Friday, 3 October 2014

Turkey Tales

With the Thanksgiving holiday just over a week away, I’m sure there are many women, mothers, grandmothers, making their plans, making their list and checking it twice...?...wrong holiday, but similar meaning.

I was just telling a friend about the lovely dinner I had at my daughter’s on Sunday, a bit early I know. When I arrived my daughter was sleeping on the couch, two of the four kids busy watching TV or on their tablets. The other two were at a friend’s birthday party, the visiting niece and nephew with Dad to pick up the party-goers.

No muss, no fuss, no frenzy. There’s a reason she is lovingly called the General, within family circles of course.

The term, the rank, so to speak, comes from a woman I knew of, but never had the pleasure to meet, my husband’s Mother, who died shortly before we met. She was one of those organized, take charge women, and in her family she was called Sergeant Major.

I am not one of those women; I would be at the lowest rank in their army, or maybe dishonorably discharged.

I remember an argument I had with my husband, probably because I’d crafted all afternoon and had to rush to put something on the table for dinner. He brought up his mother, and her organized way of running the house.

I was not receptive at having all my faults compared to his mother’s accomplishments. It was wrong I know, but I had to put the comparison into proper perspective. First, she didn’t work outside of the home and I always had a full or part-time job in a demanding career. Two, her three children were five years apart in age, so she only had one child at a time at home. My children were fifteen months apart, not at all the same kind of relaxed parenting. And third, here’s where I was unkind, she was dead and would always be perfect in her son’s eyes.

Does that mean I’ll be perfect in my children’s memory when I am dead and gone? One can only hope.
I’m more my mother’s daughter. I remember a Thanksgiving, the first in my parents’ new condo, their empty nest. The turkey was in, the family in attendance and it was cocktail hour as we all watched sports on television.

Someone finally noticed that there was no smell of roasting turkey, and on checking the oven we found it cold and the turkey raw. Apparently the oven on this new stove, which had not be used before that day, had a two part switch, one to turn the oven on, another to set it to bake or broil. Mom had turned it to bake and never turned the on button...on.

Needless to say dinner was delayed. The oven was turned up high and we continued to amuse ourselves with drinks, appetizers and football. By the time the turkey was cooked, we were feeling no pain, if you know what I mean.

Mom opened the oven and slid out the rack holding the roasting pan. There was no support for the oven rack and with the weight of the roasting pan and the turkey it tipped, and dumped into the back of the oven, bird, potential gravy and all. I give that as an excuse, sounds better than that my Mom was beyond tipsy at that point. Dinner was delayed, yet again.

We never were one of those all hands in the kitchen kind of families. Not like my in-laws. I had a mother-in-law, wife number two, and on such a night she had plenty of help. I remember her mother was always there with a helping hand, it was the men’s job to mash potatoes and carve the bird. It was a shared responsibility.

So, I’ve had my Thanksgiving turkey for this year with the gift of leftovers for a sandwich the next day, and I never had to do a lick of work. Thanks General Jenn, it was a great meal.

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