Thanksgiving was a huge success at our house this year in spite of the weather. When I heard it was supposed to rain all day, I gulped, but I didn’t really pay attention to the weather forecast until the day before the feast, and then it was too late to cancel a dinner that about 30 people were counting on.
Bill and I were up at 6 the next morning. He prepared the almost thawed turkey while I cooked the chopped celery and onions and plucked the three kinds of bread for the dressing. By 7 a.m. the turkey was stuffed and in the oven, the dressing was in one dish, and the candied sweet potatoes were in another, stacked on a shelf in the refrigerator waiting their turn in the oven.
By my calculations, I had to start really working by 10 a.m. to have dinner on the table by 1:30 p.m. So, I went back to bed to sleep a while longer.
By 10 I was back in the kitchen cleaning and chopping vegetables for the relish tray. This year I decided to use all the broccoli and cauliflower by making fresh California blend instead of buying the frozen. Usually I use part of it, put the rest in the fridge for later, and throw it all out a week or so later.
There were a couple of glitches. First I was trying to run cold water in the peeled carrot bag and didn’t realize I was holding it upside down. I lost about half of the carrots to the garbage disposal, but no great loss.
The second one came when I almost made turkey potpie instead of turkey gravy. I had the roaster on two burners of the stove to heat the juices. I had the thickening in the measuring cup ready to pour into the roaster at the right time. The juices were really hot, so I poured the thickening in and watched as it flattened into white lumps. I cut the lumps out quickly, but they seemed to multiply more quickly. I grabbed the pot of water heating for the mashed potatoes and poured water into the roaster while I kept bailing out lumps. Finally I had a substance that looked like gravy. I added some seasonings until it tasted like gravy.
Finally dinner was served, in the dining room for most of the adults and in the basement for the grandkids. The older grandkids had set up the folding tables and chairs down there, and they took care of the younger ones.
I was done working for the day. The others take care of the clean-up.
First, they attacked the dessert table. This year we put all the desserts on the folding table in the new utility room. The kids were able to serve themselves, and they did, off and on all day. There were pumpkin pies, key lime pie, two kinds of brownies, cinnamon bread, and an unending supply of whipped cream, which the kids put on everything and sometimes ate by itself.
Everybody took turns holding the baby, who seems to be very people-oriented. He cooed and smiled for all, especially for Grandma.
The youngest group found a whole new game. They could run upstairs to the extra bedroom back down to the living room, and then all the way to the well-lighted basement, and back up and down again. I asked them what they were playing. They answered, “Secret Agent.” They were having a ball, so I let them have at it.
All the adults were busy planning shopping strategies for the next day, or comparing memories generated by the new church photo book, or sleeping. So a good time was had by all.
Now it’s time for Christmas!
AUTHOR’S NOTE: This column was first published in the Greenville Daily Advocate Dec. 3, 2003.
My sincere thanks to my friends and readers for the many prayers and cards in response to my plea last week.