The roast turkey carries with it, in its chubby hold, a sizable portion of our primitive and pagan luggage.
Primitive and pagan? Us? We of the laser, we of the microchip, we of the Union Theological Seminary and Time magazine? Of course. At least twice a year, do not millions upon millions of us cybernetic Christians and fax machine Jews participate in a ritual, a highly stylized ceremony that takes place around a large dead bird?
And is not this animal sacrificed, as in days of yore, to catch the attention of a divine spirit, to show gratitude for blessings bestowed, and to petition for blessings coveted?
The turkey, slain, slowly cooked over our gas or electric fires, is the central figure at our holy feast. It is the totem animal that brings our tribe together.
~ Tom Robbins, Skinny Legs and All
If we were having coffee, tea, hot cider, hot chocolate, water, or some other beverage, I would be delighted to see you again. It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Come on in! Please pardon the mess. We had family here, one of whom is our almost three-year-old nephew. My father refers to him as The Tornado. Whirlwind would suit him, too. He’s cute as a button, and empowered with all the energy of an almost three-year-old. The Whirlwind can tear a place apart in no time if left unchecked and honestly, because he is so cute, nobody minds. Besides, it will only take about thirty minutes or so of concentrated effort to clean up. Instead of working on that, I went out for a walk in the woods. M is out working somewhere on the property. I can hear his chainsaw growling. We both felt in need of some outdoor time.
Let’s go out to the kitchen and have a seat there since that appears to be the cleanest and warmest room in the house right now. There is plenty to nosh on, from the savory to the sweet. Help yourself if you’re feeling peckish. I’m thinking I might not eat again for a couple of days after the gluttony of Thanksgiving. We did the whole kit and caboodle this year with the turkey, the stuffing, the mashed potatoes, the gravy, the cranberries, and numerous other side dishes. There were appetizers galore, and three pies to choose from for dessert.
How are you? What have you been up to since our last chat? I can’t even remember when our last coffee chat took place. Do you? I could go look, but it doesn’t really matter. Do you (and did you) celebrate Thanksgiving? Did you travel anywhere to be with family or did they travel to be with you? Have you traveled anywhere for the pure fun of it? Seen any new sights? Listened to any new sounds? Have you gone on any good walks or hikes? Read any good books or seen any good films?
I have not been reading, writing, or watching much of anything lately. M and I have been traveling nearly every weekend, and when we are home, we are generally getting the house, the property, and ourselves ready for the next trip. This will be our first weekend at home in a while, and I have to tell you that I am profoundly grateful for it. I’m feeling a little tired of spending so much time inside the car, traveling from here to there and back again.
If we were having coffee, tea, or something else to drink, I would tell you that after our trip to the Lancaster, Pennsylvania region and Annapolis, Maryland, for our friend’s memorial services (which seems ages ago), M and I went to The Bogs of Ohio to visit with our grandson. Little Wookie is growing by leaps and bounds, as babies do. He has several teeth now, and I am pretty sure he is the cutest, happiest baby on planet Earth. It was wonderful to be able to giggle, laugh, sing, babble, squeal, coo, play, and snuggle with Little Wookie. A reaffirmation of life, perhaps, would be a good way to describe it after the events of the past month. He was a great distraction from many worldly things including the political situation here in the U.S. It was good to spend time with Little Wookie’s parents, too.
M and I had hoped to see our oldest son, his wife, and our granddaughters while we were out there, but the weather did not cooperate with us. In typical northeast Ohio fashion, it snowed. As you know, I love snow, but not if we have travel plans. We were going to try to meet up with Oldest Son and his family at a halfway point between where he lives and The Bogs, but it seemed best not to have anyone driving in snow squalls. The snow didn’t amount to much in the grand scheme of things. It was just enough to cancel our plans. Phooey. We will see them at the end of next month, but it would have been nice to fit in an extra visit. We haven’t seen our granddaughters since July.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I caught a cold either while visiting with Little Wookie (who has had more than his fair share of colds and illness from being in daycare) or while hugging and shaking hands with a lot of people at the memorial services. Either way, it’s nothing too serious. Sniffles, sneezes, and a stuffy head. I’m sure it will pass soon. It’s likely I followed the old adage which states that the best way to get rid of a cold is to pass it on to someone else. I would never do that intentionally, but with all the sneezing and access to people I’ve had lately, it wouldn’t surprise me if someone else managed to catch it from me.
If we were having coffee, tea, or some other beverage, I would tell you that for the past few years we have spent Thanksgiving with my family up at my sister’s home in New Jersey. Last year I offered to host it here, thinking it was almost a certainty that it wouldn’t happen. It’s not a long way for everyone to travel, but it is a good 3.5 to 4 hour drive. One of my three brothers contacted me last month and asked if Thanksgiving here at the ranch was still on. At the time, I thought not because we’d made plans to spend it with M’s family. Plans, as we all know, are subject to change and this was no exception. We switched things around (we’ll spend Christmas with M’s family), and Thanksgiving at the Wabi-Sabi Ranch was on.
Our home is small and had all of my brothers and sister showed up with their children and/or grandchildren, it would have been crowded here at the ranch. It would have been cozy, but we would have figured out something as we are wont to do with family. You make do, don’t you? Not everyone could come down here, however, so we ended up with just enough room for those who did. My father, two of my brothers, their wives, and one nephew arrived on Thursday afternoon ready to share what food they brought with them, and to partake in the food we had to share with them. It was lovely to be in such good company for a couple of days.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this is the first time in years I’ve cooked a turkey and all the trimmings. I was a little worried I’d lost the talent for it. As it turns out, it’s like riding a bicycle. It all came back to me. I did try a different method of cooking the turkey, and I was delighted with the results. M, ever the scientist, gets Cook’s Illustrated magazine. For those unfamiliar with the magazine, the cooks and editors who work for the magazine test their recipes, sometimes in a variety of ways, and explain in great detail what they tried, what didn’t work, what worked, and why it didn’t work or why it did work. Their recommendation for a tasty, moist turkey was to put the roasting pan on a baking stone. You start out preheating the stone and pan at a high temperature, put the turkey in the roasting pan (which sizzles since the pan is so hot), put the pan on the stone, and cook it for a short period of time at a higher than usual temperature. Then you turn it down and let it cook for whatever cooking time it needs depending, of course, on the size of your turkey. The method worked beautifully and the turkey was delicious.
Everyone left this morning, and it is very quiet here now. The day that started out mostly cloudy has turned into a beautiful, relatively warm (almost 60 degrees), blue-sky day. As of this writing I have not yet heard whether or not they all arrived home safely, but I imagine I’ll hear something soon. Traffic in Delaware is usually heavy, and it’s probably more so today because of the holiday travels.
If we were having coffee, tea, or something else to drink, I’d have more I want to share, but I think it is time to turn this over to you. Otherwise, I might talk your ear off. Let’s go out to the porch now and enjoy the sunshine for a little while. We could also take a walk if you’re in the mood for it. We still have colorful leaves on a lot of the trees, and it was lovely in the woods and out on the dock this morning. I would like to go down to the Point for sunset this evening, and you are welcome to join me on that adventure too. Sunset is at 4:45 PM. I’ll be going about 20-30 minutes early, as usual, just so I can take a walk on the beach and enjoy the scenery.
Thank you so much for stopping by to visit. I haven’t been great company lately, but seem to be pulling out of it so it was really nice to be able to share some time with you.
Be good, be kind, be loving. Just Be. 🙂
This post is in response to Part Time Monster’s #WeekendCoffeeShare. Thank you to Diana for hosting it. Put the kettle on, start the coffee maker, open a bottle of wine, or whatever your preference is, and join us. I’d love to hear all about what you were up to this week.