Most people have a memory of Thanksgiving day that stands apart from all the others. There's just
just something about it...some kind of etheral mystic feeling that brands it into your brain.
For me, its memories of waking up to peacefully falling snow, children laughing, a 5 gallon can of gasoline, screaming and crying, and death. As I was putting the turkey in the marinading brine this morning, I could not help but think back to that day.
I was up in Connecticut, a beautiful place to spend the winter holidays. I had brought my best friend's kids up there as their grandfather was dying and their mom wanted them to be there to say goodbye. It was deathwatch at that house. Her dad was dying and all they could do was to try and make him comfortable (impossible) and not drown in their own sorrows during those long hours. The two sisters took turns being with him. My friend had the nightwatch. her children were staying a motel down the road.
I was at my brother's house during the day. I had left there Wed night to go spend the night with the kids at the motel. I had shopped that night for Thanksgiving dinner, buying everything. Not that I could afford it, but I wanted to do it. I was all excited about these new recipes I wanted to make. Including soaking the turkey in a wine brine marinade. After I was done, I happily drove away into the night, to the motel, foolishly believing everything would be ok.
It was a fun night in that motel room. Laughing with the kids, watching their goofy shows on MTV, stuff I don;t normally watch.
We awoke to a snowy world and went outside to play in th eparking lot, throwing snowballs, laughing.
I felt so good, it was like being high, driving along through the pure snowy landscape. A place whre it looked like nothing could go wrong.
I arrived at my bro's house and he was alone with the kids. There had been high drama. Too godawful ong to get into here. But soon she walked through the door. And there was talk of restraining orders, crying, yelling, and a 5 gallon can of gasoline and a match.
It was a wonerful way to start Thankgiving morning.
So i did what most New England women would do, I began cooking. My bro stood over me yelling that 'why was I bothering to cook when the house would soon be burning down?'
But I paid him no mind and kept at it, making the stuffing, stuffing the turkey, putting it all in the oven. Preparing the roasted carrots and onions with fresh thyme. Shutting out the drama unfolding behind me.
I even made homemade gravy and mashed potatoes.
I spent the rest of the day giving my older godson a ride on the atv, climbing the hills in the woods, both of us laughing and screaming. it was a blast.
We finally all sat down to dinner later. A perfectly roasted turkey, fluffy potatoes piled in a bowl, roasted veggies still steaming, bowls full of rich gravy, hot rolls, butter, cranberry sauce, it looked like something out of Martha Stewart.
My bro proclaimed it was the best Thanksgiving ever.
My friend's dad died that night. And we buried him a few days later, on a gray drizzlely day. And then I drove the kids back down south to where we live.
For me, Thanksgiving has always been a bittersweet holiday. The good and bad. Family appiness and drama. I guess I'm just used to it.
My advice for Thanksgiving hellish situations? Just keep on cooking. Just maybe that 5 gallon can of gasoline will not meet up with the match and you'll get to have a wonderful dinner.