Hell of a Guy

Thanksgiving Remembered…

11/22/2007

Today is Thanksgiving Day and it’s just a tad after 6AM.  I awoke this morning thinking of all The Nancy and I have to do to prepare for our twenty-plus guests for today’s feast.  As I lay there, all snuggled in the warmth and comfort of our bed, I began to mull over some of my past Thanksgivings.

The one with the most impact occurred just ten years ago on a Thanksgiving Day.  That one is the day in 1997 that my dad past away.  He was ninety-three.  I still miss him and think of him often.

As a kid, Thanksgiving was a really great day for me and my brothers and sisters.  It was turkey day, and those only came twice a year – Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Thanksgiving dinner was always at home.  With seven people making up the White family, we never got invited to anyone’s home for Thanksgiving, but that was okay; Thanksgiving was still a very special day.

In addition to turkey, Thanksgiving was one of two days in a year when cranberry sauce would grace our table (same as now, for the most part).  The memory of cranberry sauce is very vivid.  It came in a can and it slid out of it in a homogenous glob once the ends of the can were removed.  It tasted better than it looked.  The turkey generally looked better than it tasted.  My mom was not Betty Crocker.  Turkey, as was most other meats she prepared, was cooked until the meat began to separate from the carcass.  It was as dry as a paper napkin, and had to be smothered with the lumpy gravy she made to make it palatable.  Still, it was the best meal of the year and we all loved and looked forward to it.  I think the Thanksgiving aromas wafting through the house had a lot to do with specialness of the day. 

Thanksgiving Day was also the day of the City-Poly Annual Football Classic.  “City” officially known as The Baltimore City College and “Poly” the Baltimore Polytechnic Institute had the oldest high school football rivalry in Baltimore, and for years it was played on Thanksgiving Day at the old Memorial Stadium on 33rd Street.  City won the contest each of the three years I was in high school, and my Thanksgiving meals in 1959, 1960 and 1961 probably consisted of a couple of hotdogs and a Coca Cola.  Good Years for sure. 

These days The Nancy and I are making our own Thanksgiving memories.  Four out of the past five Thanksgivings we have hosted between eighteen and twenty-five people for dinner.  This year I think we have twenty-two.  After about seven trips to the grocery store and the depletion of our check book, we are ready.  One turkey cooked and another to go in the oven around ten this morning.  Three kinds of stuffing, Alton Brown’s green bean casserole, streusel sweet potatoes (fancy for crumbs and marshmallows), garlic mashed tators, Hell-of-a-Guy made cranberry relish and sauce, sautéed Brussels sprouts, kale with caramelized red onions and garlic, hot potato rolls, five pies, a cake, homemade vanilla ice cream and a partridge in a pear tree.  Yep! We is ready!!!

Thanksgiving, though, is so much more than a meal, especially this one for me.  I am so thankful for so much, now that I have a personal relationship with God (we are friends again).  Today I get to be with a whole bunch of people I love.  I get to cook and I get to entertain.  I get to hug.  If there is any sadness in this day, it is only because of those I so dearly love who cannot be here to enjoy this day with me, and I will miss them.  And, I will miss you, too!  Thanks to all of you for being a part of my life. 

And that is all I have to say about that…

PS to Dad:  I miss you. 

 
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