Friday, November 1, 2013

The Ghosts of Thanksgiving Past....


I love this time of year.......the cooler air, the different holidays, and I think Thanksgiving has always been my most favorite.  I love it because it's a time when families and friends tend to come together, if just for a day, and celebrate the love of the different foods, and one another.  Life tends to be so busy for most of us these days, that it's becoming harder to find those times.

When I think back to my childhood, my mother was always very prim and proper.  On Thanksgiving, she would put her very best tablecloth on the table, with her china and crystal and silver (the real stuff).  We each had to wear our "good clothes" for dinner--no play clothes at Thanksgiving!  She would spend hours in the kitchen preparing what was really a simple meal, but it was always magical.  Well, almost always magical........there was the year she decided to branch out in the menu and instead of her fabulous stuffing, she decided we should have oyster stuffing.  That would have been fine, except she missed the part of the directions that said, "drain and rinse oysters before adding"........oh lordy.....not only was our house a combination of roasting turkey, but the not so appealing aroma of something like dead fish.

My father, being the great husband that he was, insisted the stuffing was just fabulous, and made my brother and I eat what was put on our plate.  It was one of those nightmare meals, where you thought you'd throw up if you ate one more bite.  My mother sat stoically eating hers as if Julia Child had prepared the meal for us herself.  It wasn't till years later she admitted her mistake and we laughed and laughed about my poor Dad feeling forced to support her, and making my brother and I eat the horrible concoction.

My mom was big on calories...therefore, sweets were not the norm in our house.  On Thanksgiving she would break the rules and make a pumpkin pie and real whipped cream (that was before Cool Whip and Redi-Whip), which was too die for, and then always this horrible mincemeat pie.  I never understood why, except her explanation was that it was traditional......okay, but if no one likes it, how bout we break the tradition.......never never.......that was her thing.

That being said, the first turkey I ever cooked at around age twenty, was I think about a 12-lb. turkey, and I remember reading those instructions printed on the wrapper over and over.......then put that baby in the oven, and forgot to set the timer.  Well, when I finally took it out, it looked great until I reached into the cavity with my lifter, the pronged fork in the neck cavity, gave one big lift, and out came the bones while the meat sat in the roaster........just a tad bit over-cooked.  So there went my Norman Rockwell vision of the beautifully browned turkey my husband would proudly carve on our table.......we fished out the meat and ate.  The good news......it was really juicy! (disclaimer on the picture here.....my table didn't look at all like this...but it was sort of my vision of what I wanted it to....)

I guess the point of all this is, that holidays create their own memories....both good and bad.  The bad tend to become amusements years later when you look at the scheme of life and realize they weren't so horrible as they seemed at the time.  The holidays are ever changing, as our lives change, and that's a good thing.  From year to year, I never know exactly who's coming to dinner, or how many will be in my home with me, but it's always the perfect number, and perfect combination of personalities.  We cook, we laugh, we eat, and praise God that we have the opportunity to celebrate, if even just one day of the year.


I hope you all are creating those memories for yourselves, your families and friends.  They are what bind us together, and emboss our lives with love and laughter.  Who cares if the turkey's a little over-done, or the pie didn't quite turn out the way you hoped, or maybe the gravy is a bit too runny......it's the time together......the love and laughter that we look back on and remember with gladness.
#Thanksgiving #Memories #Holidays #Family