I cannot look at a perfectly roasted, ready-to-devour turkey without flashing back to when I was barely 19 years old and silly me invited ‘the whole family’ to my apartment for Thanksgiving dinner. To this day, I have no idea what I was thinking! And this was well before my “a little wine for me, a little wine for the gravy” days. Go figure!
I was living with my three year old son in an apartment the size of a doll house. Our kitchen table filled the kitchen and was one of those bulky metal antique types with drawers underneath (wish I still had it) and three unmatched chairs, including a high chair… with eight guests, soon to arrive. Must have asked everyone to bring their own chairs.
As a single parent, I worked midnight shift and went to college part-time. There hadn’t been much opportunity to use the oven. So, I bought a Betty Crocker cookbook (I still own) and a large turkey. Early Thanksgiving morning, I rubbed butter on the bird and stuck it in the preheated oven. Then, I kicked back to eat bon-bons on the sofa (no idea what a bon-bon truly is).
Actually, I began cleaning like a fiend. In between washing floors and scrubbing toilets, while entertaining a three year old, I periodically opened the oven door and checked on the turkey, having no idea what I was looking for. Still there?
When all of the guests arrived (ohhhh, what was I thinking??), it quickly became apparent how freakishly small the apartment was. Everyone rolled with it though and almost got along. Better yet, my son completely enjoyed the close attention, so I boiled some potatoes and heated up a couple cans of corn.
As I prepared to hack up the turkey with an electric carving knife I borrowed from a friend, my mother squeezed through the throng, looked down at the platter and shook her head. Suddenly, it seemed everyone but me was shaking their head … wtf? Turned out, the oven door was sprung, so it did not hold the heat. The turkey was almost as raw as when I put it in, seven hours earlier. Who knew?
All I wanted to do was drown myself in the gravy I hadn’t made, but instead burst into tears and ran out the door. My first holiday dinner, ruined! I would have driven anyplace else, but forgot to grab my keys, so I locked myself in my car and sobbed. Eventually, my mother came out and knocked on the window. I cracked it just enough to hear her say, “Foods on!” Top chef that she was, she’d sliced and fried the turkey on top of the stove, mashed the potatoes and put lots of salt and butter in the corn. All in all, it turned out to be quite a Thanksgiving feast. And we were all very thankful that no one got sick…
Thank you, God…for everything!