This has to be the most relaxed Thanksgiving of my adult life. Nowhere to go; my in laws holiday dinners are largely a thing of the past. Those big get togethers started unraveling several years ago when my father in law died at the end of September 2009.
Since then, a couple we lived next door to when our daughter was born, who “adopted” us, have died, so there hasn’t been that family get together in several years now, though we are still very close with their daughter and her husband. More recently, my brother in law’s son, who was killed in a head on collision barely three blocks from his home. No one felt much like celebrating this year.
My mother in law decided against having thanksgiving dinner at her house, as hardly anyone showed up last year. We couldn’t go because Dearest was sicker than a dog, much as he is this Thanksgiving. Since she went to my sister in laws, we opted to stay home and have our own little Thanksgiving dinner.
I bought a small, boneless fully cooked half ham, because, let’s face it, a forty dollar spiral sliced ham for two people is a bit much, when the one I got was only a bit over twelve dollars. It’s currently heating up in the oven-
-accompanied by a brown sugar & pecan topped sweet potato casserole.
Parkerhouse rolls (from scratch) are done-
-as is a huge bowl of homemade potato salad –
-Fresh green beans are gently simmering in a bit of bacon grease and a few slices of bacon-
I decided against any dessert, neither of us wanted any, and I would have been hard pressed to fit a from scratch pie into everything else I prepared. I plan on making something tomorrow, something with apples, maybe.
“Thanksgiving with The Duke” is on AMC, bringing memories of my dad, dozing in his recliner, and, as The Sons of Katie Elder and El Dorado play out on the tv, I can’t help but think of him, as I’m bustling around the kitchen, slicing, chopping, mixing, stirring…memories, some uneasy, from my childhood.
My mother, using a turkey baster to get pan drippings to make giblet gravy from the drip pan of the Farberware electric rotisserie, set up out in the linoleum tiled breezeway of our ranch style home, dutifully turning a fat turkey, slowly but surely, turning it to a delectable golden, crisp brown.
This isn’t to say it was a warm and happy family time, not in my teen years, anyway. By the time I was 14, it was fully a house of volatile rage, waiting to explode on the slightest nudge, fueled on one side with an immovable, unforgiving nature, and by whiskey, disappointment and anger on the other. Another story, just not for today.
I shove the bad memories aside, and this leaves me to dwell on the parents I had when I was very little. Back when we were a happy family. When I felt safe and loved, not caught in the middle of a war, very often bearing the brunt of it. Not a good path to be wandering down, as the holidays make me weepy these days.
Dearest and I both woke up headachey and with very stiff shoulder, neck and back muscles, courtesy of a weather front that moved through yesterday, making it a chilly, gloomy and rainy day and most of the evening. After some stretching and use of a percussion massager, I felt better, and fixed us a small breakfast of bacon, eggs and toast. After cleaning up from breakfast, I started cooking our dinner, doing cleanup as I went, like I was taught in Home Ec class. (They need to bring that class back).
Six hours later, most of which Dearest spent in bed, we sat down to a wonderful dinner-
-Neither of us dressed up, him still feeling puny and weak, in flannel pj bottoms and paint stained tshirt, hair rumpled and needing a shower, me in an equally ratty tshirt and zip up hoodie, an old pair of Nikes, and a cast off pair of his old thermal longjohn bottoms-
-My hair, though braided and tucked in a clip, is in it’s standard state of disarray.
Though we don’t say it out loud, we have much to be thankful for, and we are, every single day. Just being together, he and I and the precious Baby Girls, in our little home, is enough for me.
I hope wherever you were today, you were happy and loved, and with family or framily. I hope you smiled, had a good laugh, shared hugs and had a contented heart. I hope you recalled, fondly, those no longer here, and cherished the ones who are.
Happy Thanksgiving, folks! Enjoy those tasty leftovers tomorrow!