Thanksgiving Dinner With Mom And Dad

Thanksgiving Dinner With Mom And Dad

Thanksgiving Dinner With Mom And Dad

by Chuck RitenouR

The alarm rang at 7am. I had stayed up late the previous night watching college basketball on ESPN. I took a cool shower to wake up. It was going to be a very long day and though I really didn't feel like it I had to get moving. I left the apartment at about 8 o'clock and headed to KMart to pick up a few things . I needed some plastic storage containers. I knew there was going to be a lot of left-overs. My next stop was Martin's Supermarket for the things I forgot to buy earlier in the week. Celery hearts, a small container of gourmet tomatoes and a 12 pack of Samuel Adams were in the cart as I headed to the check out. By 9am, I was walking up the sidewalk to my parents' home groceries in hand. I left the beer in the car. On this Thanksgiving day in the Shenandoah Valley, the sky was overcast and it looked like it might rain. The wind was whipping leaves around the street.

I walked into the house and it felt like I had just walked into a sauna. Mom and Dad are at the age where they never seem to get warm. Mom was sitting in her big blue lazyboy watching the Macy's parade on the television. Mom said,"your dad has the kitchen ready for you and the turkey is supposed to be thawed. You better check it. Now I roast my turkey on 350 degree tweny minutes per pound. It should be done around 2 o'clock if you can get it into the oven by ten."

I asked where Dad was hiding. She said, "he's down in the basement probably sneaking his first beer.He can't fool me. He's always down there screwing around with something and drinking beer." I put the groceries on the dining room table and went into the kitchen. The kitchen is very smalI, in fact its smaller than most walkin closets. I went downstairs into the basement to get a couple cans of butter beans. Dad was busy screwing around with the laundry. He had the washer and dryer going and no beer in sight.

Mom and Dad ate breakfast before I got there. Dad had done the breakfast dishes. As promised, the 12 plus pound turkey was thawed and in the sink. I dug around in the lower kitchen cabinets and eventually found the large roasting pan which is used twice a year, Thanksgiving and Christmas. I set the oven on 400 degrees, but backed it down to 375 splitting the difference.

After cutting the plastic from the turkey, I removed the neck and the gibblets. I rinsed the cavities out and patted it dry with a paper towel.. Mom yelled from the living room,"don't forget to rinse the turkey out and put some salt in the cavity before putting in the stuffing." I then set the turkey in the pan and put it out on the dining room table to get it out of the way. Mom looked at me, looked at the turkey and jumping to her second conclusion of the morning said, "Ok, damn it. If you don't want my help, just say so. You don't have to be a smart ass about it. Take the damned turkey back into the kitchen and cook it any damned way you want." I just laughed and went back into the kitchen.

This year, I wanted to make several stuffings: oyster, sausage and apple. I made the apple stuffing first because I was going to use it in the bird. If the rest of the house was a sauna, the small kitchen felt like the surface of the sun. I am not a gourmet cook nor am I a chef. I enjoy cooking for the most part and have been cooking for my parents for about 9 months now. I used two boxes of easy stuffing and added one large apple cut into small pieces, two stalks of celery and a small bag of walnuts to the mix. In about 15 minutes it was cooling so I could put it in the turkey. While it cooled I washed the pan and utensils I had just used. I started the water for the oyster stuffing and put a quart of oysters and a stick of butter in the pan. Once the water was boiling, I removed the oysters. I cut up 8 ounces of mushrooms, two stalks of celery, and opened a can of water chestnuts. After cutting the water chestnuts into slivers, I put the mushrooms, celery and water chestnuts into the boiling water and put it on simmer. While that simmered, I brought the turkey back into the kitchen and filled the front and back cavities with apple stuffing. I sprayed the entire turkey with butter flavored "Pam". I put the apple peels in about a half inch of water in the bottom of the roasting pan, covered the bird with foil and placed it on the lower rack of the oven. It was 11 o'clock.

I opened two more boxes of stuffing mix and put it in the water with the mushrooms, celery, and water chestnuts. I then took the stuffing and put a one inch layer in a glass casserole pan. I then placed the oysters on top of it so that every bite would have an oyster in it. I then used the rest of the stuffing to cover them. I set the stuffing aside. It would not go into the oven until the turkey was done and cooling so it could be carved.

Now, I was ready to make the sausage stuffing. I browned about 3/4 of a pound of fresh locally made sausage. As it browned I used the spatula to crumble it. Once it was done, I set it aside. I washed the pan and utensils again and started another pan of water. I made another two boxes of stuffing mix and added fresh mushrooms, celery and slivers of water chestnuts. After it was done, I added half the sausage and put it all in an aluminum pan and set it aside. I opened a large can of sweet potatoes and put it in a pan placing it on the stove. I opened two cans of butter beans and put them in a casserole pan. I put the rest of the sausage over them and set them aside.

By now it was noon and time for Mom's lunch. She rolled herself out to the table in her wheelchair. While she was checking her glucose level, she said, "if you're not doing anything, get my insulin out of the refrigerator and go into my bedroom and bring me a pack of syringes." By now, sweat was dripping down my face, my back was aching and I needed one of those Sam Adams that were in my car. Dad came upstairs. I said, "if you can get her lunch together, I'll go check my emails downstairs." Before he could answer, I was walking down the basement steps. I went out the basement door and got the twelve pack from my car. There is a refrigerator beside my pc. I placed the beer in the frig and fired up my pc. There were still a few Yuenglings in the refrigerator, so I opened one and took a long satisfying drink. I took two prescription pain tablets and chugged the rest of the beer and sat back in my office chair. The basement was cool and it felt like another beer. Dad came downstairs and said, "I think I'll have one with you." He opened the refrigerator and said,"Oh my God, Samuel Adams! I'm very thankful for Sam Adams."

After answering Yahoo emails and checking my Facebook, Myspace and HubPages sites, I headed back up to the kitchen which had by now became a sweat shop. I checked the turkey and then cut up some broccoli and put it on the stove. I then put the gibblets in a small pan and put it on the stove on simmer. Then, I washed everything that I had used, checked the turkey again and went into the living room where football was blasting on the television. I got a hand towel from the closet and used it as a sweat towel. The Detroit Lions were leading the Patriots. I sat on the couch and closed my eyes.

I regained consciousness at about 2:30 and went back to the kitchen. The turkey was done. I took it out of the oven, took the turkey out of the pan. I put the turkey on the big carving platter and put it on the diningroom table. I put the butter beans and the pans of stuffing into the oven. I turned the burners on the stove for the sweet potatoes and broccoli. I took the gibblets off the stove. I opened two jars of Heinz turkey gravy and poured them into the pan of gibblets. I added two table spoons of corn starch in a quarter cup of cold water, stirred and then added it to the gibblet gravy. I put the gravy back on the stove.

I began setting the table and said, "It will be on the table in about 20 minutes." Mom said, "good, I've been smelling that turkey for awhile and I'm ready to eat." At 3:30, we sat down to eat. Mom said,"Everett, I want a half a glass of ice tea and a straw." Dad said, "Goddamnit, I forgot to make any." Mom replied, "well, I'll be damned." Before this escaleted into a complete full blown hissy fit, I said,"I've got some diet green tea downstairs, I'll go get it." Another disaster avoided.

Mom said,"I want a little bit of each of the stuffings, some sweet potatoes, butter beans, broccoli and I'll have a drumstick." As I was filling her plate, she said, "dribble gravy on the potatoes and stuffings." I handed the plate back to her and carved some of the breast for Dad.

I asked Mom how she liked the stuffing. "I really like the oyster stuffing and the apple. I don't care much for the sausage though." In five minutes her plate was clean with the exception of the drumstick. "I'll have a little more sweet potatoes, broccoli, butter beans and stuffing. And I need some more ice tea, Everett." she said handing her plate in my direction, but looking at Dad. I hadn't put a thing on my plate yet and Dad was only about half finished his first serving. I said, "I guess you'd don't want any more of the sausage stuffing." She said, "Now why on Earth would you think that? I want some more of it all! And don't forget the gravy!!" Dad chuckled under his breath. "Go to hell, Everett!" Mom said through a mouthful of broccoli.

When the meal was over, I put the leftovers in the containers I had bought earlier that morning. Dad cleared the dirty dishes. "You cooked, I'll do the dishes", he said. " Where in the hell are we going to put all this stuff?" I said, "The Sam Adams should be good and cold by now, want one?" He said, "I'll have one when the dishes are all done and everything is put away." I started carrying the leftovers down to the basement and brought two Sams upstairs. By now, the Saints were kicking the hell out of the Cowboys on television. Mom had gone into her cave for a poco siesta.

About 5 o'clock, my girlfriend came by the house with a "no sugar added" pumpkin pie. I made her a small plate of stuffings for her to sample and a piece of turkey. She had some of her family over for a Thanksgiving luncheon. Even though I was stuffed, I had a piece of pumpkin pie with a huge mound of sugar free Cool Whip on top.

We sat at the table eating and she told me about her day. I smiled and said,"Mom was thankful I didn't put any mushrooms in the stuffings. I guess her vision is getting so bad she couldn't see them" I laughed and said,"Dad was thankful for Samuel Adams. And I've finally found something to be thankful for." "What?", she inquired.

I smiled and said," I'm extremely thankful that this damned day is over."

I hope everyone was able to find at least one reason to be thankful and had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

The end

Mom & Dad sitting

seated: Alene & Everett, standing left to right: my brother, Jeff, Me and my sister Jennifer
seated: Alene & Everett, standing left to right: my brother, Jeff, Me and my sister Jennifer | Source

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