Thursday, November 27, 2014


If I were a betting woman, I’d bet hardly any of the regular readers of Thursday’s Child will catch up with us this holiday morning. Many of you will be basting the turkey, having put it in the oven at 4:00 AM (I’ve been told there is such a time of day). Others will be hustling everyone around for a trip to Grandma’s house (or Aunt Millie’s or Cousin Jim’s or good friends who also live far from family) for the traditional turkey/ham/standing rib roast and all the trimmings. Some will be sleeping in, waiting for Somebody Else to make a pot of coffee that will rouse the most persistent snoozer.
Me, I’m taking it easy. Our family dinner is tomorrow at my Ohio daughter’s house. I made and delivered a 2-lb. loaf of gluten-free bread earlier this week for my daughter to use in her special stuffing, and today I’ll clean veggies and make a good low-cal dip to take with me. (Recipe at the end of this post.)

Memories of childhood Thanksgiving holidays bring pictures of long car trips starting Wednesday night, driving/riding through the dark and often snow, to arrive on Thursday morning. We often stayed at my step-grandmother’s house a couple of nights before loading up and driving back to where we were living (either southern Missouri or Wichita, KS in those days). Whichever locale, it was a lo-o-o-ong trip for a kid.
I never recall any of those meals—did we have turkey? Ham? Chicken?

We might have—I’m sure we did—go to Grandma and Grandpa Jenkins’ house. By the time I was 11 or 12 they were in their early 70s and probably didn’t have the big meal at their house. (Not surprising—they had 10 children, with spouses, 26 grandchildren—or was it 27?—and by then a handful of great-grandchildren. Too many for a small house!)

After I married, I became a Palmer—that family was more conventional as to holidays than my dad and stepmother were. The tradition was: get together, make a big meal, eat and enjoy each other’s company. I recall another long, slow drive from central Illinois to rural Iowa, during snow and possibly ice—memory fails here, which is just as well.
That was to set the pattern for years—no matter the weather, we went “home” for Thanksgiving and Christmas; for my husband and me it was back to central Illinois. By the time we had three children, my in-laws came to visit us in Indiana.

As the children grew up, I continued the tradition of holiday dinners—cooking and baking, inviting others to join us, going to Thanksgiving Eve church services. Lots of work, but it made for fond memories.
In our family, we’ve passed the torch—my house is no longer large enough to hold all of us for holiday meals. The noise level of 22 people—if they all get here—threatens to raise the roof (literally). So the next generation has grabbed the torch and uses it to roast a turkey. Besides, my daughter lives in the country where there’s ample room for kids to play safely outside, weather permitting, where the noise level is less noticeable to aging ears.

Tomorrow at our gathering I’ll get to visit with a few of my grandsons and their families. We’ll eat and eat and eat—too many good things to pass them up—and later we’ll take a walk around outside to view the changes my daughter and son-in-law have made to their property in the past year. Some of our group will congregate in my son-in-law’s taxidermy shop, which will be open now that hunters are out doing their thing.
If we had to pass up the pie offerings earlier, due to insufficient room to sample all of them (pumpkin, apple,  and butterscotch are regular features), now’s the time to head back inside, grab a cup of coffee or tea, and have “just a little slice” of whatever’s being cut. It’s the rare person who can pass up all three offerings.

By the time a few people are making going-home noises, we will be packing up leftovers so everybody can have a little bit of Thanksgiving dinner another day. I drive about an hour back to my Indiana home, and pat my well-filled tummy. Another cup of tea is about all I’ll need after our lovely feast. I’ll spend the evening savoring the family connections, remembering how much the youngest children have grown in a year since I last saw them, and being thankful once again that I am a part of such a good family.
New additions to the Fond Memory Department.

On this Thanksgiving Day, I wish you a peaceful time of reflection—a time to count your blessings—a time to list all the ways you are thankful.

May you, and I, pass on these blessings.

[If you’re not a sour cream fan, here’s an easy substitute.]
2/3 c. cottage cheese
2/3 c. plain yogurt (Greek yogurt works well)
2/3 c. mayonnaise

In a blender, mix the cottage cheese and yogurt. Pour out into a bowl, add the mayonnaise, and whisk together till smooth. Stir in dip mix of your choice (I use Hidden Valley).
Makes about 2 cups.


1 comment:

  1. Have a blessed day! Having a good one here in the mountains and the woods of NC. It's beautiful here!