|Thanksgiving at the Cracker Factory
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Christmas has lost most of its meaning, and I am a participant in that. I donít like it, but there you are. Easter is for me, primarily religious, with just a tad bit on the Easter Basket side.
This year, we are having the usual family over. My in-laws donít come. No one really knows why, they are invited each year, but they never come. We are not too far to drive, a mere Ĺ hour away. We all like each other. I think it is the chaos and confusion. They have never understood our family.
My husband is the oldest of three boys. All very different. We are the only ones with children. Well, the baby, now 32 is married and she had three kids. But two of ours are biological, so they are actually the only grandchildren.
My mother in law is a very sweet woman, but she just doesnít live in reality most of the time. She had a job, once, for approximately Ĺ a day. It proved too much for her to handle. She doesnít get that we have 4 kids, with a plethora of extraís thrown in for good measure.
The second boy is a successful career military man. His wife is a successful hospital administrator. We see them maybe once every two or three years. They have no children, and so like to throw around the fact that they have money to all of us who, in fact, DO NOT have any extra money because our children are like little money vacuums.
I donít like the middle brother, he always makes my husband feel bad.
None of them are coming. Good on then. Makes for a much happier day.
The turkey this year is 22.5 pounds. It was frozen solid yesterday at 2 pm. Into the huge bathtub in cold water to thaw. Funny how for me, Thanksgiving always starts with cleaning my tub. The traditional start in our family.
I put old Tom into the tub. Now, I have a rather large tub. Holds, oh, lots of gallons. I am thinking about 60 or so, since I have a 40 gal hot water heater and I always empty it totally when I take a bath. And the thermostat is set at 180. I donít like lukewarm water. When I turn on a hot water faucet, I want it HOT!
Takes a long time to fill the tub.
Knowing that I had to start a number of processes right away in order to be in bed by midnight, and then up again at 7 on Turkey day, I started the water and ran into the kitchen to start the stuff. I checked back once, twice. The tub wasnít even 1/3 full. Turkey not floating which it needs to do to thaw correctly.
About an hour later, whilst kneading a HUGE amount of bread dough for homemade bread using my Grandmotherís secret recipe, and which, when I say huge amount I mean we used 15 pounds of flour to make the breadÖÖ
I suddenly said.
And RAN for the bathroom.
When we bought the house, I was really pleased that the soak tub in my cool as cool bathroom had no overflow in it, because, well, when you want a good soak, you need the tub FULL, and the dang overflow always has to be plugged with a washcloth in order to get the appropriate amount of water in it????
I am now rethinking that.
Because, after an hour, a LOT of water can go on your bathroom floor. Really a lot. I am talking 3 inches deep.
I yelled for our baby, the 17 yr old, to grab the steam cleaner and come quickly. She did. Man, was that a lot of water.
Back into the kitchen I went.
Not an auspicious start. BUT, I have on grandmaís apron, so its all good. When I have on grandmaís apron, everything turns out right. Itís not superstition, its grandmaís apron.
I have her rolling pin too, and her favorite cookbook. The cookbook tells you how to do everything in the world. Literally. How to butcher meat. How long to cook this or that. Itís awesome. It is covered in that tacky old blue contact paper, which is now falling off. It was published in like 1890ish.
All 4 kids actually fight over who will inherit it when I die. The two oldest girls say THEY should get it since they are biological, which is hilarious, because we have NEVER done the bio/non bio bullcrap in our home. They are all our children. Period. Now the daughter-in-law has joined in since she too is a biological to my grandmother since she is my biological niece, married to my step son. I have yet to reconcile who will really get it. My husband says to make copies and give each a copy, but someone would get the original.
Maybe Iíll have it buried with me. Or will it to each for a one year period, to be exchanged at Thanksgiving each year, with all four having a copy to get them through each day to day period? Who knows.
Yesterday, I made 4 regular loaves of bread, the kind that is about 8 inches tall and very fat. They make the BEST day after thanksgiving sandwiches. The kind where you layer every left over from dinner onto the bread and make a sandwich that is a meal. The kidlets made each a mini loaf pan of their very own bread. We made two mini loaves for my son Ėin-law to take to work today. He is a cop in the air force and always has to work Thanksgiving so all the guys have a dinner there at the base.
Two pans (large) of cinnamon rolls. One small, made for the granddaughter who is milk allergic containing no dairy products. She is actually ALLERGIC not just lactose intolerant. So she always gets her own stuff made. Grandmaís are like that. We will do just about anything for our grandbabies.
Two pans of REGULAR rolls. For dinner.
Two regular pumpkin pies, one dairy free, a real challenge as they donít MAKE condensed soy milk. You have to cook the soy milk for hours at a low temp to evaporate it.
One from scratch apple pie using winesap apples, my favorite for apple pie. One dutch apple also from scratch.
Once cherry pie, using canned cherry pie filling.
One large pan of pumpkin custard.
Today, the food gets cooked. Tom from the flood is in the oven. The green beans and bacon and red onions are in the crock pot. The potatoes will be peeled. The neck and gizzard and etc are simmering on the stove to make gravy with. All is good.
No one is fighting. Yet. It will come, it always does. Every year I swear that I will no longer do thanksgiving because all I ever want is a clean house and no fights, but I never get it.
No one is sick this year.
I am truly thankful for my whole family. My oldest, who is in nursing school with a 4.0, a husband and a medically challenged daughter. She is a great mother and a wonderful person. This from a child who was born dead, and who the doctors told me after they got her breathing, would need to be in special ed because she was brain damaged.
My next daughter, the junkie, who is still a good person, and who, I think, is trying this time. She is in methadone treatment for her heroin addiction. The new baby is due the middle of January. She has taught me much. Some of it not so good, but a lesson the same.
My son, who is a lot like me. Stubborn, funny, and well, weird. He has what it takes to make it.
My daughter-in-law/niece. I was there at her birth, and then didnít see her again for 18 Ĺ years. Then she moved out here and became again, part of my family, then fell in love with my son and married him.
My baby, age 17 Ĺ who is well, herself. She doesnít cook, doesnít want to and is very spoiled, but not rotten.
The oldest grandbaby who is our miracle child. Long story. She has some issues from having heroin addicts for parents, but she is a vibrant, smart, funny wonderful child.
The baby who is 4. She is an absolute HOOT!
And, my dear, dear husband, who keeps me grounded throughout all the chaos and confusion.
Not to forget, all my friends, even those of you whom I do not know in person, who read my blogs and let me know that there are people out there who share a commonality of being human, regardless of whether or not we share space, color or other things.
To Lori, who shows me what true courage is.
To PD, the only Baptist preacher I can dialogue with, who shows me that Baptists are also human and worthy (kidding dave).
To Cutter, who gives me the ability to go forward regardless of what I face, because he shares how he does it, day by day, sometimes minute by minute.
To Mitchdoolittle who shows me that there truly are people out there caring for those who are unable to care for themselves, with compassion, love, calmness, quiet, and try to understand the worlds their patients live in.
To Drforbush who lets me know what is REALLY going on the the wider world.
And to all the others,