by rob brian
thanksgiving down on the farm
|The night before Thanksgiving I spent the evening smoking up two turkeys. The stars were bright, and the coyotes were soulfully loquacious in their evening serenade. They must have been happy with all the gut piles left by the deer hunters. The hoot owls along the creek were staking out their territories of mice and rabbits, with primordial calls. The moon was just a sliver in the west and the stars rewarded my thanksgiving endeavors with a grand display. I truly felt grateful that I didn’t live in Oklahoma City. The smell of pecan wood smoke filled the air, and I could hear the turkeys sizzle in their juices. The quiet was calming in its perfection, and gave the illusion that all was well with the world. I could feel myself relaxing, looking forward to four days off from work.
Thanksgiving day broke warm and sunny with just a moderate breeze from the south. After sleeping late, I felt like going out and cutting some firewood. Papa and I sharpened up the chainsaws and went out along the creek until we found some fallen wind blown branches off a huge pecan tree. We bucked up the best of the seasoned pecan, and loaded up the back of the truck with enough wood to heat the house for a month. It felt good to get out and get some exercise before the Thanksgiving feast. On the way back we spooked a covey of quail and a big antlered buck hiding amongst the cedar trees.
About noon the family started to arrive from Oklahoma City. They brought casseroles, and pies, sweet potatoes and stuffing. Babies were passed around and kissed until they cried. Kids were excitedly running in and out of the house, squealing, and the house was filled with all the noises and smells that make a house a home. Nieces and Nephews, Uncles and Cousins unloaded the dirt bikes and four-wheelers. They put my old four-wheeler to a test, and the cows were shocked and alarmed in their serene repose by the noisy dirt bikes, and four-wheelers darting menacingly amongst them. But by the end of the afternoon they had regained their sublime composure, barely pausing in their cud chewing. The table was magnificent, and we held hands and said the blessing. We filled up on turkey and dressing. Afterwards, we loaded up in my old ford pickup, and let the kids feed the cows cattle cubes, and took a nice walk along the creek. We emerged from the woods with scratches from the green briar, and the kids had pockets full of their favorite rocks, and a few turkey feathers. Everyone returned to the house with dirt on their knees, butts, and cow slobber on their shirts and arms. I was completely satisfied. Jane gave up on trying to keep dirty shoes off the carpet, and was resigned to watch the flies swarm in as the kids went in and out. Everyone devoured the pies, and some went for round two on the turkey and entrees.
It was Jane’s first Thanksgiving at the farm. She had really never eaten turkey, suspicious that it was some enraged enlarged chicken on hormones. But after tasting the indisputable delectable pecan smoked flavor, and the complementing flavors of turkey neck and gizzard gravy, and dressing, she succumbed, assuaged of her suspicions. That night, after they all left, and the babies were asleep, and the house was back in order, except for a dozen flies still flying around, she asked me “ Is Thanksgiving always like this?” and I had to think. “Well no, it wasn’t always like this,” I replied. “But it ought to be.”