To my children on the eve of Thanksgiving 2017,
Tis Thanksgiving eve and I’m hoping those turkeys will finally be thawed tomorrow. You see, I forgot to take out all 32 lbs of bird from the freezer, until I remembered which was yesterday at exactly at 3 pm. Praise God for double sinks and google, as these turkeys have been occupying the left hand side of the sink in cold water for hours. For fear of giving you all botulism, salmonella, or transpacific swine turkey flu from mexico, I put them back in the fridge last night and restarted the cold sink bath process bright and early this morning.
For the record, I did not call your grandmother.
Absolutely no need to stress the matriarch of this family who so generously and with great confidence gave this turkey bird preparation to me…
With the help of all of your tiny hands, today we made 2 pumpkin pies, 1 cheesecake, 10 lbs of mashed potatoes, 1 carrot soufflé, and enough homemade dinner rolls to feed the state of Pennsylvania.
We all ate cold cereal for dinner.
Today we listened to the Little Woman soundtrack on repeat for 12 hours, and I never felt so grateful for this life within these walls of the big old farmhouse. Tomorrow will be busy with 11 cousins running from the kitchen to the attic, using both staircases as you all play hide and seek within closets and rooms, all hyped up on sugar and the thrill of being together after so many months apart. Aunt Audora, your grandmother, and I, will all be drinking gin and tonics starting at 12 noon on the dot, with just a little bit more gin than tonic. This will be our vain attempt to maybe numb the noise or just decrease the decibels ever so slightly.
I hope when you all are older, you will all come back to the farmhouse with whoever you love, and I hope these walls are so loud with the screaming of laughter. I hope there are babies sleeping in cribs and adults drinking cold beers and little fingers poking holes in pumpkin pies just to get a taste of the orange spiced sugar. I hope we have to set up those heavy card tables because there are way more than 10 people coming to enjoy the biggest meal of the year. I hope chairs are bumping into chairs and elbows are hitting elbows. I hope we all have to squeeze in just a little bit tighter. I hope people are coming and going, knowing that these farmhouse doors are open forever.
I hope everyone remembers to bring their dollar bills for “LCR (left, center, right), because after a few glasses of wine, this is quite possibly the greatest game ever played with a crowd of kids and adults alike. I hope no one ever does what an unnamed relative once did (unnamed to protect their dumb and rookie move) by saying (after they won): “aw, I feel bad, everyone can have their money back!” That is just crazy, there is no room for humility in a serious game of “LCR.” You either win or you lose, and if you win, you keep the money…FOREVVVVER (just like how they say in the SandLot)
In a very nostalgic way, I hope the attic never does get re-finished. I hope there is a certain magic of my grandbabies discovering those old wood stairs for the first time into the third floor all a glow with twinkle lights. I hope the castles and dress up clothes remain in there always, and I hope you are not the only children who will wear them in the secret escapes of the world that is the third floor.
I hope there is always something just a little bit not so perfect about our Thanksgiving meal, because there is nothing like a little wonkiness to etch a memory forever. I can almost hear you all saying it now:
“remember the year Aunt Audora came to the farmhouse before moving across the world to Guam, and she insisted that everything was decorated for Christmas, and so you did, but you also put that big ceramic turkey on the buffet right next to the ginormous orange pumpkin. And it all looked just a little bit weird, but we also all died of laughter.”
I hope when you are 30, you all walk through the back kitchen door of the farmhouse, and you hear the Little Woman Soundtrack playing in your mind. I hope the smell of the honey from the dinner rolls I will have cooking hits you deep in the center of your heart, in that tiny place where certain memories are sleeping and only awakened by the most specific sound or smell. Because even though they may be sleeping, some memories last forever.
And then I hope that you, Adelina, recall walking downstairs into the kitchen after I had put you to bed on thanksgiving eve in 2017, and I hope you think back on how your 7 year old self did proclaim:
“Mom, I cannot fall asleep with that smell of warm bread! It is making its way into my nose all the way under my covers into my bed!”
I hope you remember how I kissed you on the forehead and laughed while I said:
“sweet Addy, thank you for peeling those 10 lbs of potatoes, I have waited my entire life for a potato peeler of your caliber. Get some sleep because we have a big day tomorrow which will be overflowing with love and laughter, so much noise but even more pumpkin pie, whipped cream, and all the dinner rolls you can imagine.”