Posted tagged ‘Stuffing’

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”

November 23, 2017

Today is a beautiful day, just chilly enough. The sun is bright and sharp. The leaves flutter a bit then the limbs swing back and forth when the breeze becomes a wind. I’m watching the parade.

My sister and I spoke this morning, and we remembered our mother waking up early to get the turkey in the oven. Why it was so early neither one of us remember. While my mother was in the kitchen, we were all sitting in front of the TV watching the parade. The snacks every year were the same: M&M’s, tangerines and mixed nuts. We used a silver set to crack then pick out the nuts. Years ago I bought a set exactly the same. I fill it with nuts and put the bowl, the crackers and the picks on my dining room table. Tangerines were the best as they were so easy to peel. Only seeds marred their perfection. The M&M’s were first to go. My father always went with my grandfather to the football game. It was Stoneham versus Reading. My father had no connection to the high school. He never went there and neither did any of us. It was football which drew him.

When the parade was finished, my dad took over the TV. He watched football until my mother called him to the table. We stayed in the kitchen until we set the table. We had turkey, gravy, sage stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole and another vegetable or two. The cranberry sauce was always the one from the can. The sauce had can ridges which gave it a bit of a decoration. I always wondered why it was called a sauce when the cranberry was jellied. My father ate quickly, all the better to get back to his games. We lingered far more, just sitting and talking. Clean-up didn’t take long. After that were the pies: apple, my dad’s favorite always eaten with a chunk of cheese, blueberry and lemon meringue. By then it was late afternoon. Supper, if we had any room for more food, was leftovers, usually a hot turkey sandwich, the meat bathed in gravy. That meal was the official end of Thanksgiving.

I have so many things to be thankful for a whole day is not enough. I am thankful for family, for the connections between my sisters and me. I have been blessed with the best of friends, my other family, and I am thankful for them. I am also thankful for my Coffee friends. When I started this, I never thought people I hadn’t ever met would become such close friends. Most of all, I am thankful for the joy and wonder of each new day.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

 

“I’ve just been bitten on the neck by a vampire… mosquito. Does that mean that when the night comes I will rise and be annoying?”

November 5, 2017

Outside is dark, damp and cloudy. A wind blows every now and then and adds to the misery of the day. My heat went on during the night. It must have been really cold as the thermostat is set at 65˚. Before I had pets, I used to keep it set at 62˚ at night, but that’s too cold for Gracie and Maddie. I found that out when I patted them. Their ears and their body fur were cold. That’s why the heat is higher.

Last night, Gracie was panting so much I kept waking up. I did the food, treat, water thing, and she still was panting and moving around. I finally fell asleep around four. When I woke up, Gracie was in the middle of the couch lying right beside me, and my legs were bent to accommodate her. It was another bad back this morning. She, of course, is now sleeping soundly. I am tempted to keep waking her up, but that’s a human response she wouldn’t understand. Besides, she’d just go to her crate and sleep, probably snore too just to drive me crazy.

Even though all the stores are now opened on Sunday just like every other day, I still have a bit of solemnity for the day probably leftover from when I was a kid. I don’t big time shop on Sundays, and I tend to stay close to home. I watch a little TV, usually football, and I often nap. I honor Sunday as a day of rest.

I was browsing through youtube the other night looking for something to watch. I noticed the film choice of Thousand Plane Raid. Seeing that zoomed me right back to Africa but to Niamey, Niger this time, not Ghana. It was Christmas vacation, and I was traveling with a couple of friends. The trip didn’t go as planned, but trips seldom do in Africa. The bus broke down twice. Each time, we had to wait for the driver’s assistant to hitch back to Ougadougou for parts. That put us way behind time so we had to stop for the night at a post office for which the bus carried mail. The night was freezing. It was harmattan time and we were closer to the desert than in Ghana. I had only a piece of cloth to keep me warm, and it didn’t. Anyway, by the time we got to Niamey, I had defrosted. We stayed at the Peace Corps hostel. In those days U.S. embassies showed movies on Saturday nights. We found out where and went to the screening. Yup, it was Thousand Plane Raid. You don’t need to know any more about the movie. The title is the whole plot. That night was the worst. The movie was shown in an open room of sorts with 4 low concrete walls and no screens.  I was eaten alive by mosquitos bigger than my hand. They mimicked the movie and dive bombed in groups to attack me. I think I left before the end of the movie, but I was so woozy from loss of blood my memories just blurred. I only remember the name of the move and the hordes of mosquitos.

“My favorite meal is turkey and mashed potatoes. I love Thanksgiving, it’s just my favorite. I can have Thanksgiving all year round.”

November 24, 2015

Today is a sunny day but not a warm, sunny day. Gracie’s ears are always cold when she comes back inside the house. There is hardly any breeze, and only the tips of the dead leaves on the smallest branches move. The summer sun warms us while today’s sun, the deep fall sun, only gives us light.

My hand is still swollen, but I am back to my two fingered typing. When I went to get the papers this morning, I walked gingerly on the brick walkway, the site of yesterday’s fall. All went well.

Just before Thanksgiving never had the excitement of just before Christmas. In school we colored turkeys and cut out construction paper turkey tails we’d later glue to our papers though a few usually ended up stuck to our fingers. I hadn’t ever seen a real turkey, just pictures of one. My turkeys came in a package and were usually frozen. My mother always bought a huge turkey which fed us endlessly after the holiday. She’d put it in the blue, enamel roasting pot then into the oven where it would cook for hours. She’d baste it with its own juices, and she’d sneak a bit of the stuffing, the crusty part sticking out of the turkey. My mother made the best stuffing. The secret, but not such a big secret here in New England, was the Bell’s seasoning, which my sister and I still use. It comes in a small yellow box with a turkey on the front and is a combination of rosemary, oregano, sage, ginger, and marjoram. My mother would cook the onion and celery in butter then pour it on the bread, add milk and finally the Bell’s. I used to try to sneak a bit of the seasoned bread before it even went into the bird. It was delicious.

The house on Thanksgiving smelled the best it ever smelled. Every time my mother opened the oven more of that aroma would spread into the air and fill all of our senses. The turkey, when it was finished, was a beautifully browned masterpiece. My father always carved. He’d ask us what we wanted. We always said the white meat. When I was much older, I realized the dark meat was the best, moist and tasty. My father always took a leg. He’d cut what he could then he’d pick up the leg and eat the rest of the meat. When he was done, the leg was stripped clean, only bones and cartilage were left on the plate.

“Even though it’s dark and cold there is always a shade of light.”

November 26, 2013

My stops took far more time than I expected. At Agway, I bought three wreaths and had to wait while the ribbon on one was changed so all three would be the same color. The two plain wreaths are for the fence and gate while the one for the door has starfish and shells and a tiny bird’s nest. It’s lovely. I also bought a rosemary tree for the house, and my car was filled with the wonderful aroma of the rosemary as I finished the rest of my errands. Why do people put those pine tree air fresheners in a car? I’m thinking dried rosemary would be amazing. At Ring Brother’s, a favorite stop of mine, I bought a sandwich for lunch, a turkey breast so I can have left overs and a pine kissing ball with golden bells, also for outside. I bought stuffing, but Rita, who owns Spinners, the pizza place inside Rings, was horrified. She had me buy bread, and she made stuffing for me with bread, Ritz, onions, celery and sausage. She told me that every good dish has only 5 ingredients. The stuffing is scrumptious. I hope it lasts long enough to cook with the turkey breast.

It is dark and overcast. A storm with heavy rain and strong winds will be here tomorrow, but today is dry and still and warm at 45˚.  I’m back to my sweat shirt.

On the day after Thanksgiving I’ll light up my Christmas lights. I love how beautiful the colors are and how they shine so brightly even on the darkest of nights. I still take a ride to see the lights the same as we did as a family when I was young. I think back then it was the only time we didn’t fight for our spaces in the backseat. The car was filled with oohing and ahing and pointing at the best houses. The ones all outlined in lights were the most spectacular. There were no white lights back then or computer programs setting the lights to music. There were just these big colored bulbs that got hot to the touch but shined ever so brightly. I have a few of the old sets and should check to see if they still work. Maybe I’ll throw them on a bush by the door the same as my father did.

“Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving.”

November 22, 2012


Thanksgiving

The year has turned its circle,
The seasons come and go.
The harvest all is gathered in
And chilly north winds blow.

Orchards have shared their treasures,
The fields, their yellow grain,
So open wide the doorway —
Thanksgiving comes again!

~~Old Rhyme.~~

Thanksgiving morning my mother woke up very early. She’d make the stuffing, always a sage stuffing, fill the turkey and get it into the oven. Her pan was in a huge oval shape and had a cover, but I don’t remember my mother ever using that cover. The pan was blue with tiny white spots on it, and my mother cooked her turkey in that same pan every year. Now and then my mother would open the oven to baste the turkey with its own pan juices. I remember the whole house was filled with the aroma of that roasting turkey. I can still see the kitchen windows covered in steam.

We’d be in the living room watching the parade and eating the snacks my mother always put out for us. I remember the bowl of mixed nuts, the silver nutcrackers and the silver picks. There were tangerines, and there were M&M’s. They were always  special on Thanksgiving.

I wish all of you the most wonderful Thanksgiving Day.

“If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, “thank you,” that would suffice.”

November 24, 2011

My mother used to wake up around five to make the stuffing then she’d stuff the turkey and put it in the oven. I’d wake up to the aroma of turkey wafting through the house. We four kids would settle in front of the TV, still in our pajamas, and watch the Thanksgiving Day parade. We’d snack on tangerines, mixed nuts still in the shell and M&M’s. We’d fight over using the nucracker. Dinner was usually around two, and it was always pretty much the same menu: turkey, my mother’s wonderful stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce with the decorative ridges from the can, peas, asparagus in the can for my father and a roving vegetable, a different one each year. Dessert was always pie: an apple and a lemon meringue and sometimes a blueberry cobbler. The kitchen was small and always hot from the turkey cooking. The windows were steamed. My dad always wanted the drumstick, and the rest of us usually chose the white meat. When we got older, we’d also eat the dark. I remember making the well in my mashed potatoes for the gravy and trying hard not to let it overflow the bank of potatoes. Our plates were groaning and so were we after dinner. My dad watched football, and the rest of us sometimes played a game or just sat around talking. My mother always cleaned up after dinner.

Today I am thankful for so many things. I am thankful for the love of my family and friends, and I am thankful for a head filled with incredible memories and for a childhood which had wonder and joy. Marty Barrett will always have my thanks. It was he who infected me with Barrett’s disease, my envy for his trips to England when he visited his grandmother. When I was eleven, I vowed to out-travel Marty, and I’m betting I have. I am thankful for all of you who have become my friends even though we have never met in person. I wish you all the blessings of the day and a wonderful Thanksgiving.