Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thursday Thirteen: Thirteen Thanksgiving Memories

One week from today I'll be up to my eyeballs in cooking.  I'll probably have flour smeared on my clothing unless I remember to wear an apron which I doubt I will.  My sink will overflow with dirty dishes waiting to be washed and the sounds of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade will float into the kitchen from the living room.  Delicious aromas will waft through the house which by then, unlike this exact moment in time, will be clean. 

So I thought this Thursday I'd share thirteen memories of Thanksgiving past.

1.  In my earliest memories, we went around the block to my Granny and Pop's house for Thanksgiving.  Born in the late 1800's, my Granny still parboiled the turkey first then roasted it.  The idea was to make it tender, a hold over from her childhood and it just didn't have a whole lot of taste left by the time we sat down to eat it.  Her cornbread dressing, however was superb and her pumpkin pie far better than mine (although with a special recipe from author and friend Jean Joachim I hope to change that this year!)

2. One year my late Uncle Bill, a former Army cook, hosted and cooked Thanksgiving dinner for the generations at the big house he and my aunt bought earlier that year.  He was a fantastic cook, later owned and operated his own restaurant but his turkey cooked Army style was dry.  It was a great day, though, and one of the Thanksgivings I remember with fondness.

3. On a few occasions we held Thanksgiving in our own house in the old neighborhood, a big rambling three story brick Victorian once owned by a family of doctors.   We laid the table out in the dining room with beautiful parquet floors and I remember sitting next to my Uncle Raymond, flying solo so it must have been after his divorce.  My mom's a great cook so the dinner was very tasty.

4. After my family moved to an different part of the state, the size of the turkey diminished when for a few years it became a feast for just a few.

5.  As a college freshman I joined my family for the long trek back to the old neighborhood for the single Thanksgiving spent at my maternal grandmother's home, the house overflowing with family.  I was chargrined because I ended up at the "kids" table - I was 18 - to entertain my younger cousin (age 8) who adored me at that age and because my boyfriend had tickets to a Cheap Trick concert I didn't get to attend because I was away with family.  I look back now and treasure the memories of that day, however so I'm glad I went.

6. As a young working career woman there came a Thanksgiving when my mother informed me they were going out of town to relatives and so I ended up making a Thanksgiving dinner on Friday instead of Thursday for my friend and roomate at the time's family from Louisiana.  We made a Cajun style feast and I learned to cook rice dressing, shrimp etoufee, gumbo and all kinds of delicious things.  I learned just much from my buddy "Two Shoes" Charlie, a sessions musician who's played with some of the best in the business as I did from Odile, the Cajun mama of them all.

7. I hosted my own Thanksgiving dinner when I lived in a tiny little one bedroom house which had been a resort cabin at one time.  That was the first turkey I cooked and it turned out fantastic.  My dinner was just for friends on the Sunday before the actual day.  The weather turned out fine and since I knew several musicians at the time (see above) we ended up having a wonderful jam session in my front yard, everyone singing and having a great time.

8. After I was married, I learned about the two Thanksgiving thing.   We ate a daytime Thanksgiving meal at my parents and then headed over to my in-laws for wild turkey and trimmings.  Neither my husband or I could eat much and no one was very happy about that but capacity is limited.

9. About ten  years ago I become the desiginated hostess for my side of the house so I put on the dinner with all the trimmings these days.

10.  My mother in law came up with a new tradition my son loves - having a shooting match if weather permits.  Last year was too cold but I loved it when my brother in law took my daughters along to check his traps and had them help toss the carcasses he'd skin for the hide (fur to sell) later into the truck.  It was a great learning experience for my teens especially my fashionista daughter!

11. When my daughter Emily was just walking, almost one, my dad was carving the turkey and she reached out to grab a huge turkey leg in her hand with a bigger grin.  Somewhere in all my photo albums and boxes I have a picture of that!

12.  When I was a little girl, I wanted a dog.  My parents didn't.  But one year my cousin brought me a dog right before Thanksgiving.  I was so happy for days even though my grandmother swore he'd dognapped it from a neighbor but when my Mom let it out on Thanksgiving morning to answer a call of nature, the pup ran away, back home where it remained.  Easy come, easy go but I was - briefly -heartbroken.

13. When my daughter Megan was younger she loved to cook (now she's a teen, don't even ask) and one year she donned her apron and tall white chef's hat to help in the kitchen.  She looked so adorable!!

I can't swear this picture was taken on Thanksgiving at Granny and Pop's but it might have's obviously cold and we're wearing winter type clothing.  I was three, Bill (next to me) was four, Mary Lou behind Bill would have been eight or nine, and Tom, the tallest, probably about 12.   The date at the top is April 65 but my Pop never got in a rush to have pictures developed.  In fact about nine years after he passed away, I found his old Brownie box camera with film still in with a few pictures on the roll!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, lots of fond memories here. Sadly, I have very few. Thanks for sharing. Happy T13!


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