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This post is part of my 2022 Word Project. You can read what that’s about here.

Thursday, November 23, 2023

PHEW! It’s a good thing someone else cooked Thanksgiving dinner today. Imagine if I had to do that, too. As it was I spent three days this week running around like a headless turkey. Then I got up this morning feeling like I had all the time in the world right up until I didn’t.

Our friends were scheduled to arrive around 2. All I had to do was make the dinner rolls, whip the cream for dessert, and Bob’s your uncle.

Unfortunately, I never had an Uncle Bob.

I thought I had the rolls timed to perfection. Mix the dough, rise, shape the rolls, rise some more and bake. I timed them to be out of the oven when our friends we supposed to show up with a medium rare rib roast with just enough time to rest it before carving.

I texted them six times to make sure of this.

Even so, by the time the dough was rising in the pan, I calculated they would not be out of the oven until 3. THREE! A full hour past rib roast!

What happened to my perfect plan?

Only the kitchen gnomes know.

I turned the thermostat up and tried to shave some time off the rise.

Ralph said, It’s warm in here. Ralph asked, Can we open the windows and get some air?

No! We could not! Not until the rolls were risen and safely ensconced in a 350 degree oven.

Sweaters came off. Shorts went on. The rolls rose. I texted my friends three more times.

Turns out they never had an Uncle Bob, either. The rib roast was not cooking as quickly as expected so they were going to be a half hour late.

You will be happy to know that the rolls and the roast were done at the exact same time. This is not a thing that typically happens so I thought it was worth documenting, to prove that occasionally things go right.

Perhaps this luck came my way because my mother’s holiday was the opposite, and the more things went wrong with hers, the more seemed to go right with mine. There really is a balance to the universe.

My pumpkin pie baked to perfection. Her oven decided to stop working halfway into roasting the turkey.

I threw together a spectacular corn chowder in about five minutes and on a whim. She got a black eye when my father dropped a box out of the attic onto her face.

My friends did the majority of the cooking and all the cleaning. My mother’s oven almost caught fire and electrocuted my father and brother along with it.

My friends and Ralph and I sprawled out on the couch in a food coma and talked about movies, books, the world, and our past Thanksgivings. My mother ran downstairs to air out the kitchen when the smoke detector went off.

Our mashed sweet potatoes were perfection. Her pepperoni got moldy.

It’s a good thing she has a sense of humor.

One thing we had in common though, is that we all ate all the things. And whether the oven catches fire or the pie is perfect, that’s what you do.

Then you breathe a sigh of relief and bask in the lull that is the five minutes before the Back Friday sales start and you get ready to do it all over again for Christmas.

Oh, holidays! How we love thee and renounce thee simultaneously!

In the end I would call this a successful holiday. The house got cleaned, the cocktails got made, the rolls got baked. I even set the table like a grown up. It was not on par with my mother’s table, but I did get myself a seven dollar table runner and a couple of matching placemats from Amazon. My pinecones and gourds made a lovely centerpiece. I forgot to blow up extra balloons and forgot to take out my Thanksgiving cocktail napkins but it looked rather festive anyway.

Nobody went home hungry and we’re all here to tell the tale.

It’s hard to be anything but thankful for that.

Photo: my pumpkin pie out of the oven, looking like a mutant mushroom. Fortunately it subsided into a normal pie and was a big hit. It was my Aunt Germaine’s Super Secret Family Recipe, after all. How could it be anything but?