Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Remembering Thanksgiving BPT (Before Pop-up Timers)!!!

As I fight my way through the grocery store, equipped with yet another cart that won’t make left turns, I find myself reminiscing about Thanksgivings past.

Turkeys and I have a love/hate relationship. LOVE cooking them, HATE thawing them. One year, after two days in the refrigerator, the turkey was still frozen solid. I immediately called the Turkey Hotline. Fortunately, Mom was home and answered the phone. “You need to put it in cold water” she said. “If you don’t have a big enough bucket, it can go in your bathtub.” So, the turkey and I went upstairs to the master bath. When I thought it was filled enough, I dumped the turkey in. Now, I could barely get this thing upstairs, it was so heavy. But, darned if it didn’t float. I could already see the e-coli forming on the part of the turkey exposed to the air. I looked around for something heavy, but everything I tried eventually slipped off and the turkey would pop up again.

After trying everything I could think of, I settled on a cookie sheet with a stack of pots and pans balanced on top of that. Success! I went back downstairs to start on the pies. A few hours later, the kids and I heard a crash from upstairs. Darn it, I thought. We ran up, and couldn’t help but notice wet footprints going down the hallway. I followed the footprints and the kids went to check on the turkey. Well, apparently, Kitty decided to leap from the edge of the tub onto Turkey Island, and was immediately immersed in very cold water. I found her under the bed, completely soaked. Needless to say, I knew she would never try that again. But, just in case, every year since, I close the door.

The very next year, our family was sitting around the dining room table, enjoying the bounty of food. At the end of the meal, I brought out the pumpkin pie. Everyone groaned, so we decided to watch a movie, and then have dessert. About twenty minutes into the movie, there was a lull in the action, and I noticed a sound I didn’t recognize. I asked if the kids heard it and they said yes. We listened for quite awhile, and then something clicked in my brain. I knew that sound! The kids followed as I rushed to the dining room. There, in the middle of the table, tongue deep into the pumpkin pie was our Lhasa Apso, Teddy. Not too concerned because I had made two pies, I marveled at what this dog had accomplished. The table was still set with plates, silverware, candles, wine glasses and water goblets. He had managed to get to the pie without disturbing anything on the table. I could just picture him moving one paw at a time, stopping to make sure we hadn’t heard him, and then proceeding. I think we all had a little more respect for him after that.

My favorite story goes way back to the first Thanksgiving dinner I ever made. For years, we spent the holiday with my in-laws, but we had moved to another state. I was on my own. My biggest concern was getting it all done by early afternoon. I wasn’t sure how long the turkey would take, and I needed the oven for the pies and various casseroles. I figured I needed to start cooking at 5 am. So, there I was, up before the sun. By the time dinner was ready, I had used every bowl, pan, baking sheet, measuring cup, and spoon we had. I brought the food out and placed it on the table. Wow, I thought, this looks like a meal you would see in a magazine. I finally sat down for the first time that day. I quickly drank half a glass of wine while the food was passed around. I stood up and excused myself from the table. I climbed the stairs to our bedroom, and collapsed on the bed. I slept for four hours. I missed the meal. I missed Thanksgiving.

I still struggle. The turkey never seems to thaw in time, and I am forced to put my hand into the icy cold cavity to retrieve the goody bags inside (I think I had cooked two turkeys before I even knew about the bags). No one has invented a turkey anchor so I am still piling things on top of the bird to hold it down. I still need a bolt cutter to get the stupid wire thingy off the legs. And, I still do my shopping two days before Thanksgiving. Which reminds me…I am next in line to check out. Happy Thanksgiving!!!


Debby said...

Elaine, you so seriously make me laugh and that is a great thing. My daughters and I have caught up on your posts and had some great laughs.
Thank you for enlightening our lives!

Elaine said...

So glad to hear that you AND your daughters enjoy my posts! You keep reading and I'll keep writing! :)