“Tradition does not mean that the living are dead, it means that the dead are living.”

Today is winter. Right now it is 39° with a strong wind which makes it feel even colder. I watched the leaves blown by the wind hopping and skipping across the front lawn and whirling into the air. The sun comes and goes.

When I was a kid, my mother always bought a huge turkey, a giant turkey. She roasted it in the same pan every Thanksgiving. The pan was oval. It was blue with white dots. The turkey just about fit into the pan. She used to have to remove one of the oven racks so the pan with the turkey could fit into the oven. She was up really early Thanksgiving morning to stuff the turkey. Her stuffing was rich with sage. When I woke up, I could always smell the baking turkey. In the kitchen the windows were wet with steam. My mother struggled to get the pan a bit out of the oven so she could baste the turkey. She used a giant plastic syringe to suck up the juice to use to baste the turkey. She’d rub the skin with butter. I remember how golden the skin looked.

Before the big day, my mother baked her pies. Every mother baked pies. My mother made her own buttery crust rolling it out on the floured counter. She’d bake an apple, my father’s favorite, and a lemon meringue, my favorite. If there was a third pie, it was pumpkin or custard. I preferred the custard though I’d eat the pumpkin. My mother put whipped cream on the pumpkin slices. My father put cheddar cheese on the apple. My mother also offered ice cream atop the apple, but I ate my slice plain. I have never fancied ice cream on pies or cakes.

My father’s only responsibilities on Thanksgiving were to take the turkey out of the pan and slice it. My mother did everything else. She’d put the pan across two burners so she could make the gravy. It was always deliciously thick. I used to watch her make it, and I have always made my gravy the same way, the same with the stuffing. Bell’s seasoning was all she used in the stuffing. It has rosemary, oregano, sage, ginger, marjoram, thyme, and pepper and, for me and my sisters, it is the taste of my mother’s stuffing. Before my sister was able to find it in Colorado, we used to have to send Bell’s to her. I have a baster just like my mother had.

Traditions are big and small.

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2 Comments on ““Tradition does not mean that the living are dead, it means that the dead are living.””

  1. Rowen Says:

    Oh yeah, good old Bell’s. Very nice.

    Until you said it just now, I hadn’t thought much about it, but I never much liked ice cream with pie or cake either. It seems like two different experiences to me when I’d rather have one or the other.

    • katry Says:

      I am never out of Bell’s!

      I agree. Cake and pie need to shine on their own. I hate melting ice cream on the same plate as a cake slice. Ice cream is more palatable on pies.

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