The Thanksgiving Letter

November 26th, 2009

 (submitted by Kara at www.californiakara.com)

And finally… after years of  trying, Marney agreed to sit down with AFP and discuss her famous letter.


2,984 Responses to “The Thanksgiving Letter”

  1. rocker momma says:

    I am going to defend Marney.

    I have hosted COUNTLESS family dinners for 10+ guests. I cook, clean and prepare for days. Everyone offers to bring something which I welcome with open arms. However, one can of green beens tossed with almonds will not serve 15 people. At least this was brought in a serving dish, no serving spoon. A grocery bag containing a miniscule loaf of bread and a container of green onion cream cheese plopped on the counter is NOT an appetizer. You brought sweet potato casserole but it hasn’t been cooked? Sure, let me take the still undone turkey out of the one oven I have so you can cook that up. And yes, nothing is more disgusting than store brand ice cream. And no, rocky road does not go well with lemon cake OR pumpkin pie!

    Maybe Marney is just fed up with hosting family gatherings where everyone shows up needing her to drop everything to find the items they have forgotten to bring with them. If I still hosted such events, I would probably resort to the same sort of letter for my own sanity.

    Lighten up on Marney!

    • Tammy says:

      I agree – while the letter seems a bit harsh, at some point she was just doing the work of making sure everything turned out ok. There is enough family drama without messed up food. And she really is a sweet lady when you see the video. Plus, it really is not rocket science, bring a spoon, and a cover, etc. – Give her a break – she deserves it!

      • nan says:

        I’m sorry, but there is something between leaving it completely open and lackadaisical and being a food Nazi. This is scary and I feel badly for her husband and children.

    • Becky says:

      I agree with you 100%! It’s no small task to put on a large family dinner like thanksgiving, and it sounds like she has a large family to feed. I imagine she went thru many yrs of having to deal with things people forgot or didn’t bring all that was needed to serve it before she resorted to the letter. Sometimes people need clear instructions!

    • Victoria says:

      I wonder why you chose to continue hosting if it was such a terrible burden?

    • Lurtle says:

      I can see the points you’re making…but…telling people which recipe to use, not to use your casserole dish of a certain color, insinuating that one of the women has to be an adult now and do what Marney tells her…come on. Marney could easily say “Who’s hosting Thanksgiving this year?” I imagine that Marney likes this dynamic and loves being able to boss everyone around.
      If she doesn’t like the amounts brought, I have absolutely no problem with being asked to bring ____ lbs of mashed potatoes but that’s it. No instructions on how to make mashed potatoes or what type of dish to bring them in. If she knows that I’m a crappy cook, she can phone me directly and nicely suggest a recipe for something, still a bit presumptuous but at least I wouldn’t get dressed down in a family-wide letter.
      Dinner and Thanksgiving will not be ruined forever if someone brings their blue friggin’ casserole dish (NOT regulation size!)

  2. Lisa P says:

    Anybody else hear the horror film/hitchcock film knife sounds while this woman is talking besides me?

  3. Susan says:

    I can’t believe people actually will go to her house.

  4. Yerdy` says:

    Wow. It seems as if Marney is off her medication for her OCD. I think that somewhere she missed out on the “it’s-just-good-to-get-family-together-and-hang-if-the-dishes-all-match” facet of the holiday. For her, the holiday will be TOTALLY ruined if anyone deviates from her instructions. So sad for her and the whole family (I can just hear her berating someone for using foil or not bringing a spoon). Wow.

  5. Tishes says:

    It’s not even that her ideas are so bad, in fact, it sounds like a pretty tasty meal, especially if you like mashed potatoes A LOT. It’s the fact that her letter is RUDE AS HELL that makes it so outrageous. It is rude to every single member of her family that she addresses. I didn’t get the sense, from the interview, that she realizes that.

  6. b says:

    I would like to know which guest sent this letter in to AFP. And if everyone showed up. After getting this note, I would have stayed home.

  7. Alex says:

    Boycott Marnie!

  8. Liz says:

    Thank heavens our niece has invited 20 of us and only asked that we bring our appetites.
    We of course are taking things but certainly not UNDER ORDERS. Wonder if you make the fatal faux pas of forgetting the serving spoon you would be thrown out on your ear.

  9. MaryCherry says:

    I keep wondering why Marney doesn’t already have a pie knife.

  10. James says:

    I laughed as I read this, but about hafway through, I stopped laughing. I could easily see myself writing this letter. *buries face in hands in obsessive controlling shame*

    • Mindy says:

      Me too, James! I was reading it, thinking, “Wow! The letter I’d love to write but would never have the nerve!” lol!

  11. Leslie Wack says:

    What, no dress code?! With such detailed dinner instructions I cannot believe there’s not one!

  12. GirlBarrie says:

    OMG!!!! I HATE Marney!!!

  13. Jami says:

    “Dear Marney,

    Since you’re so demanding that you even dictate what serving dish I’m allowed to use, I’ll be spending Thanksgiving at home eating fried baloney sandwiches. A lot less stress. And FYI – there’s nothing wrong with foil.

    Sincerely,
    Someone Sane”

  14. Tim says:

    All that, then she has… Coors Light ??
    No, Dear.

  15. MizzM says:

    Marnie obviously has a large, extended family that likely gets together for holidays and celebrations all the time. She obviously takes that for granted and has no idea how sad it is to prepare a perfectly balanced gourmet quality meal for four or less people. I wish I had a big, crazy family to cook for. I wish I had aunts, uncles, and cousins. I wish my only sister lived in the same state. I wish my Mom was not dead. I would love to be invited to her big, crazy family dinner. I would show up early and stay late to help clean up.

    • jc says:

      I come from a large family. I have a mother and several Aunts like Marnie. I must say cooking a gourmet dinner for four or five people is wonderful. We all pitch in, bring the wine we like, don’t fight, take our plates in the living room to watch football. We are thankful that we never have to go to a dinner like Marnie’s again. And we use foil to cover the food without a scene.

  16. Dave says:

    I read this letter every year since it gives me a real chuckle, but every year that my turn comes to do the family Christmas Party, the more I feel the need to put out a letter like Marnie. I already come off like a real micromanaging b**** with the cookie swap rules since no one ever seems to get it right. I’ve come to the realization that if you’ve got a big crowd you’ve really got to be more like Marnie so that it goes seamlessly.

    • Vermin8 says:

      I’ve come to this realization – sometimes the way to ensure that things DON’T go seamlessly is to try and force things to go what one person considers seamlessly.

  17. Lizzy says:

    Whats wrong with using aluminum foil instead of a lid XD

    • Janet says:

      Stackability. If you have a lot of stuff to store on your fridge or on your counter, you want sturdy lids on them so you can stack one on top of the other without smushing the food.

      That being said, this woman is a food Nazi.

      Signed,

      Janet – caterer

  18. Lois says:

    Do people actually write letters like this?? I am glad nobody in my family ever sent out letters demanding that everyone bring food exactly to the hostess’ specifications. Usually it was, “We’re having dinner at my house. Could you bring a casserole or something?” and nobody cared what it was. Thanksgiving means food and family, not running your house like it’s a catering business. I laughed at the part where she instructs someone to bring a turnip casserole and then points out that most people hate turnips! Then what in bloody blue blazes is the point of bringing any?? I hope this woman got medical help. Maybe someone slipped prescription meds into her Coors Light so that they could all enjoy the holiday without her input.

    • Vermin8 says:

      Yeah I wondered about that too (ie the turnips). I think like someone else I’d politely tell her I wouldn’t be able to make it…so sorry!

  19. NatiJenn says:

    What a nut case. No thank you. I’d rather go to Golden Corral. Enjoy your Thanksgiving….ALONE!!!

    • Kate says:

      OH DEAR GOD! Not Golden Corral! I’ll take Marnie.

      • Melissa says:

        Actually, that is where my friends and I are going this year. None of us have family nearby and usually can only afford to go home at Christmas. We want a buffet where we can pick and choose what we want and can go back for seconds. (Then go home and slip into a food coma in front of the TV.) Golden Corral is not gourmet cuisine, but it’s not horrible either.

    • Tim says:

      Oh no. If you don’t go to someone’s home on Thanksgiving or Christmas, the only option is Chinese.

      • Kelly says:

        For a while, we had Christmas at a Truck Stop buffet. Mom hates cooking. Everyone got fed. No one stabbed. I don’t know if that will be said at Marnie’s Thanksgiving. Someone (maybe Marnie or another) is going to SNAP.

  20. elly h says:

    “crazy DEMAND…
    crazy DEMAND…
    crazy DEMAND….

    –signed (NOT “love”), the turkey-nazi!”

    so, most likely, it’s pretty much “NO TURKEY FOR YOU!!!” for these “guests”/thanksgiving hostages. and something tells me marney’s the ONLY one “looking forward to the 28th!!” and why is marney requesting, i’m sorry, DEMANDING, that michelle bring a pie knife when amy MUST bring the pie, and michelle HAS TO bring THREE other things?! plus, something tells me “Marney the Horrible (Homemaker)” already owns the baddest, sharpest pie knife around…to threaten the lives of her “guests” with! i am just tooooo appalled and fascinated by this!

    • YSUBassoon says:

      Marney’s knife got bloody somehow and had to be tossed in the river, so if Michelle could bring *her* pie knife, that would be very helpful.

  21. Elsie says:

    Dear Marnie,
    I think I will bring a knife, thank you.

  22. JAZB says:

    I’m sure OP has more skillpoints in cooking than most of us here.

  23. william says:

    Really?

  24. Richo says:

    Send Marney to Australia for a little holiday next November. We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving here. It might give her a little chance to unwind before Christmas.

  25. madame S says:

    I call fake, There’s no way this is real.

  26. Tammy says:

    My favorite part is how she tells the one family to bring turnips but not too many because a lot of the family doesn’t like turnips. If no one likes turnips, why are we making them? I understand telling someone to bring mashed potatoes but for heavens sake, let them choose what vegetable side dish to bring and don’t make them use your recipe for stuff! Marney needs a Thanksgiving intervention. She probably wouldn’t let anyone else in the family host either.

    • Dianne says:

      Tammy: Obviously she wants turnips because *she* likes turnips. That’s enough for her, bring some freakin’ turnips!!!

  27. Mary says:

    Dear Marney,

    You have a problem. A serious problem. Respect for people’s frredom is essential to relationships. Do people in your family reaaly like you like this? Or do you have they impression, at times, that they only just pretend to like you? They might be showing up for Thanksgiving out of a feeling of duty. Thsy might be bringign things that you find unsatisfactory and complain about just because you twhart their sens of self worth and freedom.

    What about asking them to bring their person, their smile, their kindness and whatever they feel like cooking? What’s the problem with letting some of the control go?

    One thing is to ask for cooperation, another thing is to ask in that tone and those terms. It sounds like you ahave no respect for some of your guests.

    That’s such a pity, really! If I ever received a letter like that from a relative, I would not hesitate to tell them that unfortunately I have other plans for the holiday, without feeling guilty.

    Best wishes and good luck!

  28. Catie says:

    I don’t see how she’s so bad. This seems like a good way to make sure everyone knows what to bring, and that way there are no extras.
    It’s hard to prepare enough food for everyone yourself, especially if you need 15 pounds of mashed potatoes!!
    I recently made everything for a family get together from scratch (pretzel buns, pizza stuffed pretzels, bourbon burgers, m&m cookies, lemon glazed cookies, nutella filled cookies, parmesan biscuits, mashed potatoes, deviled eggs, egg salad, potato salad, and a few other things that weren’t from scratch, but still had to cook them too), and I was happy just to have one of my friends offer to help, it still took us 12 hours with our combined efforts to get everything done!
    So no, I don’t see how she’s in the wrong. It seems to me that all these people have probably messed up in bringing things to Thanksgiving before, and she just feels the need to put her foot down and get everything organized.

    • fireflight says:

      Be that as it may, if Thanksgiving is at your house this year, I’ll be at Pizza Hut.

    • Cherie says:

      Sweet Mother of god – this does not sound fun at all. Count me out and sign her up as a Marine Corp drill sargent.

      • John Pinion says:

        Well, you know, it’s like traffic lights and speed limits – how tedious and unfun! uhhhh! Why do we have to have them! weeeeeeeeeaaaa!
        Because without some guidelines, all hell breaks loose, more often than not. Not that this shit absolutely HAS to be followed… Unexpected events happened? Well, COME ANYWAY, but do your best to follow the suggestions. If you feel you can’t, call and let’s make other arrangements. It’s not DO or DIE, but it’s some suggestions and guidelines to just make the party more fun for all of us. I understand the logic.
        (That said, she might try just letting it fall together and see how that goes from time to time… but maybe NOT on Thanksgiving! :D)

    • Lois says:

      But when most people do a potluck dinner, they don’t specify every little detail, right down to what kind of dish to cook the food in, how high to fill it, and what type of serving utensils to include. Most people are like, “Hey, Alice, can you bring that excellent sweet potato casserole that we had last year? And Steve, if you could bring dinner rolls and a bag of potato chips, that would be great.” If holiday meals are so stressful that she has to insult people by demanding they fulfill her every tiniest whim or else risk offending her, then she is doing it wrong. It is supposed to be a time of giving thanks, of being grateful for friends and family–even when they DON’T live up to one’s exacting expectations.

    • Kelly says:

      You really bit off more than you could chew; it probably happened to Miss Marney. However, what she is doing is absolutely spoiling everyone’s good time. You can be specific “Please bring two choices of ice cream. One being Vanilla)…but not downright anal “Don’t bring that serving dish!” Holidays are meant to be fun. Pandemonium can ensue with big families, but that’s part of it.

      • Beth says:

        I’m just trying to imagine what went so wrong with that serving dish last year…

        It’s probably known in that family as the 2008 Thanksgiving Serving Dish Debacle. There’s a story there, somewhere.

        But then, I’m an Aussie, so it’s all amusing to me. ;)

  29. Marney says:

    Ok, If you must mock and criticize my Thanksgiving letter you need to do so in the following manner:

    1) Make sure all comments are in the form of a complete sentence, using proper puntuation and capitalization. (Do not use contractions, as they are lazy words!)
    2) Do not repeat comments or reuse comments in your replys. If you feel the need to express yourself, then do so with your own thoughts and words.
    3) Spelling, spelling, spelling.

    Please understand that anyone making negative comments about my excellent organizational skills will not be invited to this year’s Thanksgiving meal.

    • Skip Alidon says:

      While reading your invitiation, my mouth salivated profusely. I would gladly bring extra wine, of course. Instruct me as to the number of extra bottles you would like me to bring.

    • Mike says:

      The plural of “reply” is “replies.”

      Spelling, spelling, spelling

      • HauteCocoa says:

        Thank you, Mike! Both her response and Thanksgiving letter are littered with grammatical errors. For someone who is so “serious” about details (to the point of tyranny), she sure has missed quite a few. She has also missed the entire point of Thanksgiving, apparently.

      • Deb says:

        I love it! Spelling, spelling, spelling!!!

    • Mike Byron says:

      Hi, Marney,

      We’ve decided to have Thanksgiving at Burger King this year. You want to come? Could you please bring ketchup? Never mind, they have it there.

      Just bring your warm and bubbly personality.

      Cheers~!

      Mike “VANILLA” Byron and family

    • Penmark says:

      It’s “punCtuation”

  30. Lavon says:

    The “Marney” in my family finally decided that only SHE had the ability to make a decent meal, so she did all the cooking and then actually charged us all admission to her mother’s birthday party! This is both painful and hilarious!!!

  31. Barney says:

    I showed this letter to my very Southern mother who hosts Thanksgiving for up to 20 each year and her response was: “Tacky, tacky. Who invites people to your home for a meal and then tells them what to bring? It’s not a covered dish supper at church. You presumably care about these people enough to spend Thanksgiving with them, do you not care enough to prepare a meal for them? If not, go to a restaurant and get over it. And as for Marney, I would tell her to take her letter and shove it up her a**.” Love my Mom!!

    • Betty says:

      I totally agree with your mom I believe if your throwing the party you should be fixing all the food or don’t invite anybody. They’ll go somewhere else I’m sure of it!

  32. Jack says:

    Everyone should show up on the 27th!

  33. Jeana says:

    It’s funny how people say “this lady is great, you need somebody to organize things or it’s a mess!” I hope you realize that it’s possible to organize things quite well without being an insensitive, demanding, antagonistic b!$@%.

    • CasaLinda says:

      Guess you’ve never been responsible for anything larger than a small dinner party! The antagonists are the insensitive, selfish relatives who expect a nice, holiday dinner but at someone else’s expense and exhaustion. I’m with Marney even though I have wonderful daughters who help and relatives who are on board with what is needed to put together a well coordinated and fun holiday dinner.

      • Kay G. says:

        sounds like someone needs a bubble bath. it’s ONE meal!

      • Renee Bambe says:

        LOL I read this a few times and realized this lady is clearly feeding an ARMY! Not 20-30ppl, but likely about 50ppl. As the lady who took hostess duties of Thanksgiving Dinner” over years ago, I gotta say I wish I had the balls to send something like this out. Though I’m no where near as anal as this %itch

        • Beth says:

          Some of Marney’s comments are OTT (the part about “regulation size” dishes just kills me every time), but I can see her point, too. When you have family who think “Oh, I know she said to bring potatoes and pie, but I”ll just bring salad and ice cream instead,” then you wind up wanting to send letters like this.

          It’s also hard to keep your own hot food hot while preparing for a big meal. I can only fit so many pans in my oven simultaneously, so having someone waltz in with a dish that needs to be heated up in the oven would really put a wrench in my plan, even more so if the dish has a different temperature than the rest of the meal.

  34. Gail T says:

    I love Marney! Our family brings what they want even after we coordinate. Someone forgets something, and most think there will just not be enough. So there is always waaaaay too much. 3 bring potatoes, usually 2 are the same. 50 desserts and no green vegetables. It’s very frustrating. Plus, there is always someone who shows up with nothing and eats all of the best pie, and another who shows up so late, the rest of us are done eating when they bring their food in. BTW, for us it is every holiday. We would send Marney over the edge.

    • Kay G. says:

      “50 desserts and no green vegetables.” You say that like it’s a bad thing.

      • Judy says:

        If you have someone coming to dinner who is chronically late, you tell them dinner is an hour earlier than you have it planned. This woman would have a heart attack coming to Thanksgiving at our house. We’ve been doing holidays for 24 years with styrofoam plates and plastic silverware. We’d rather enjoy each others’ company than spend all day washing dishes.

  35. Adam says:

    My Uncle is similar to Marney only difference is he is MORE CONTROL FREAK than her. He is a real pain in the ass, this happens on every get together and I have to follow all instructions even aligning the chair to particular imaginary line he has in the dining hall and each and every detail including aligning all the clocks in all the room not to mention all must be in total sync to each other and what not the list goes on…..

  36. Beth says:

    This has to be a joke. I don’t believe it can be real. There’s no way there is really someone that bitchy. Is there?

    • Caryopteris says:

      The whole family should celebrate someplace else and not tell here where. Problem solved.

      But yes, there are people like this. My family isn’t this over the top, but I have worked for this witch, I think. Hopefully a house will fall on her. That’s what happens to witches.

  37. Anne says:

    Christmas Letter/After Thanksgiving Report Card:

    “After I weighed the vegetables with my Weight Watchers food scale, I determined that the BOB BYRON family actually brought 4.2 pounds of asparagus. Since I have such a good sense of humor, I will allow myself to believe that they thought I meant weight before cooking. Next year I will be more specific. Also it appears the JUNE DAVIS family thought I meant for them to start drinking the wine while they were sitting in my driveway for a 1/2 hour for some reason. Bring a FULL bottle next year (you know how Mike is). Thank you JUNE for the notarized affidavit from the Farberware Co. that your casserole was indeed regulation size this year.

    AMY MISTO well done for once you read it but it appears you thought it acceptable to use Red Delicious apples in your pie when clearly it should have been Granny Smith. I took a small sample to the lab at work and analyzed them only to find they were also NOT hand-picked organic free-range apples. And pumpkin means PUMPKIN, AMY, not canned pie filling from the supermarket. Also your pie plate is ugly, buy a new one. LISA, I trust for your sake I never again see little hot dogs rolled in Crescent rolls on my table. MIKE BYRON family – you know what you did, and you are dead to me now. Looking forward to Christmas!! Except you, MIKE BYRON family! Rot in HELL MIKE BYRON family!”

  38. Haley says:

    Marney is the Anna Wintour of Thanksgiving.

  39. Natasha LK says:

    I love reading this every year — so ridiculous! And pardon me for being a bit of a wine snob, but she’s that picky about everything and still drinks clos du bois chardonnay? (and coors light for that matter!) Yech!

    • QH says:

      I 100% thought the same thing. I am so glad I’m not alone.

    • Hapee says:

      That’s what I was thinking. Can’t bring store-bought ice cream, but undrinkable swill is okay. And only two bottles?

      • DayVid E O says:

        I think the Cluo du Bois and Coors Light (and the Turnip comment) speaks VOLUMES:

        It’s much more important that the mechanics of evening go well. What is served and how it tastes is really an after thought.

  40. fawndago says:

    Everyone should be bringing wine. LOTS of wine. And what exactly is a “regulation” size casserole dish? And I thought my mom was crazy.

  41. Dina M. says:

    I’ll bet this woman throws a kickass “Airing of Grievances” during Festivus.

  42. Debi says:

    I get the feeling that if you don’t follow instructions, she will write EVERYONE to tell them about it!

  43. abby says:

    Amy Misto. You are my hero.

  44. Beret says:

    I love Marney, but I’m not in her family. I can only imagine the frustration. I agree, I think as the letter went on she got more and more angry remembering past Thansgiving dinner prep transgressions like when June Davis used the over-sized blue serving dish! Amy Misto can’t be trusted with a knife, we get that, and why does Marney even bother with her.

    I love reading this letter every year, thanks AFP!

  45. Jazz says:

    Ahhhh, yet another reason to spend the holidays with the OTHER side of the family…

    Seriously, who would have such little respect for themselves as to actually placate this lunatic and comply with her ‘suggestions’???

    Careful, Marnie, it’s only a matter of time before you’re left high and dry (and alone!) on Thanksgiving…but then some people deserve this, don’t they?

  46. fireflight says:

    Thanksgiving just isn’t Thanksgiving without Marney.

  47. iflywithcrows says:

    If I were them I would co-ordinate with everyone on the list to screw up as many of these dishes just to see this crazy woman lose her mind on Thanksgiving! Nobody bring a pie knife! Throw out those recipes and do what you like! then make bets as to what kind of melt down she might have.

  48. Kayla says:

    LOL…well…Call me a Marney for pointing this out but why is Amy bringing the pies but Michelle Bobble is bringing the pie knife?? And what is going to happen if Amy really doesn’t read the letter like Marney says and the family is left without pie?

    I feel like she meant this to just make things easier but got angrier and angrier as she thought about past thanksgivings, hahaha, while writing this hence the passive aggressive comments. And all those precise measurements??? I can’t think of even the most ridiculous reason for that one.

    I don’t know…I’m not going to say she’s a bad person or anything because all I know about her is this letter. And for all I know, maybe she was driven crazy by all the thanksgivings during which 5 family members showed up with the same thing or Mike Byron brought gallons of water and there were 230482456970932 cups to wash.

    • Marney says:

      Obviously Marney Byron thinks that Michelle Bobble (nee Byron) is the ‘Good’ child who can follow Mommy’s exact directions, while Amy Misto (nee Byron) is a complete stuff-up who has the absolute gall to do her own thing her own way

    • Beth says:

      I agree (re: your last paragraph). I have hosted large meals (although not quite this big) and it does screw things up if you tell someone “Please bring drinks” and they just bring chips. When I prepare a large meal, I am likely using up every inch of my oven as it is; I can’t make room for a huge casserole dish or a pan of rolls that someone felt they should bring, even though it was unasked.

      Although she really should have enough spoons, knives, etc. I get the sense that Marney is an older relative, so after years of entertaining she should have a stockpile of serving cutlery.

      I’m also with the commenters who are unimpressed with her beer/wine selection. She has “supermarket taste,” I guess. Very plain, very middle-of-the-road.

  49. Kim says:

    Cheers to Amy Misto! I hope she continues to NOT read the insane rantings of an unmedicated psycho control freak.

  50. Angie says:

    If I got this letter from a relative who had invited me to Thanksgiving dinner, of course I wouldn’t want to go. (For the obvious reasons).

    But also because I would be too afraid of screwing up the instructions I had been given. You just know that nothing is done up to this woman’s standards.

    Usually, control freaks like this like to do everything on their own, so that everything is”perfect.”
    I would have loved to see a videotape of how this actual Thanksgiving dinner played out.

    • crimzonchyld says:

      Neither would I! I’d just make my family Thanksgiving dinner myself or we’d go to a restaurant, this woman just sounds like some one I would not want to be around at all!

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