The most wonderful time of year? Define "wonderful". Thanksgiving has its share of memories. I can chuckle about them but they also leave a lump in my throat.
My Auntie Jean, married to my father's first cousin, came to the U.S. from Canada every year during the Thanksgiving holiday, not for the turkey. She was a shopaholic and loved Black Friday and the dark meat on the turkey, nobody else did. My father couldn't stand her because she would take my mother shopping all day on Friday. They literally would shop until they dropped. I went one year and couldn't keep up. All three of those characters are gone and I miss that interaction of personalities.
I remember my grandmother in the kitchen, she lived with us and did most of the cooking. Her turkey was okay, nothing stellar that I can remember but her candied sweet potatoes were delicious even before they hit the table. I was attached to her apron strings while she was making those. She made them in an iron frying pan and that brown sugar juice with butter was scrumptious and there was always some left in the pan that had my name on it. I have that frying pan. I think I may have burnt the tip of my tongue a time or two but I would risk it for that flavor. I snatched up the clear tall but small mixing bowl and hand cranked blender she used to make the lemon meringue pie too when we divided up kitchen things in my mothers house. I have never made a lemon meringue pie in my life but I do have the tools.
I found that apron in my attic last week. My grandmother was a big woman or I was a little kid and it is hard to imagine her wearing it because she was so big but I tried it on and I will be wearing it today. I take it back, now I remember, she was a lean and mean cooking machine.
I took over the holiday cooking almost 25 years ago now. First it was Thanksgiving and then I inherited Christmas as well. My mother said it got to be too much.
My mother had a fit when I switched up the stuffing recipe and made apple raisin instead of traditional. The following 23 years, I made both. Eventually, I saw her grab for the apple one. This year it will just be apple but if she were still with us, it would be both. How can anyone deny this is good stuffing?
I remember meeting this guy at the World Series final game at a bar in October 1980. He make a great impression and was invited to the family Thanksgiving dinner that year. The family approved, he was a good guy. We watched the Charlie Brown "Great Pumpkin" story on television that night and fell asleep in a recliner chair, on Thanksgiving this was acceptable behavior. We were not the perfect couple but we shared a lot of special moments. He gave me a Christmas card with the Charlie Brown characters and it said, When Santa is checking his naughty and nice list, maybe he will gt you mixed up with someone else. I still have the card. He passed away in February 1982 at the young age of 32. The card makes me smile with that lump in my throat, nothing naughty about that.
This year my daughter who is an 8 hour drive away at school will not be driving up in this nasty weather for the Thanksgiving gathering and she will surely be missed but we are looking forward to seeing her over break for Christmas. I of course have mixed emotions about this but driving in all that holiday traffic, I hold my heart and my breath, her safety comforts my sanity. Where does the time go?
I am sure we all have very distinct memories of the holidays. Certain days can just tousle the memory and it is all part of the holiday recipe. Everyone knows Thanksgiving is all about the butter and it just keeps getting better. Who can forget the ingredients of the past that make the recipe for the future?
I wish every one a Happy Holiday filled with great memories!