Sunday, November 27, 2011

(AF) A Thanksgiving Circus - part 1

Fix yourself something to drink, maybe a snack, sit down, and get comfy. This may get a little long.
Okay, got all that together? Are you ready? Here we go . . . . .

I had been hearing about the Thanksgiving production for weeks.... and weeks .... AND weeks. For the person that was hosting my family's Thanksgiving dinner again this year, that is what it means to her, a production, a show, an attention fix, the actual meaning of Thanksgiving totally lost. So sad! Thanksgiving is about giving thanks for all the many blessings that have been bestowed upon each of us all year long, and the celebration should be mindfully centered around that in a very heart felt fashion. It is NOT 'Show Time' to center the attention around any one person. I did not want to go and ''fuel the fix, but two of my kids and half of my grand kids were going to be there, so I planned to go because I did look forward to getting to spend some time with them. It would have been even better if Dave and I could have spent at least a portion of the day together, but lack of gas funds, improperly running vehicles, and our own families' chaotic plans just didn't allow for that this year. At least we got to talk a few times by phone and we had last Friday evening to celebrate Thanksgiving together. It doesn't matter when you celebrate it, just that you do! I sure did miss him, though! Spending the day with all of my kids would have made it even better, yet, but, as they grow up and have their own families, getting them together all at once gets harder and harder. Yep, my cell phone, bad reception and all, was one of the things I was especially thankful for this Thanksgiving!

I got up bright and early yesterday morning (Thanksgiving) to begin cooking my Stewed Pumpkin' & Pears. I was told not to bring anything, but I did anyway (at least my dish didn't get hidden in the garage this year, in fear that it might upstage someone). It takes quite awhile to cook, so as it simmered in the crock pot, I muttled about my chores doing laundry, feeding, and all that fun stuff. It was such a quiet, peaceful morning around here and I was actually enjoying my time puttering around. Time actually got away from me and I ended up leaving a little later than I had planned, but not by too much later, and it all worked out good anyway. I actually ended up being the third one there, setting aside everyone that lives there, of course.

I unloaded my stuff, hugged my very excited grand kids (such a great feeling!), plugged my crock pot back in (it still needed to simmer some more), and went to get the Fur Ball settled in in the back yard. I was so hoping he would get along with my son's dog. They got along well and really enjoyed romping with each other. And my Fur Ball especially loved playing with the kids. Then Cousin B got her 3 little dinky dogs out of her car and all 5 dogs had a blast playing together all day long! (The cat went into hiding) They were almost as much fun to watch as the kids, and, lol, the dogs actually out numbered the kids this year. What a 'feel good' feeling you get watching a yard full of happy kids and dogs all turned loose together and romping and playing and giggling with bounding energy! Oh, how I needed a video camera! And, *kicks self* I had forgotten my regular camera. Soon my Son 2 arrived and we all visited as we worked on the final dinner touches, which, as holidays go, ended up taking hours, but that's all part of the fun. I was soooo especially glad to get to see Son 2. It had been months since I had gotten to see him.

Next to arrive was my brother and his wife and kids. Pheasant .... yum .... pheasant .... Brother arrived with fresh, smoked pheasant. The wait for dinner suddenly became even harder to endure. Son 1 was smoking a ham, Brother had brought in a smoked turkey turkey smiley and the smoked pheasant, and the aromas of Thanksgiving began to really work their way to everyone's tummies in anticipation. And the nibbling and threats of hand swats began. One more couple and their kids, my mom's former neighbors, was suppose to be there, too, but he ended up having to work and they weren't going to be there until later, at supper time. We weren't about to wait until then to eat. And my aunt and other cousin didn't get to make it, either, but plates mounded with food were sent home to them and we still had a great turn-out.

By now I should always expect some sort of  'stand-out', attention seeking, production from my sister-in-law (SIL in this post) at large gatherings, but when she arrived with Brother, my mouth still dropped with an OMG when she walked through that door (yup, should have remembered that camera). In walks SIL (wife of a high-ranking police officer, mind you) looking like a 2-bit hooker! Her layers, upon layers of caked on, bright and bold make-up would have made Tammy Faye jealous.  And she wore .... a short-sleeved, very bright, very snug fitting, sweater dress, .... fancy, lacy black panty hose (good thing they were panty hose by the way she sat all afternoon, eewww!) .... and black go-go boots! Large fat globs bulged out of her sweater-dress from every place inward curves were suppose to be. It was all I could do not to bust out laughing every time I had to walk past her throughout the day. Was this suppose to be sexy? Far from it! On the contrary, she did serve a good purpose. Every time the tantalizing aromas were getting to us and we were thinking we just couldn't wait another minute until dinner, we only had to go take a peek at her to curb our appetites.
(I am not knocking being overweight at all, I myself am, but tight, form-fitting clothes and fat don't go together and I am just trying to paint a picture here, since I forgot my camera, so please don't take offense.)

Dinner was suppose to be at 2pm, but, as you well know, holiday dinners are rarely ever on time. Just before 2-oclock, I went outside to watch the kids and dogs romping and to visit with Dave a little more, via phone. Right at 2pm someone said that Dinner was about ready, so I went on in only to hear someone say, "wait, we still need to make this... wait, we still need to do that....", so I looked around to see what else I could do to get dinner on the table (actually, it was spread out over the table, counters, and everywhere a spot could be found). Host said the potatoes needed to be mashed, then asked if I could do it. I reminded her that she did not at all like my potatoes (she always gripes for days about them). She absolutely insisted that if I mashed them, she wouldn't complain. Cousin B asked what the difference was. I said that she drained most (not all) of the water off of hers, mashed them with a potato masher, and used very little salt or butter and no milk, leaving them flat and dry. I said that I left a little of the water in them, then added in some milk (cream if I had it), some salt, pepper, and then pulled out the mixer and whipped them until fluffy and creamy. She said, "Now that gets my vote." So I did the potatoes (using half & half).

As I started the potatoes, someone else had been delegated the task of making gravy. Since the meats were all smoked, there were no meat drippings. A jar of bouillon paste had been purchased to make the gravy with. Well, by the time I had finished whipping the potatoes, the person delegated the gravy-making task was still reading the bouillon jar, trying to figure out how to make it (without drippings, with bouillon paste) and how many 'recipes' of it to use for our group. Recipes? Really? for gravy? So I made the gravy, too. I rummaged around and found a couple spoons of bacon fat in the fridge and used it and the bouillon paste to make the gravy with. It came out very smooth and tasty, but, should you ever make it this way, it is not wise to add salt. That bouillon had plenty in it already! Fortunately, I had under salted the potatoes (purposely, for those watching their salt, and I used sea salt at that), so when the potatoes and gravy were put together, it worked out perfectly (thank goodness!).

to be continued . . . . .

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