Well, here it is, Thanksgiving week, and instead of shopping and cleaning and baking and cooking, I keep on thinking about messed up expectations.
About times that I have been derailed from well-laid plans.
And about one particular really crazy Thanksgiving that no one would choose to have, and yet it all worked out okay in the end. This may take a few days to tell…
Here is Part 1:
Often my holiday plans have been messed up.
Not small glitches, here and there, soon fixed with scotch tape. I mean big, unfixable mess ups.
Bigger than the first time I ever hosted Thanksgiving dinner.
I was a pretty new at the domestic stuff, and still learning how be a mother. This was the first Thanksgiving my little family would have in our house, and I wanted everything to go perfectly. In the frantic flurry of all the shopping, planning, baking, and especially cleaning, I had forgotten to check on the thawing turkey. The night before Thanksgiving, all the crystal was freshly washed and gleaming, the china dishes in their places, but I had been so distracted that I completely neglected the bird. Now where was that thing? It wasn’t in the fridge. Not in the freezer. I began to panic when our guest of honor, my mother in law, entered the kitchen. She was a great cook. I was not. Especially when I couldn’t remember where the turkey was.
“With what will you season the poultry?” She asked.
I smoothed out the tablecloth, adjusting the edge. I was about to tell her all about the exciting salt and pepper seasonings with which I was familiar, when suddenly it hit me. I remembered where my turkey was.
In the car.
It was in the car, in the garage. Of course.
We had just a smallish refrigerator, and it was stuffed completely with side dishes and trimmings. So, for the last few days, the turkey had been kept cold in the garage. This was Minnesota, after all. The garage is just a big walk-in cooler.
It was actually much colder in the garage. Like probably 300 degrees below zero. Yes, the turkey was found. But it was frozen solid as a rock. So, the night before that Thanksgiving, in the dark of frosty cold Minnesota, I trekked to the only open store to find a thawed turkey.
Then my mother in law stepped in to cook the meal. She rustled up more than just the salt and pepper I had planned, and even glazed the carrots in a caramel blend of butter and brown sugar. Delicious things came out of my oven that day, and as my mother in law stirred the gravy and garnished the potatoes, I saw her happiness emerge. Even though she was visiting from far away, she got to cook Thanksgiving dinner for her son. And it was just like he’d remembered from his childhood. His grandmother’s china plates were on his table, his mother was at the stove, doing her best. Everyone was happy.
It was a beautiful Thanksgiving day.
It wasn’t the one I planned.
But it was a beautiful day.