Getting together for Turkey Time


Thanksgiving traditionally celebrates the giving of thanks for all the wonderful blessings
we have received throughout the year. As time passes, however, I am finding it harder
and harder to remember much of anything beyond yesterday.
I am grateful for the good food, family, friends, and elastic waist slacks, without which, I
would never make it to the desserts. I have one outfit that is only suitable for such
occasions. I wear it every year beginning with Halloween and the forty-two bags of
chocolate candy I buy for the seven little goblins that knock on our door.
This year is no different, although I no longer need the actual elastic as I fit firmly into
the pants. We have a lot of food, family and friends. These are all equally important to
any household of more than one. We enjoy each other and remember the simpler times in
our lives when we could all fit around a single dining room table.
The house is spotless for that one moment when everyone arrives. Sleeping bags get
dropped in the dining room, suitcases make it to the living room, coats are hung over the
back of the couch, and the phone rings off the wall. “Are they here yet?” The stampede starts three minutes later. “Grandpa have you ever had hair,” our youngest
grandson asks? “Grandma, how come you have so many wrinkles?” She’s out of the will.
“Do you have any coke? Where’s the cookies? Do I have to sleep with him? Listen,
Grandpa, I can play the trumpet!”
Then there are the adult children who bring their new puppy who runs right for my
husband’s workboot and pees, the old cranky dog not in the mood to play with the
Siamese that leapes on her back and scrambles up the drapes, one gerbil cowering
somewhere in the house, and a laundry basket full of dirty clothes for someone to do. And
so it goes. The house now trashed. Welcome one and all.
Every year I try to come up with clever ways to remove those said blessings graciously.
The families eventually go home laden with plastic containers of the remains. I’ve sliced
the turkey for sandwiches, chopped it for salads, and ground it into a pate served on
crackers stale from exposure.
With left over dressing, I’ve added it to the mashed potatoes and fried it to resemble
potato pancakes to go with eggs the next morning. I tried to fry the turkey like sausage
but it didn’t turn out. I’ve put all of it together and made soup. Turkey Noodle without the noodles, adding the green bean casserole for extra flavor, wasn’t too bad. One year I forgot to turn on the oven and cooked the 25-pound stuffed bird in the microwave. My what a mess. I would not recommend it. It was so large I had to cut it up. I just wasn’t hungry that year. And my guests thought it was awfully nice of me to have it carved into bite size pieces as I ladled it personally.
Sending my husband to do the shopping brought a “ready to eat” turkey complete with
someone else’s stuffing inside. It took six days to thaw. About three quarters through the cooking, I read the directions. DO NOT THAW. I really wasn’t hungry that year either. Yes, I’ve experimented. I am no stranger to trying something new and exciting with or without a recipe. You could say I am adventurous although my family will say it’s a scary moment when I don’t take that first bite but smile and watch them lift their forks. And it’s not that I doubt my ability to be creative but that I’d rather they tried it first, just in case it is good. “Only the one dish, mom and don’t do anything different. Follow the directions exactly. No substitutions” Party pooper. I guess I’m never going to be the fabulous cook my grandmother was putting in a handful of this and a spoonful of that. It’s not for lack of aspiration, merely a lack of motivation. My job is to make dinner and I did my part. Your turn.
This year I’ve thought of other inventive ways to preserve the Thanksgiving spirit into the weeks ahead. Has anyone thought about hot gravy latte, or turkey chip cookies, cranberry sauce jelly on toasted rolls, and seven-layer salad mold with cornbread dressing croutons? I’ll bet not. After a few glasses of wine, who cares? And something else I’ve thought pretty exciting. Since time is so dear and with Christmas decorations peeping behind the Halloween costumes, why not combine all the holidays. Everyone can dress up in their Halloween best to go to midnight mass, come home, eat turkey and open presents. No one would have to get up at three or stay all night freezing outside one of the many stores that are having “door buster” sales.
As my husband and I wave a teary good bye to our Thanksgiving guests, I hear a faint squeak from under the couch. “Quick,” I say to my husband as I push him out the door. “Stop them. Somebody left something here!”
Written by Judy Lee  Copyright ©2016 Judy Lee

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