It’s Thanksgiving — the holiday that really seems to be all about food. Like most of us, you probably have fond memories of your family gathering around the table on Thanksgiving and feasting on roasted turkey and all the trimmings that go with it. I certainly do.
As a kid, my extended family always gathered at our house for Thanksgiving. My aunts and uncles with all of their children, as well as other relatives made for a crowded and memorable Thanksgiving. The kids’ table was as big as the adults’ table. And then there was that Thanksgiving when one got moved up to the table with the adults. It was sort of a rite of passage.
Over the years I’ve been fortunate enough to have family around to share a Thanksgiving meal with. Even more fortunate, when there was no family around, to be invited to have dinner with friends. And then there was the Thanksgiving when there was too much of a good thing.
It was back in the late 1970’s. My parents and my brother were out of town, traveling in their motor home. I hadn’t really given much thought to Thanksgiving dinner. I did purchase a Swanson’s Turkey TV Dinner just in case I got hungry for turkey. I joked about the TV dinner, telling my friends that McDonald’s would be closed on Thanksgiving and I might get hungry.
Taking pity on my situation, one of my good friends, Maureen Smith, invited me to share Thanksgiving dinner with her family. They would be eating around 1 p.m. I gratefully accepted the invitation. Then it got interesting. Another friend, Mike Bolton, invited me to have Thanksgiving dinner with him and his mother. They were going to eat around 6 p.m.
Then things got complicated. I showed up at the Smith residence at the appointed hour. Dinner wasn’t quite ready. We finally sat down to eat about 4 p.m. It was a delicious meal, quite filling. I still remember the spinach soufflé stuffing into hollowed out halves of oranges. But they didn’t have any mashed potatoes and gravy. Eventually I was able to excuse myself, thanked my hosts profusely, and hurried off to the Bolton residence across town.
Arriving a little late, I was again presented with a delicious meal. Although not very hungry, I never the less partook of the meal with my friend and his mother. And once again, they didn’t have any mashed potatoes and gravy. Feeling totally stuffed, I excused myself, and began the drive home. Remembering an invitation to drop in, I headed over to the home of my good friend Dr. Lon Olsen and his family.
Lon, his wife Betty, and their daughters had their Thanksgiving dinner hours earlier. As we sat in their dinning room chatting, I mentioned my two Thanksgiving dinners — and the disappointing lack of mashed potatoes and gravy. “Gravy” must have been the magic word.
“Oh you have to try Ma Cubs’s gravy” chimed the four Olsen daughters. Betty promptly served up a big plate full of mashed potatoes and her mother’s famous gravy — along with a helping of turkey and stuffing. Somehow I managed to make it home that Thanksgiving night, and fit through the front door of my house. I must have gained 20 lbs.
After that experience, I couldn’t even look at a turkey dinner for at least a year. The funny thing is that I never did get to eat that Turkey TV Dinner in my freezer.
You have a very Happy Thanksgiving no matter how many meals you eat, and may they all include mashed potatoes and gravy.