Thursday, November 28, 2013

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.

When I count my blessings this Thanksgiving, I have to count all of you, too. You have given me so much encouragement with my writing. Blog friends are real friends. I am so happy to count you as mine. Hope your holiday is filled with peace and joy and a nap by the fire after too much pumpkin pie.

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Ms. A said...

Happy Thanksgiving, Jenny!

Jeanie said...

You bring them back so vividly for those of us lucky enough to have some of those same memories.
Happy Thanksgiving.

JDaniel4's Mom said...

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving,

"Alone again.... naturally!" said...

Happy Thanksgiving Jenny! Cathy

Linda @ A La Carte said...

Jenny your writing is amazing. I could see and smell that dressing. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Janie Junebug said...

Beautifully written, Jenny. Thank you.


Melinda said...

Good memories, my friend.
Hope you were able to make more today!

M :)

Sue said...

Beautiful words, Jenny. Just lovely. You almost make me wish I'd cooked the Thanksgiving dinner this year…but not quite!

Hope you had a wonderful day!


vivian said...

Happy Thanksgiving Jenny! YOu paint a beautiful picture with your words!
have a lovely weekend.

Theresa said...

Hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving! A day late reading your blog but here I am! Love reading anything you write! Blog friends SURE are real friends! Love you dear Jenny, HUGS!

Anonymous said...

Beautifully expressed! said...

Bkessings to you, dear Jenny.

Rita said...

Sweet memories! I love reading your stories. And bloggers are real friends. :) :)

Betty said...

My mother used to get up at the crack of dawn to get the turkey in the oven...just like you! Personally, I prefer to eat later in the day and sleep a little longer in the morning. :) I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I cooked for the first time since 2008 and loved having that turkey smell in the house again.

Busy Bee Suz said...

How beautiful Jenny.
I hope you are feeling well….I hope your Thanksgiving was just lovely!!

Amy said...

We always went to Grandma's for Thanksgiving, so I never had those experiences which you write of. But I hope to be able to create those same warm memories for my family. Next year will most likely be an off year, which means I can do Thanksgiving for my little family. I may need to get some recipes off of you for that. :) You certainly can create a beautiful picture with your words, Jenny.

Splendid Little Stars said...

What sweet memories!
My Thanksgiving was wonderful, spent with family and many hours of cooking and baking. And at last, a feast!
I hope your Thanksgiving was magnificent! ♥