Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Memory of Thanksgiving


It was early morning. It was that tingly cold that makes you put on your warmest slippers and flannel robe. As I headed downstairs I cursed my attraction to century-old farmhouses. Although we had tried mightily to seal old glass windows and run heating vents through almost petrified wood beams, the upstairs was always chilly, and even more so in late November with an early cold spell bringing snow and wind to upstate Ohio.

On the way to the kitchen I turned up the thermostat several notches. I turned on the kitchen light and the golden tones of the wooden cabinets and floors glowed. The double window over the kitchen sink reflected a light glittering of snow dusted pink, rose and gold from the first rays of the Eastern sun. The gnarled ancient apple tree branches silhouetted against the pale lavender morning sky cast their charm over me as they always did.

The pilot light on my old, white enamel stove was out again, but I struck a match and the burner glowed warmly in the still chilly kitchen. I checked that the oven pilot light was working and turned that on as well. In deference to the early hour I had left my cast iron skillet, biggest roasting pan and a basket of onions out on the counter the night before.


The refrigerator supplied the butter, celery and a fat turkey ready to be stuffed. Very soon chopped onion and celery were simmering away in butter and their savory scents perfumed the kitchen air. This was the smell of every Thanksgiving past in our family. It was the same scent I anticipated each year when my parent rose at dawn to begin the preparation of our childhood feasts. I can remember laying in my cozy bed and smelling Thanksgiving as it drifted through the house. I hoped my children were having those same feelings on this day.

My huge yellow-ware bowl, used only for preparing food in massive quantities, easily held all my bread crumbs, bread cubes and spices - pungent sage and black pepper, the coarse glisten of kosher salt, the soft, enticing smell of the marjoram. All of the scents combined in that big yellow bowl…ahhh, the fragrance of memories. Soon the onions and celery were tender and the chicken broth warmed and the dressing became moist and aromatic with their addition.

The kitchen had become warm and wonderful and soon the stuffed turkey was in for its long roasting time. The extra stuffing was in its buttered casserole with a scoop saved out inside my little pink stoneware bowl. Now it was time to make some coffee and then start the dinner roll dough rising, time to make the pie crust so it could chill for several hours, time to start chopping vegetables…

But first… a fresh cup of coffee and cream and a small pink bowl filled with stuffing needed to be eaten in front of the big windows overlooking the stark sculpture of winter apple trees and the rosy morning glow of the sky. The house was quiet, the wooly throw was warm on my lap, my children were safely asleep upstairs.

Later the house would fill with relatives and laughter and teasing and conversation. Pies, mashed potatoes, the magnificent turkey, flavorful stuffing, yeasty warm dinner rolls, and homemade jellies glistening like jewels would fill the table.

But for now, my coffee was perfect, the stuffing was savory, memories of all the Thanksgivings that had come before warmed my mind. This moment and this magic was my Thanksgiving.

.....


I still have the giant yellowware bowl. It sits on my counter filled with fruit and random bits of lifes overflow! On Thanksgiving when we have large gatherings it gets washed out and filled with stuffing. This year is only 14 for dinner, so its clutter remains!

Have a blessed day of Thanks, my friends, whether it is a holiday where you live or not.

This little sentimental post is linked to Alphabe-Thursday's 'We Gather Together'. To read other links,
just click here!
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26 comments:

Pondside said...

Happy Thanksgiving, my dear Blogdom friend. I hope that your day is as touched with light as your memory of past Thanksgivings. Your yellow ware bowl is la lovely reminder of past feasts - such a great tradition to carry on with your grands.

Sue said...

So beautifully written, Jenny...and evocative of all my childhood and motherhood mornings. This is the first time I'm not cooking Thankgsiving for my family, and reading this almost (almost, mind you!) made me sorry!

I also loved "visiting" your farm house, and your description was so vivid that I truly feel like I did. You are quite a wrier, young lady!

Happy Thanksgiving, Jenny! (I think it's safe to say that you are one of the blessings your readers feel grateful for...)

=)

Bookie said...

Jenny, this a beautiful and moving post. Thank you for sharing such memories this morning. It has been a gift to me today. Hubby is sick (and we all know how pleasant a sick man is!!!)and one son is coming. He and I will join friends for a non-traditional holiday. This Thanksgiving has a melancholy touch to it as I remember and long for my own childhood ones, imperfect as they were. I loved visiting your own memories. Happy
Thanksgiving!

Gattina said...

Sounds very cosy ! I of course have never celebrated Thanksgiving in my life, as my ancestors didn't take the Mayflower.

Nezzy said...

Sound like heaven girl!!!

Right now my dressing for plenty (40 or so) is fillin' the house with sagey aromas.

Have a beautiful Thanksgiving makin' more precious memories!!!

God bless ya

Lorrie said...

Happy Thanksgiving, Jenny. While reading your piece I could smell the onions and celery simmering in butter, the scent wafting through the house.
I love the idea of treasuring the quiet moment before wonderful bedlam descends.

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. I wish we had a huge gathering but spread across the country as we are, it just doesn't happen at both Thanksgiving and Christmas. Enjoy the day!

Theresa said...

What a sweet Thanksgiving! Our Memories are forever in our hearts! ALL of the memories of the sights, sounds and smells of those times are precious to me!

Have a blessed day dear Jenny, BIG HUGS!

Bossy Betty said...

Lovely memories! Happy Thanksgiving to you and Mr. Jenny!

Judie said...

Jenny, here is something that I am thankful for today: YOU! What ann inspiration you are to so many people!

xoxo

Ms. A said...

Oh, Jenny, I can almost smell the wonderful aroma!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. Blessings.

It's All Connected said...

Well said! Happy Thanksgiving!

Carol said...

Happy Thanksgiving my beautiful Jenny! Your writing is wonderful, and I have read this many times but it always makes me feel like 'home'.

anitamombanita said...

I'll wear a sweater. I want to come to your house... my mouth is watering. And, oh what fun I'd have photographing all those old well-loved things. Happy Thanksgiving!

Vicki/Jake said...

Thanks for making my day complete Jenny, Brought back some memories of my own.... If only that yellow bowl could talk:)

Country Dreaming said...

Hope yours was spectacular!

Melinda

edenhills said...

What a wonderfully nostalgic piece. Beautiful. I hope you've had a great Thanksgiving.

Terra said...

my mom had a huge yellow bowl when were growing up, I don't know if she used it for the stuffing or not but I do know we made many a giant bowl of popcorn in it! Hope yesterday was fantastic and memory filled jenny!

☆☆Mumsy said...

Happy Thanksgiving, Jenny, and what a beautiful memory!

taylorsoutback said...

You have carried us along with this fragrant memory...we were right in that quiet kitchen as you prepared the turkey. A lovely posting...

We make stuffing the same way! And I use a large yellowware bowl too...

Hope your Thanksgiving was filled with Blessings.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

I hope you and your family had a wonderful Thanksgiving, Jenny! I loved reading this memory of one of your past Thanksgivings. This holiday is one of the best, as it is all about the love of a family and friends.

I'm honored to be one of your blog friends from "way back when" :_

Hugs,
Pat

Ames said...

Ahh Jenny, I was standing in that kitchen and watching, taking every detail in, smelling every scent, savoring everything!

I had my mom's yellow crock and finally mailed it to my sister who was the lucky one to inherit it. But I also have two white crocks one was mamaw Carrie's and one was my mother's. I gave those to my daughter. She uses them all the time.

Loved this story!~Ames

Jennifer said...

I love your posts, Jenny. I'm sorry I don't comment enough. :|

Wanderer said...

What a sweet memory! I love the smell of stuffing cooking and cranberries bubbling. Hope you had a lovely day. I missed that smell this year. We were to have dinner at great grandma's (she's 99!) and I made sweet potato souffle, a pie and cranberry sauce. But my college girl was really sick so the two of us sent the food with the others and snuggled in for a quiet afternoon. She's feeling better but I have to send her back to school with a cough. Bittersweet memories always bring a tear to my eye and a twinge to my heart. Wow! This is long... Have a great weekend.

Amy said...

Oh Jenny, that was magnificent! I love that you shared such a sweet memory with us! It sounds absolutely heavenly. I hope your actual Thanksgiving was just as magical as your memory was.

PⒿ @ $ € € ₦$ ₣®0₥... said...

I haven't logged on since Wednesday, so I missed this one. It's lovely. Some of the best times are in the
quiet of early, early morning.

Hope your holiday was great, Matlock!!