laugh about it at some point. Find one small reason to be grateful. I promise you, it will change EVERYTHING.

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