Since tomorrow is Thanksgiving, I find myself thinking about past Thanksgivings--when Mom and Dad were still with us. I miss those those holidays. I miss them. I even miss the mess, the cleanup afterward, the leftovers that were sometimes left over for days afterward.
Dad was always up first. He got up at the same time every morning for as long as I can remember, whether he was working or not. He always had the same thing for breakfast: bacon, eggs and coffee. My parents were creatures of habit. Mom would be up and about shortly after, getting the turkey in the oven and preparing the oyster stuffing. It was the only thing she made from scratch. I remember everything she put into it, just not how much of each ingredient. I couldn't make it if I tried, but I loved it. Mom was a better cook than I am, but she wasn't one to make anything from scratch if there was an easier alternative. Canned vegetables and gravy, mashed potato flakes, frozen pies, no problem. I buy mine ready to eat or at least microwavable. Sometimes, Collin and I even eat out or buy a prepared meal from a restaurant or grocery store. I'd get up in time to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade on TV. Collin was the only one who slept in. We always had dinner early on holidays, making two meals from the large volume of food. After round two, we'd all fall asleep in front of the TV. The next day, we'd have turkey sandwiches. The following day, it was turkey salad. By the third day, we were sick of turkey.
We only varied from that tradition once. Dad decided Mom needed a rest. It was just the four of us, and we agreed we would have Kentucky Fried Chicken for Thanksgiving dinner. That was in 1984. I had just signed with my literary agent. She was attending a writers conference--in Texas, I think--and arranged her return flight to New York so she could make an overnight stopover in St. Louis for our first face-to-face meeting. After a mix-up at the airport (it took Mom and me almost an hour to connect with her), we had a wonderful time.
We didn't get any cookies with ours....
But for a long time after that, Maria gave me a good-natured ribbing about our "surrogate Thanksgiving turkey!"
These days, it's just Collin and me. We either eat out or I prepare a large turkey breast in our Crock-Pot and do the sides (from cans, boxes, whatever is easy) in the microwave. It's fast, easy, and safer than eating anything I could make from scratch. We get a cake or pie from a bakery. And we watch the classic WKRP in Cincinnati episode, "Turkeys Away."