December 1-4, 2009: A Visit to San Antonio
November 21-23, 2009: A Weekend in San Diego
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November 26, 2009
Thanksgiving


 

I wasn't sure if I'd be able to do Thanksgiving this year, since we just arrived back from our month-long absence two days earlier. But I decided to go ahead and host once again, inviting Mario and Steve and Greg and Lou. Fred was there also, of course, and Lucky made his appearance as well (actually, he never disappeared). I hadn't thought to say anything to anyone, but my birthday had been on Monday, the day we flew back from San Diego, and so Fred let everyone know and, as it turned out, I got some cards and small birthday gifts while the turkey was cooking.

Steve and Fred were today's photographers, as I was busy with the meal and with birthday stuff. Thanksgiving activities are all familiar to everyone, so not much narrative other than what you have just read is really needed. Let me just go through all the pictures that Steve and Fred took, and show you the most interesting of them.

 

Birthday


First, here are some of the pictures that were taken while we were sitting around talking and doing birthday stuff.

First, let's look at Steve's; just click on the thumbnails below to view:

And now for some of Fred's pictures; click on the thumbnails to view:

 

Thanksgiving Dinner


I have been cooking a Thanksgiving dinner now for more than thirty-five years. I started doing it when I went into the Army after college and had my own apartment. I think that I've missed only three or four years in all that time- once when I was overseas in Korea, once when I went home to Charlotte for Thanksgiving and once when I was in Canada on business during the holiday.

Sometimes, it's been just for myself, but the vast majority of times I've included other friends from wherever I happened to be. I think the biggest number was eight, here in Dallas some years ago. Of course, today it is six, which is about the average number, I guess.

The menu's been basically the same: the largest turkey I could find, Mom's recipe for bread stuffing, mashed or sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, gravy, cranberry sauce, salad, rolls and dessert. Some years, like this one, my guests have contributed. Lou, Greg and Mario have all brought dishes to contribute to today's dinner. But other times I do it all and just like having my guests relax and enjoy themselves.

My sister and I have something of a contest to see who can cook the biggest turkey; I'm usually the winner- perhaps because there are bigger turkeys in Texas. Today's turkey is just over 24 pounds (and I had to sweet-talk the meat manager at Kroger to search through a new shipment to find me the biggest one). My concession to modernity is the pop-up timer, and you can see that this turkey is done.


When we were done with the birthday stuff, I went to the kitchen to get things going, and that always seems to be a signal for guests to follow. You can see Steve, Lou and Greg talking with me while I'm preparing to take the turkey out if you click here. While the other guys are getting their own dishes ready, I've gotten the turkey out of the oven and am ready to transfer it to its platter so that I can use the juices to make gravy. The transfer is always an event; I am always worried that the turkey will fall apart, since I tend to cook them a long time to get them as tender as possible. If the turkey is a small one, I can use a couple of large carving forks, but for one this large there is no alternative to getting a couple of potholders dirty and greasy as I use them to pick up the turkey with both hands and transfer it. Now I have transferred it, successfully, dressing still inside.

The table was all set for the salad course, so I left the gravy to come to a boil and we sat down. Before we dug in to the salad, Steve took a group picture, and you can have a look at it here.

Everything turned out extremely well this year, and I think everyone enjoyed the meal. I know I did! Although I don't have any pictures of the desserts, Fred had made two pies (pies are his specialty) and after we ate and had relaxed a while, we had some of each of those. We were done eating about five in the afternoon, and most everyone stayed for a good while after that. During and after dinner, Fred took some additional pictures, and if you will click on the thumbnail images below you can have a look at them:

It was a very successful day, and I enjoyed having many of our close friends with us. When everyone had gone, Fred kept me company while I put things away and got the dishes done. It was then that I found out that Fred had not been feeling well during the afternoon; this was the first mention he made of it to me, although thinking back on it he did seem more subdued than usual. He told me his blood pressure had been spiking, and since that was all he told me I (and we) assumed that to be the cause. He felt better later on, he said, so I didn't think much more of it. Had he told me all the symptoms he'd been having, it would have been an entirely different story, but as it was, I had incomplete information, and so did not take as good care of him as I would have.

It would take another week or so before the wisdom of being more forthcoming with information would make itself apparent.

You can use the links below to continue to the album page for different day.


December 1-4, 2009: A Visit to San Antonio
November 21-23, 2009: A Weekend in San Diego
Return to Index for 2009