Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. I have a lot to be thankful for. But there will be a huge hole tomorrow without Mom there. I remember thinking last year that I had this eerie feeling that it would be our last Thanksgiving with her. Since losing her February 28, 2010, I have learned to listen to my gut much more closely. I am so grateful that Dad encouraged her to stay the entire holiday instead of going home early with Sam. She never liked that I wouldn't let her smoke in the house but I did try to accommodate her in the garage or covered closed deck, depending on her preference. I know that smokers don't realize the horrible smell their habit leaves behind and, with carpet, there's no way to ever truly get rid of it. I loved her dearly but not her smoking. The only good thing that came out of it is that I never even had an interest in smoking even when that was the "thing" to do. And I have to hold my tongue as I watch young women now smoking despite what we know it does to you. I thought it took 10 years off your life. Now I'm hearing it can be 15 to 20 years and with Mom's heavy habit, it was probably toward the latter. Too bad she didn't want to realize what a toll it took on her. But it also points to how some of us are more prone to addictions than others. And, maybe if I had ever started, I would have had just as much trouble quitting. Thank God I never did.
As I mentioned last night, I didn't get as much done as I wanted. And, I'm only here right now (at the computer) because I vowed to stay with this writing thing. It's the only way to get where I need to be.
When I was growing up, we always went to the cabin Mom and Dad built at the Lake of the Ozarks near Mom's relatives who always spent Thanksgiving there. I know we had Thanksgivings before the early 70s but I don't recall those. They used the kitchens in both our house and my Aunt Cova's next door. And there was always the kids table and I remember hating be at the kids table when I was older. I always wanted to be with the adults - they were a lot more interesting.
I can remember the fall leaves at the lake and playing in them for hours. And exploring the Ozark woods of mid-Missouri. And I remember Mom always being concerned (and rightly so) for the hunters that might mistake us for deer so we had to stay pretty close to the house. Dad had built us a tree house and that was fun, too.
Now I am so deathly allergic to poison ivy - or at least it feels that way. Now when I look around at the ground at the lake, there is poison ivy everywhere. I only wish I had the immunity to it now that I did then. I can't work in the dirt anywhere without Ivy Block and rubber gloves under my regular gloves. It took me awhile to figure out I was getting it not where I expected it - ie in the woods, but around the house. And since the steroid shots to get rid of the severe cases are definitely not good for bone density, I have to be even more careful. You can see, however, that I refuse to give up working in the yard. And I do miss getting my hands in the dirt.
Back to Thanksgiving. One year, one of Mom's cousin's wives (Cova's daughter-in-law) decided to do Thanksgiving at her house that wasn't big enough in Kansas City. It was chaos for everyone because the weather was bad and the children were underfoot and not in a good way.
And I can remember one year when we were still at the lake my Dad giving Aunt Tootie a hard time for bringing a store-bought pie. What was the point, he asked? (I agree! -even a bad homemade pie is better than most store-bought pies.)
It's been more years than I care to remember but, as adults, we started going to the Locarnis (who had been Dad's family friends growing up) for Thanksgiving afternoon. We ate before (or after, who remembers) the Dallas Cowboys played. In the early years, it was a matter of having too much good food to eat since Shirley was always a good cook.
After I built the farm, we started having our family Thanksgiving out here. I did a test turkey run on my cousin when he was down hunting and managed to make it work. I didn't like how my stove was impacted by overflowing candied apples so I only made those once and let Mom bring them - esp. since they could be served cold. And Mom brought the pies and doughdies and sweet potato casserole. I like sweet potatoes but not the ooey gooey with brown sugar.
Dad knows I can't do all that she did but I did make him some candied apples in Carthage and will make sweet potatoes for our "re-heat" of Thanksgiving dinner and he can take them home with him.
We have turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, jellied cranberry sauce (yes, canned) - it's not Thanksgiving without this ingredient, Heavenly Hash - also known as 5-cup salad, stuffing - another favorite, green beans with bacon and onion. I'm making pie and doughdies today. 

Happy Thanksgiving to all!


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