Up at 5:30 a.m., I began my preparations for the six p.m. meal. Never before has my family “allowed” me to host Thanksgiving, either my mother or brother owned that holiday. Lately I have been thinking if I want to host a holiday, I should just invite some friends, or do it for my hubby and I alone. The point of a holiday is to spend it with family, at least in the Jewish holiday sense. Often I see great logic in the American way, living with a country or few mountain ranges between those we grew up raised by or with.
I texted my dad who is always up around 3 or 4 each morning, ostensibly to do his martial arts practice. I wrote, “Let’s cook!” He wrote back and asked if he should come. It was seven. I told him he didn’t have too, I had it under control, he could do the clean up.
He did come for a bit. I had made a giant pot of coffee, cleaned old dishes and put away everything from the dishwasher and was almost done with my first batch of cornbread muffins. We walked the dogs when he came, then went back to the kitchen. My husband was up and now helping.
Soon after my father arrived, my mom texted demanding that he return home immediately. Thus it is in my family. Recently I have been working on a theory involving the fact that my parents were both only children. I don’t have any memories of my mom ever sitting on the floor and playing with me the way I play with small children, or any if they are around and ask it of me. My father did play board games with us and would be silly. I find it interesting that I haven’t a single memory of her being fun and silly with us, building anything with our toys, or initiating playing any board games or such with my brother and I.
My theory is that because they were both only children, it made getting along with others and sharing space, for my mom especially, difficult and an anomaly. And she will tell you she wakes up happy in the morning, but she wakes up and immediately demands things of everyone around her. Now in her twilight years she does it with the authority of someone who has multiple chronic illnesses, always a new one each time we see her, something a doctor is investigating and probing and prodding for.Tuesday my grandmother had her gall bladder removed. So my mother has had her time and attention tied up with that.
Father whisked away, my husband and I, a fabulous team, completed our muffin batch and continued making a porcini turkey butter, peeling potatoes, yams, and began sautéing celery and mushrooms for the stuffing.
My brother did not show up until noon, even though he had promised to come at ten a.m. I knew better. He stays up all night every night drinking, often bottles of red wine until 4 a.m. or so, and so sleeping in late. His effort today was to bring a few items from my folks place, as he lives there, and he kindly of his own volition brought us all coffees.
Brother Jack turns out to be an expert at rubbing down the turkey with the porcini butter, and tying the critter up in twine. At the same time he was filled with all of those words on how we should do everything, immediately tried to put his ipod on with his tunes, and upon arrival poured himself some bourbon, then worked his way to a bottle of white wine.
I am a quite cooking type of girl and declined any early morning drinking; but had been able to squeeze in a cat nap on the couch due to his tardy arrival.
Jack ran off to visit my grandmother who’d returned home that afternoon. While at my house, as well as rubbing and tying down the bird, he helped me put out the two plastic folding tables.
After he departed for hours, I put away all of my clothing which was piled up after airing out on my dresser, found homes for my accessories lying on trays around the house, put a few fall decoration pieces together, and basted the bird.
Our bird was done in record time, about two hours for our 16 pnd foul; beautiful, brown and aromatic with all of the herbs and butter; a gorgeous first attempt, made a bit easier by Jack whom had done this before and knew how to do the rub down. Jack has a propensity for cooking anything not in a recipe. He has seemingly oppositional defiance and will do the opposite of any instruction given, almost a physical illness to following directions of any kind.
I, on the other hand, followed it to the tee, hence awesome first bird and gravy!