Well, here it is a week before Thanksgiving. I love Thanksgiving because my family all gets together. We have been meeting somewhere in the mountains or western slope for as long as I can remember. This year we are meeting at a cabin Ben found in Powderhorn. It is a ski area over the Mesa, about an hour or so out of Grand Junction. It isn’t open for skiing yet so I’m hoping it will be quiet. Also, it is not so much a cabin as a nice house that is “cabin-like” in appearance. So, now the emails and texts are flying about food. We are all about food in my family. Everyone is figuring out who will bring what and we end up with enough food to last all of us a week. One time we ended up with like 15 yogurts or something. We always joke about that now and I don’t think anyone brings yogurt because we all think the other guy is bringing yogurt. I really don’t care as long as someone remembers the whipped cream. One year we forgot it and my brother, Colin, tried desperately for an hour to whip half and half into cream for his pumpkin pie. It was too late at night and it was Thanksgiving, so no stores were open. I thought Colin was going to cry about that and I could not stop laughing about how upset he was over it. He just doesn’t joke about his pumpkin pie. I hate pumpkin pie but I love whipped cream in my coffee. Poor, sad us.
Every year Colin puts his Weber charcoal barbeque in the back of his truck. He has it all bungie corded in securely so that it will not tip over or blow away. You see, it is imperative that the bird be cooked outside on the barbeque. It cannot be any other way. My Dad always cooked our Thanksgiving turkey that way. He’d be stressed out over it the whole day before and have everything ready to go. He would get up early and get the Turkey ready and place the coals just so. They have to surround the Turkey, not be directly under. It has to be a certain temperature, not to hot, not too cool. My Dad would pace around all day and say things like, “Well, I guess I better go baste that bird”, or “I think we are getting there.” Now my brother is funny and says all of Dad’s stuff as he goes in and out checking the bird. When it was done my Dad would check the temperature and then bring it in on a platter. He would get out the electric knife. I thought that was like the coolest thing and it never came out any other time, just Thanksgiving. My Mom and I would stand by him batting our eyes with our hands out. He would cut huge pieces of skin off and give them to us. Then he would say, “Now, get out of my way.”
If you really think about it eating the skin is totally gross. I am kinda grossed out right now. Turkey skin. I could so easily go vegetarian and may do just that in the very near future. I grew up with hunters, married a hunter and they have all just about scarred me for life. If Ben “catches” (makes me feel better) an elk it is not allowed near me looking anything like an elk. I have the 3F rule. No feet, face, fur. Blucccc. That said, I probably eat skin again this year. (Hmmmmm….I actually might NOT cuz now I have over thought the whole thing and will likely not have the image out of my brain in two days) My niece, Aali, will make pies from scratch. I used to be in charge of pie, but I am really not so much a baker. I like to cook, not good at baking. I would buy pies at Perkins and bring them. Now Aali, 16 yrs. old, even cooks the pumpkin from scratch. More power to her, I say! I always get put in charge of the green bean casserole. I don’t like that stuff anymore and am bringing what I want this year. I think I will do real green beans and a big tossed salad. My Mom always made stuffing with Italian sausage in it. I would just pick the sausage out because I am not a stuffing fan. Sure miss my Mom. There’s a vegetarian for you, picking the sausage out of the stuffing.
My other brother, Kevin, will bring some really stupid centerpieces. I am not being mean, they are stupid on purpose. It started one year when my sister asked him to bring a festive centerpiece. Being one of the brothers, he thought that was silly and so he bought these super dorky pilgrim people at Wal-Mart or somewhere. They are really ugly. They come every year. Sometimes they get added to by other ugly things. Now Colin wears this ridiculous looking turkey hat while he cooks. After pie, people kind of drop off into their zone for a while. There is always a puzzle going, so a few people will be kneeling down or sitting by the coffee table working on that. Ben and Uncle Tone will definitely go catch a few winks and we will take pictures of them while they are asleep. The kids are ready to hit the hot tub and I am usually the one to go with them after helping with dishes.
Up until the year my Mom got pretty sick we always had a talent show the day after Thanksgiving. Kathleen, my sister, was the first one to start this tradition at least 13 years ago. All of us squirmed and swore we wouldn’t participate. Each year it got crazier and crazier and we would laugh until our sides hurt. My sister got my Dad’s singing voice and came as a western singer named Kitty LeMew every year. (The kids call Kath Aunt Kitty because she is so in love with cats). She wears a cowboy hat and sings a song from a long time ago. For the life of me I can’t think of any of them right now.
Tony is always “The Famous Antonio” and does really good card tricks. The kids would sit up close to him when they were little trying to catch him moving cards or something. They never did. My Dad always says he will pass and the kids always get him to sing, “Cockles and Mussels.” Even at 92 my Dad has a beautiful voice.
One year Nick and I did the deal where one person is the head and you wrap a sheet around and the other person is the hands. I was the head and Nick was the hands. He got me ready for my day including, brushing my teeth, fixing my hair, and putting makeup on. It was so funny and I had lipstick up my nose. One of the last talent shows Ben and I dressed up as Sonny and Cher. It shocked everyone so much because Ben has always been a bit on the tame side. We came out and sang, “I’ve Got You, Babe” and then did a little skit like Sonny and Cher always did at the end of their show. You know, they always told really corny jokes and stuff. I thought my family would die laughing. Every time I looked at Ben I would break up. He was just so very groovy.
The kids would put together an act all together. One year they painted their faces yellow and dressed up like minions. They did a little Minion skit and giggled. We have had acrobats, synchronized swimmers, poets, comedians, you name it. The last year we did it my Mom sang a song. She put a big flower in her hair and did a little fancy footwork with it. I could have hugged the stuffing out of her she was so cute. I like to remember her that way, with that big old flower in her hair singing, healthy and happy with her family. Tony would make these really flashy trophies every year and hand them out at the end. Laura still has several in her closet. I keep saying we need to bring back the talent show. The kids think they are too big for it and way too cool to act so ridiculous. I do not agree. They act ridiculous in their teenager ways every single day of their lives. I don’t know what it would take to get Ben to bring back Sonny, but I am gonna try. I don’t even care if the rest of the family does it. We can do another song. Any reason to wear false eyelashes is good with me. I wouldn’t want to deal with them every day, but do feel quite glamorous with them on. I notice a lot of the young girls now wear them all the time. I think they look so great. I would never take that much time getting ready to go anywhere. I can be ready in 20 minutes, shower, dressed, the works. I never make it out of the door on time, but I can get ready super fast. Those eyelashes would be hard to do and I think they feel heavy.
So, here I am at my kitchen table with my red dog sitting under it. I had to lock the cats in the basement because the chimney sweep guy is here. Funny I had pictured an older man with overalls, a beard and glasses, and a song in his heart. Really who I picture is Dick Van Dyke dressed up as an old time chimney sweep, singing some catchy chimney song, and throwing in a little tap dancing. It is a young kid that I am sure isn’t old enough to be driving the truck. It seems that way all the time lately. The world is getting younger and younger. In my head I am still fresh out of college and I thought I was all grown up. Now I have a 22 year old and a 14 year old……something wrong with the math there.
We will leave tomorrow morning to go get Dad. He has had his suitcase packed since last Wednesday. He asked me a few days ago if I had packed. No. No, I have not. I have been cooking my head off since yesterday. I like to make my stuff here in my own kitchen. It is just too hard for us all to be in there trying to make our stuff. Something about “too many cooks something something.” I think it might end with, “spoils the soup.”
I have so very much to be so thankful for. Thank God that I am so very wealthy in my friends and family.