Thursday, November 25, 2010



Clearly, the sentimental gene was overlooked when God made me.

As I've mentioned on more than one occasion, 1) I'm not mushy-gushy sentimental and 2) our family lacks any sort of real holiday tradition. Therefore, writing heart felt crap about how wonderful family holidays are doesn't come easy for me. 

So, I'm not going to even try.  Although, you should know that even though I'm not an eloquent emoter, I do actually love my family and friends.  I'm just not so good about reiterating those feelings in the form of spoken (or written) words.  However, if I put up with your junk on a regular basis and have not gone ape monkey crazy on you, that's a sign of true devotion.    Words?   Who needs words? 

Anyway, like I said, I'm not going to try and emote, instead,  I thought I'd share with you some of my fonder Thanksgiving memories.  Because I'm sure you really care.

The first Thanksgiving meal I truly remember was when I was somewhere between the ages of 6 and 8.  How's that for specifics?  We ate at my grandma's house; the kids (and my Uncle Wayne) sat outside on the patio while the rest of the family sat inside at my grandma's dining room table.  I remember eating mashed potatoes so quickly, not even giving them a chance to make it all the way down my esophagus, going back inside the house for more, and throwing them up on my grandma's carpet. 

When I was in middle school, my family started eating out on Thanksgiving.  We'd go to a movie, which was the ONLY movie my dad would see all year, and then go to a restaurant for dinner.  The first year we saw Home Alone and ate at Sizzler.  Classy, I know.  Actually, the food was really good.  The second year we saw Ernest Saves Christmas and went to Sizzler, only to find out that it was closed.  There's nothing more depressing than arriving at a restaurant, ready to eat some turkey and sweet potatoes only to find chairs on the tables and the lights turned off.  So we went to a hotel restaurant instead.  I think that eating out tradition only last two or three years, but it was a fun one.

My details of the remaining childhood Thanksgivings are a bit fuzzy, but I do remember one year in high school, my mom forgot the mashed potatoes.  That was tragic.  Well, not really, because she makes instant potatoes, which is much more tragic than actually forgetting to include them on the Thanksgiving table.

The first Thanksgiving Craig and I spent together as a married couple, in 1996, was spent in Florida.  He was in Missouri waiting on his security clearance so that he could ship off to Korea (he never actually went to Korea, but that's a whole different story) and flew home for the holiday. I don't remember anything about that Thanksgiving;  not where we ate nor who we spent time with. 

A couple of my favorite Thanksgiving meals happened when we lived in Hawaii.  My pal Mandy, who has an incredible gift of hospitality, invited lots of people over to eat at her house. It was a great way to spend the holidays when so many of us were really far away from home. 

In 2001, we went to Craig's co workers house and I was introduced to that cranberry sauce with pineapple and walnuts that I talked about yesterday.  Oh, and derby pie.  Have you ever had derby pie?  If not, you should.  It's epic.  The hostess sent us home with about half of a remaining derby pie and I remember parking my pregnant self on the couch with a fork and eating the pie straight from the pie plate.  Craig helped, too.  If you can  believe it, I only gained 20 pounds my entire pregnancy and I'm pretty sure most of the weight came from that derby pie.

In 2002, and I had recently discovered my love for cooking; I made the best turkey ever.  EVER.  It was brilliant and has yet to be duplicated.  I'm not sure what I did to make it so fabulous, but it was awesome and will forever  be the benchmark to rate all further turkey roasting attempts.  Suddenly, I'm feeling pretty nervous about today's turkey.  I hope it's on the caliber of 2002's successful roastage.

In 2004, Craig was away at school in Arizona, so Caroline and I visited my parents in Florida.  We were told we'd be going out to eat (yay!), but two days before Thanksgiving my dad called me and said "I need you to do me a favor; will you cook Thanksgiving dinner?"  I said yes, but only if he bought me one of those timers with the meat thermometer probe.  He agreed.  Oh, and my mom did all the dishes.  That was awesome.

I'm drawing a blank now.  Oh wait.  In 2005 I made that great crunchy topped sweet potato casserole and then came down with an awful cold the next day.  I remember the front of my neck hurt really badly. That was the first and only time that ever happened; I was actually pretty sick.

In 2007 my parents and sister came to our house in Augusta, GA for Thanksgiving.  The day before Thanksgiving, my refrigerator died and I flipped out.  We had two meals to make; one for Craig's co workers who did not have the day off and the other for the Smith-Kennedy clan.  I had no time for broken appliances and rancid food.  Thankfully, George the maintenance guy, to whom I offered a big sloppy kiss and my first born, brought me a new refrigerator within an hour of my frantic work order call.

In 2008, our first Thanksgiving in Virginia I had an epic turkey meltdown and then got strep throat the next day.

Last year, we went to Raleigh, NC to see Craig's sister and her family.  I don't remember a whole lot about the meal (I'm sure it was tasty), but I do know that Caroline had a GREAT time playing with her cousins.  Oh, and the weekend highlight for me was driving to Greensboro the next day to see my pal, Sissy.   :)

Okay, that was one long walk down memory lane.  I may not be sentimental, but I sure am verbose. I've spent way too much time blathering when I should be making pumpkin pie and apple crisp.  I guess it's time to get cooking.

Oh, and if you're interested, here's what I wrote last year on Thanksgiving.  I think it's safe to say that I'm still thankful for all of those things again this year.  But I'm hoping my predictions for a legendary turkey meltdown this year are proven false.

I'll be sure to let you know.

Happy Thanksgiving!!


Hilary said...

I loved reading about your different thanksgivings. We usually cook or end up with relatives and a few years we skipped it all together and ate takeout. I remember seeing Home Alone the first Thanksgiving it came out too. Happy Thanksgiving to you, Craig, and Caroline!

Alison said...

Thanks Hilary!

Movies on Thanksgiving is a great idea. Craig took Caroline and her friend to see Tangled a little while ago.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and Mr. R.

Sissy said...

I'm sorry I'm just getting around to read this post...Thanksgiving here has been a blur. I'm sick-ish, had to work some hours at Michaels and am now finally sitting down staring at the christmas tree we drove to three lots to pick out and I'm exhausted. Get to sleep in tomorrow, though! Yay.

Oh, and I think I typed all of that to say that you were the highlight of my thanksgiving when you visited too!