So many Thanksgivings over so many years. This is my favorite time of the year and my favorite holiday when family comes together to love, laugh and enjoy a wonderful, stomach-bursting dinner.
My first Thanksgiving, as a young, newlywed was certainly memorable. I was going to do much of the preparation the night before. Of course Mom and my in-laws were contributing side dishes and desserts, so it was Mr. Turkey, dressing and me. I looked at this bird and panicked—how do I clean it, how do I stuff it? Practically in tears, I called my neighbor:
Betty said: “I’ll be right over to help you.”
When she came into the kitchen, she burst out laughing. There I was facing Mr. Turkey with rubber gloves on, just like a surgeon.
After she got her breath, she helped me prepare my bird. If not for Betty removing it, the bag inside the turkey containing the neck, gizzard, etc. would have been roasted with the turkey.
Another Thanksgiving proved to be a real challenge. We were living in Yorktown and expecting the family. Both ovens were going, the stove top was littered with pans and the smells were heavenly. Pow! We lost power. Everything came to a full stop.
I called Mom: “Mom, we lost power. What am I going to do,” I wailed.
“I have a pot full of Sunday gravy and meatballs. We can still have a wonderful holiday,” she soothingly said.
Bud came up with the best solution: He lit the bucket grill on the patio, brought the turkey out (it just made it into the grill; wings barely touched the cover sides) and we continued getting our turkey ready. The power shortly came back on and all other dishes continued to bubble and cook. The wings were on the well-done side, but this pleased Mom, wings were her favorite!
The holiday that seems to be memorialized is when I decided we were all going to sit at the Thanksgiving table. Usually, we ate buffet style because there were so many of us. Not this time. We set up the family room: two picnic tables, end to end, plenty of chairs and a table for the food. Oh, my, the traffic up and down the stairs carrying dishes, glasses, food and drink. And the joy of being together was the wishbone of the day. I had colorful table cloths, flowers and candles on the tables; we sat down, gave thanks and dug in. My nephew, John, has told me many times that he will never forget this particular Thanksgiving—neither will I.
I’ve mentioned before that Dad wouldn’t eat anything poultry. So whether it was at my home, Mom and Dad’s or sister Roe’s, we would have to adapt on Thanksgiving. I/Mom/Roe would broil two beautiful, thick pork chops for Dad. That was his only dinner substitution: He filled his plate with all the Thanksgiving trimmings and enjoyed his meal like the rest of us traditionalists. He loved the delicious stuffing and mashed potatoes with delectable gravy. I don’t think he realized bits of turkey were mixed into the stuffing and that the gravy was made from turkey drippings: ha, ha, gotcha, Dad!
From my family to yours, wishes for a warm, safe and joyful Thanksgiving. Savor your turkey—or whatever! Most important: cherish the time spent with those you love and care about.