To Know Me Is To Know My Family: Family Thanksgivings (28)

Today is Thanksgiving and I will be writing once again out of sequence. I’m feeling very nostalgic so I’m not sure where this blog will go, be patient with me please. I hope it will remind you of happy times and for the many things we can be thankful for on this day and through out the years.

It seems we didn’t have a traditional Thanksgiving on the farm, therefore we will fast forward to when we moved back to California and lived in our home in Hawthorne. This home was bought in December of 1952 on the GI bill. I will write about it at the appropriate time in sequence in my blog later.

In this house is where I remember our family’s Thanksgivings throughout the years. Unfortunately, in all of my years at home we never took pictures of this Holiday. That makes me sad and I regret that. So today as I celebrate Thanksgiving with my youngest daughter Angie and her husband, Jon, I made sure to document it as we celebrate their first Thanksgiving in their new home.

The day before Turkey Day Mom would make homemade pumpkin pies. I remember a few times helping with the pie crusts. She always made it look so easy. It was so much fun getting your hands in the dough. We also would make tarts sometimes if there was left over pie crust. They were always delicious and something to top off the feast.

Mom would get up very early in the morning and start preparing the Turkey. I remember waking up to the delicious smells of the holiday. There was always a lot of commotion going on in the kitchen. The kitchen was my Mom’s domain, so kids did not participate usually.  Dad would wash the Turkey for Mom. He would call me in and show me the heart and how it worked by putting it under running water. I always found the human body interesting. So, watching how he made it pump was really cool to me.

Dad would be allowed in her kitchen once again during the preparation of the “dressing” (another name for stuffing) which became his job. I’m not sure who created the recipe for their home made dressing? It may have been Mom’s or Dad’s as he was the cook/Mess Sargent in the Army during WW2 and then again, they may have created it together.  The dressing was made after the Turkey came out of the oven. Dad would add the celery and onions that baked alongside the Turkey as well as including the meat off of the neck and other parts. Fresh ingredients would be added as well.  On the end of the pull-out cutting board he would attach the oh so modern and very helpful grinder, which was turned by hand. Many Thanksgiving I would be lucky enough to add some of the ingredients or turn the handle and watch all the food go down the opening. I always was fascinated when he would add fresh celery stocks including leaves and all. Oh, how I loved that job. When everything that was include successfully ground it would be put into a frying pan and cooked until the ingredients were sauteed. It would then be added to either bread that mom had kept to harden or sometimes, we would use the good old standby Mrs. Wright’s Dressing Turkey Seasoning which was later changed to Mrs. Cubbison’s classic dressing seasoned cubes. Then the Turkey drippings was added. Mom would place it in the oven to cook. We knew when it came to that stage, dinner was coming soon.

Watching my Dad open up the Oceanspray Cranberry sauce in the beginning years was always a challenge. After opening it with a manual can opener, a table knife was placed inside the can to coaxed it out onto a plate. But as years went by Dad made the discovery that if you used the can opener to put a few little turns on the opposite side of the can it would create air to flow through it, which would make it slide right out perfectly.

Mom would always make mashed potatoes, peas and a fresh green salad to accompany the Turkey dinner. Next it would be time to watch Dad crave the Turkey. In later years Dad was so happy with the invention of the electric knife to make the slices. I found it a very interesting to watch how it would slide through the meat with no effort at all.

When everything was ready to place on the table my siblings and myself would be called in to be sitted, where we would watch all the fixin’s being placed before us. My parents had once again created a very tasty feast. We would always bow our heads in prayer as my Dad would lead us in a prayer of Thanksgiving. I was blessed with the best parents and such wonderful siblings. I’m thankful for beautiful memories they made for us.

Our Family recipe for dressing

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