Tuesday, November 17, 2009

These are a Few of My Favorite Things

With Apologies to Julie Andrews....
       Double Ovens. There is something wrong with the picture of a husband and wife getting up at 4:00 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day to wrestle a greased and herb encrusted fresh turkey into a Reynolds Turkey Bag and then wrestling the bag filled with said turkey into a large roasting pan...a process that must be repeated 3.5 hours later with a second fresh turkey...both of which must be cooked and carved before twelve noon when the hordes descend. So you can understand why for past two years I have said Thank You Lord for the double ovens that replaced my 1970's single oven. They certainly have made life easier for me! Do I hear an Amen...
     Turkey Rice Soup. This is a family recipe belonging to a dear friend that has become the traditional meal of choice in our home for the Friday (late breakfast, lunch, and dinner) after Thanksgiving. We have devised our own variation of this delicious soup which is basically the reason that I have to cook the second turkey on Thanksgiving Day. If I were to describe the laborious process involved and the caloric level of the ingredients, you would have a heart attack. Literally. But my children love this soup (they call it turkey rice porridge) so much that they have been known to hide containers of the soup where they think no one else will find them.
    Lou Lou and Nanny's Dressing. I grew up eating Lou Lou's dressing and was scared to death when I moved to my husband's hometown and attended his family Thanksgiving that I would have to eat some type of prepackaged dry stove top cornbread stuffing (I hope I am not stepping on any toes here). Being a polite Southern bride, I had steeled myself to smile nicely and take a minimum of three bites.  I need not have feared. My husband's mother and my grandmother must have had some sort of primal connection because thankfully, their dressing recipes were remarkably similar. I knew that I was at home when I entered the house and caught the whiff of that moist homemade baked celery,onion, white bread, cornbread, and biscuit mixture that both of our families adore.
     The conversation, the laughter, the pitter-patter of little feet and the profound sense of gratitude that infuses my soul. When the Thanksgiving meal is over, I am more than exhausted. Yet though my body is tired, my heart is always more than full. As a middle-aged woman who has buried people whom I love deeply, I understand of the fragility of life and the fact that it is the Lord himself who gives us life and breath and everything else. I look around the table at the faces of my family and extended family and I find myself echoing the words of the old hymn, "Count your many blessings, count them one by one..." When I go to bed that night, I whisper the name of each loved one and ask the Lord to hold them tightly in the the palm of His precious hand. And I am thankful for another year with each one.
     My husband's prayers. The man is notorious for preaching the gospel in his prayers. A six to ten minute supplication is the norm rather than the exception. But these prayers come from the heart of a one who has been profoundly changed by the mercy and love of his Savior and knows it. The turkey might get cold and the gravy congealed, but my husband will not be hurried. No matter how much I tease him, I dearly love his prayers. The funny thing is that he almost always forgets to bless the food; so I always chime in with this part. But he covers the most important things, no doubt about it. And for that I am more than thankful.
    These are what Thanksgiving is all about: Good food, family, love, and laughter and the understanding that we owe it all to the faithfulness of our God. To Him be the Glory, great things He hath done.

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