Turkey Time Flies!

I was at the grocery store and saw that turkeys were on sale for 48 cents a pound. Holey Moly!! I can’t believe the holidays are zooming in already!! Wasn’t it September just a few days ago?? Got really cold here this morning… 19 degrees on the 10th of November!! A bit early if you ask me. Soon I’ll be slaving over the turkey hot dog casserole… and of course the obligatory mac and cheese. Maybe some cream corn and of course you need a few cans of cranberry sauce stacked up in the middle to give that elegant appearance. Some folks even take that stuff OUT of the can!! Then the dessert trays: all those Twinkies to unwrap and place “just so” on the pizza platter… And OH!! Not to forget the Hostess Sno-Balls and Moon Pies. Kool-Aid in fancy plastic cups… you know, the see through kind. A feast fit for a champion cow pie flinger!

HUH?? Oh wait, maybe that was the dream I had after those liverwurst sandwiches.

But seriously folks… I’m a very fortunate human. So long as I keep that thought foremost in my brain, life is really very good. I get annoyed at all the commercial hoopla this time of year. However, I’m getting much better at practicing the principle: “accept the things I cannot change.” I do my part in contributing to the family gift pile, but more importantly Thanksgiving kicks off a string of “gratitude days” for me. The holidays have a way of digging up memories of days long gone; and I get pretty mushy this time of year. For the past several years we’ve had the good fortune of spending Thanksgiving at our dear friend Ruthie’s. Holy Moly that girl can cook. Of course; one special person who will be missing from Turkey Day is our dear friend (her hubby) Lew. We all miss him terribly but enjoy Brussels sprouts made specially in his honor. When Lew was still here, he and Ruthie were over for dinner and I had prepared Brussels sprouts for dinner. I asked whether he liked them, and he used an expletive to describe his feelings: “F*%$ NO!!” Hence the honorary dish has been dubbed FN Brussels Sprouts; and we all get a nice chuckle while we fondly remember our beloved Lew.

Things have changed over the years… our daughter will probably spend Thanksgiving with her hubby and our grandchildren with his side of the family. Doesn’t matter, because we all get together on a day shortly after Thanksgiving when I make our traditional meal with all the trimmings. Believe it or not, I love cooking all that stuff. I do the whole shebang: turkey (duh), bread stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, veggies, pie. All from scratch except the pie crusts. I’m just too lazy for that pie crust monkey business. This year it will be pumpkin pie made from hubbard squash (punkins didn’t make it in the garden this year) with real whipped cream; and maybe even a “bluederberry pie” with vanilla ice cream. That’s right… bluederberry. It’s my nickname for pie with three cups of blueberries and one cup of elderberries. Pretty darn wonderful stuff.

The ritual of preparing all the stuff gives me lots of time to reflect. My Darling Honey Pie Beautiful Girlfriend Wife Person has been cranking the Christmas music since just after Hallowe’en; but I prefer quiet when I’m “in the zone.” Cook, reflect… cook, reflect. And now that we are “getting up there,” in our sixties… we have many memories. We’ve had lots of loss in our lives already. Both of us have lost parents, family, and friends. Seems like just yesterday we were caring for my Aunt Joyce, who has since gone to be with her son who died way too early from alcoholism. Just like his daddy. My mom and dad are both gone, my beautiful girlfriend’s mom is gone, our friend Lew, another friend Tommy… I could name more but you get the picture.

Anyway, we reflect not only on how lucky we are, but on how fortunate we were to have all these people in our lives. And in our own little way we honor many of them through dinner. Grandma Hansen’s stuffing and “stuffin’ muffins,” Grandma Bunny always had sweet pickles out for munching. Figs and dates (my mom again), Cousin John’s china and glasses, Aunt Joyce’s potato masher. Memories of my dad cutting the turkey. Then of course we still have the tradition of “forcing” our kids to talk on the phone to relatives. “We gotta call grammas and grampas!” I exclaim, at which point they groan. “Too bad,” I remind them, “It’s Thanksgiving!!” Typical kids. Even though they are adults now, they would rather sit like bumps on a log and watch the tube than actually communicate with anyone. Especially while in a “food coma.”

We are truly lucky humans. Plenty to eat, good jobs, cars that actually work! Pretty luxurious stuff when you think about it. I know it’s a bit early, but I sincerely hope all you turkey (and even non-turkey) eaters out there have a simply marvelous Thanksgiving.

And I truly hope that you are as blessed as we are.

One year our friend Ruthie treated us to “Turducken,” but I don’t think the “duck” part went quite like this…