Turkey Day is fast approaching. Once the bird's been stuffed, lathered with oils and herbs, and either deep-fried or roasted, the waiting begins. To take their minds off the impending feast, the kids run around outside tossing football while the "big kids," their dads, and uncles slouch on the couch glued to whatever game is being televised.
The women are in the kitchen busily preparing traditional sides. Of course somebody is peeling potatoes that will be boiled, buttered, salted, and mashed. Grammy is toasting bread for the stuffing while daughter #1 sautés the onions and peppers. Two of the in-laws argue over what sweet potato recipe should be used this year. The one last year didn't go over so well. And the green bean casserole is being assembled by daughter #2 without controversy.
Non-traditional dishes are on the menu as well. Those being prepared include squash with creamed cabbage, succotash with sun-dried tomatoes and cranberry-date and walnut muffins. Although none of these have been a Thanksgiving staple, at least the adults are willing to give them a shot. If liked, they'll be granted a repeat performance. If not, they'll be tossed in the can never to be heard or spoken of again. I'm totally sure the first two will be in the latter category. As far as the muffins go, even without a taste, they definitely have my vote to be invited back next year and every year thereafter.
The other Nana and Papa arrive carrying freshly baked pies and dessert. Nana heads for the kitchen; Papa, to the couch. Nana complains that her pecan pie isn't up to par. Her daughter-in-law just rolls her eyes. Grammy pokes her and assures Nana that it looks and smells delicious. Nana puts on her apron and offers to do whatever needs doing. She is directed to the sink where pots and pans, mixing bowls and spoons need rinsed and loaded into the dishwasher. One might think such a job beneath her; Nana just enjoys being included in the hustle and bustle of the holiday meal's preparation.
Little Billy shoots through the back door screaming his head off. The older kids keep tackling him and rubbing his face in the grass. His dad tells him to be quiet; the men can't hear the play-by-play announcer. Little Billy goes crying into the kitchen. His mother wipes his nose and tells him to stop with all the noise. Grammy pats him on the head, gives him a buttered roll and tells him to go in the living room and sit on Grampa's lap. Relative peace among the brethren is temporarily restored.
Taking a well-deserved breather, the women fill their cups with dark-roasted coffee and lots of fat-free caramel macchiato creamer and head for the patio. They talk and laugh about their men, their children, their neighbors, their jobs, their lives.
Now the kids are playing freeze tag. The older kids are picking on Cindy Lou since Billy is in the house. Cindy Lou doesn't go screaming her head off; she simply scrapes off anything her agitators throw at her. She definitely has earned their respect. They not only leave her alone, but make her an honorary member of their elite group.
The women go inside and set the holiday table with festive paper plates and matching napkins. Using the wedding gift china isn't a possibility. First of all, there are way too many people and not nearly enough fine plates and secondly, nobody in their right mind would use such elegant tableware for this rowdy bunch of hooligans.
A plethora of delicious aromas float throughout the house. Growling stomachs signal that it's time for the Thanksgiving meal kick-off. Grammy insists that everybody use the bathroom to wash up and do whatever else is necessary.
As the family is seated, they join hands and offer a prayer of thanks. Not one bit of food with the exception of Billy's buttered roll has been tasted, yet for everybody here and for everything that has occurred before actually partaking of the traditional feast, we are very blessed and truly full of thanks!