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Archive for the ‘Thanksgiving’ Category

Well, the gang was all here for Thanksgiving in the country and it was a hoot (as they used to say in another of my previous eras). Son, daughter-in-law, 3 grandgirls and one Golden Doodle descended upon this quiet, mostly people-less, oasis of calm and serenity in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Even Elsa-the-dog was in shock and only began to adjust by Day 4.

Thanksgiving day and the day before were a frenzy of cooking. And in spite of my Grand-girl, Jessica’s brilliant pre-holiday spread sheet outlining each of our specially owned menu items, we largely proceeded to cook old favorites in our own unique ways. The results were a delicious (if not elegant) meal. This is not a criticism because there are obviously benefits to using paper plates liked fast cleanup and less chaos in the kitchen.

But I had envisioned setting the table with “good china” for the first time since the advent of Covid and in fact, bought a new cloth that would spotlight the glowing beauty, etc.

I think it was the day after Thanksgiving when we almost all went to the Great Valley Farm and Brewery just to check it out and for something to do. And for no real reason we stayed and stayed in a plastic wrapped bubble laughing and talking and of course sipping the wine and eventually the view, and made friends with a giant pit bull terrier named Ed who was happily visiting there with his own human family. And Ed was truly a gentle loving giant.

Since I had not had a drink in years you might understand why the giggles came on strong. I was also chilled since being housebound and not accustomed to real air. The girls noticed me shiver and proceeded to wrap up Grammy and the giggles got hilariously contagious.

After awhile we moved on down the hill to the Halcyon Days Cider place and sampled all their delicious hard cider varieties which only amplified the giggles. There was more of course…. more food, more games, more talking and laughter.

The gang was all here and now gone. There is an odd empty feeling of quiet.

So we decorated the Christmas tree.

And all the while we were wishing the family and all of you wonderful friends in cyberspace a Christmas laced with great food, grins and giggles.

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Photo by Element5 Digital on Pexels.com

My mind is wandering. The chaos of the holidays is especially confusing this year and of course I can blame it all on the pandemic.

Is the Covid-19 pandemic evolving or devolving? Is it now called endemic because the cases are going down? Or is it because the numbers of hospital stays are decreasing? Or is it the number of deaths? Or maybe things are not improving at all.

They say there is a new “variant” emerging that could be faster at spreading than ever and maybe more lethal. Or is it? Boosters might help or might not. Hunkering down again might help or might not. Should I wear a mask all the time or just in public or just among the unvaccinated? Should it be made of cloth or what?

Really I have more important things to think about. Almost my whole family are coming for Thanksgiving. Who will bring what or cook what and how will we all be seated? My mind is wandering.

It is not even Halloween yet but I already have plans for Thanksgiving. Planning is the secret.

  • I will make a big beautiful chocolate bundt cake the day before. That is in case there is a pumpkin shortage. They are predicting shortages you know and pumpkin is one (due to some sort of fungus on the crops… or is it a dearth of trucks for transport?). I do love pumpkin pie but chocolate will take the yearning away if need be. I have all the cake ingredients now so Ready-Get Set-Go!
  • I will also make my own favorite cranberry salad two days ahead to give it time to set and merge. There is a joke in the family about the grand who added 3 cups of sugar to the salad making it inedible. Not this time although she has graciously offered to make it again!
  • But just in case there is a problem or a shortage of cranberries we have two cans of the jellied version – the old fashioned kind we used to get when I was a child.
  • I will also make my own favorite veggies with carrots and turnips the day before.
  • We are stocked up with Stovetop Stuffing.
  • There is nothing like instant mashed potatoes nowadays but I will have a bag of real potatoes on hand just in case.
  • My friend reminded me of the merits in making a marinated salad so forget the green bean casserole.
  • That only leaves the turkey and gravy!

And there you have it. This is what happens when my mind wanders.

Now onto Christmas!

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pumpkin pie

Pumpkin Pie No Longer for Christmas?

It was Thanksgiving and of course there were lots of pumpkin pies available for the big feast’s dessert.

I love pumpkin pie and it doesn’t even have to be homemade.  Ready made and store bought can be just as good.

But Thanksgiving came and went and suddenly it was Christmas.

I planned to cook a ham dinner for Bill and me and friends.

And Bill asked, “What shall we have for dessert?””

“Pumpkin pie!”, was my immediate answer. I know I can make one from scratch, but just to save a little more time and effort, I felt lazy enough to add,

“We can just pick up a pumpkin pie

at the local grocery store.”

  • And there was the rub!
  • Alas!
  • There were no pumpkin pies available.

No such thing at our favorite grocery store or any other store a week before Christmas or even days before Christmas.

I cannot even blame it on small-town country living since we have three major grocery stores close by.  Maybe our small-town population is always hungry and bought up all the pumpkin pies.

At any rate, we wound up

having Key Lime Pie for dessert.

Not exactly Christmas Fare in my mind.

Perhaps we are trend setters?

The Key Lime Pie was good and went well with ham.

But here is my question:

Is this a new trend whereby pumpkin pie is now only acceptable at Thanksgiving?

And my second question is:

Why?

Christmas Ham

Christmas Ham Dinner Minus Pumpkin Pie

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Elsa on the Sidelines

Elsa on the Sidelines – Note: Lovage Herb still growing mid-November!

 

Today is chilly and wet here in rural Virginia.  When we go outside, our new dog, Elsa, confines herself to exploring under the eves of the house where it is still dry.

I too confine myself to the interior to keep warm with wooly socks and comfort foods.

I am contemplating the arrival of Thanksgiving.

However – the stores are already playing Christmas music!

And whole aisles are devoted to holiday trimmings and diabetic inducing holiday sweets.

Time seems evermore meaningless.

Commerce demands earlier and earlier displays.

Maybe it would be a good idea to have Christmas in August for Bill’s birthday.  Why not?

Tree and all.

My friends and I are becoming cynical about the charms of winter.

But then I discovered  a magical snow globe.

Snowglobe

  • It plays holiday music.
  • Turn it upside down and of course there is a gentle snow storm.
  • And flip a switch for barn illumination and little colored lights that twinkle in the trees.
  • I am transported in time to the sweet charms of Winter.

The little globe has done what no store display could do.

It has inspired me to look forward to a joyful winter season with much to be thankful for.

So no matter what holiday you celebrate, my wish for you is joy

and

warm socks.

 

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Chicha 002This is Chicha Bonita, a very cute old lady pup who loves people.

She was the Welcome Receptionist as we celebrated Thanksgiving with friends in Lexington, Virginia.

Bill and I met a whole passel of new and interesting people there.

And by the time the turkey got to the table, we loved it all – the people, the food and the party that was getting louder and louder.

We missed our family and friends who live “out west”.

We missed our grandgirls.

And it felt strange not to be hosting the great event.

But even though we were a little shy at first, I suddenly turned around to see Bill slouched on the couch watching football with the guys.  And next time I looked he was laughing and talking and making everybody else laugh too.

I was still feeling a little shy though,

at least until a SOS Thanksgiving trauma

when I managed to lock myself in the bathroom!

The door would not open, period!

Really?  How mortifying!  How long would I have to stay in there?

I pounded but no one heard.  They were all either in animated conversation or cheering.

Well, they would surely miss me at dinner

and notice the empty seat at the table wouldn’t they?

I was contemplating climbing out the window into the cold night.   Nah.  Too dark. Too cold.

I kept pounding and wrestling with the doorknob.

Finally there was a calm comforting voice on the other side of the door.  “Don’t worry,” said the voice, and “Does anyone have a credit card?”

Was he planning on buying his way in or what?

“There is a tiny little latch to the side of the doorknob,” said the voice.  “Lift it.”

With some concentrated effort I lifted the latch.  And the door magically opened to one of the family’s handsome sons.

“My hero!” I said.  “Thank you for setting me free.”

And though I was tempted to swoon, I started laughing out loud instead.

How unglamorous to be locked in a bathroom during Thanksgiving festivities!

But with that, I was suddenly relaxed, happy, and ready to party!

Not counting that red-faced predicament, it was a traditional Thanksgiving –  a delightful, everything-you-would-expect Thanksgiving to be and more.

It was a wonderful group of giving loving happy people full of laughter, stories and the joy of sharing.  And by the way, the food was fabulous too.

A  special thank you to our lovely friends for taking in two more “strays” (Bill and me) to join in that celebration and Thank you Chicha Bonita for presiding.

 

 

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Thanksgiving Dove 1

There was an early morning greeting 

from a soft, sweet turtle dove

resting on my deckside railing

 sending messages of peace and love.

Yes, the day seems cold and dreary

but take a look below.

A Dove and a Deer

Is that a deer quietly moving

through the night’s collected snow?

Happy Thanksgiving from me to you

and add a message from the dove.

Take time to look with a dove’s eye view

for a world of peace and love.

Thanksgiving Dove 2

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