Thanksgiving with Randy

The first Thanksgiving my family couldn’t feast with relatives, I slaved all day long in the kitchen while my husband and children avoided me – until it was time to feast and be thankful. They spent a whole 20 minutes eating, burped their thanks, excused themselves and left the clearing up to me. That was the last holiday I did everything.
Our next holiday I initiated a new family tradition: Everyone prepares at least one holiday dish. My youngest son insisted he could prepare the bird. His brothers made their favorite pies. Our only daughter grabbed a bowl and mixed up banana bread. I washed measuring cups, dirty pots and pans, supervised and advised.
This year my step-son’s wife opened her Indiana home for the holiday feasting during our proposed visit. She said she would prepare the meal.
“I’ll bring the Thanksgiving paper dishes,” I volunteered. “I bought a stack planning to use them for our next Thanksgiving here, but since we won’t be here, I’ll bring them.”
Before we left Wednesday, I stirred a bunch of super-ripe bananas into banana bread. I left the bread baking while I dashed into town to pick up the ingredients for cranberry salad. My daughter put the cranberries through the food processor, mixed them with pineapple, sugar and marshmallows and packed the sealed dish in an ice chest.
Our college senior drove us through the night, drinking coffee, munching veggies and consuming banana bread.
Thursday morning the Arkansas Hershbergers swooped down on the Indiana Hershbergers just as my daughter-in-love was preparing the turkey. My husband was worried. He did not see h ow a bird that big could be roasted in time. I dragged him off to the grocery store to buy bread, celery and onions for the stuffing and fruit to finish the cranberry salad.
We came back and dumped the groceries on the counter. The kitchen was warmed by the heat roasting the turkey in a plastic bag in the oven. Everyone was busy.
I couldn’t stay to help. I had to meet our house hostess for the weekend and pick up another son. We left our high school senior behind to talk with her nieces as she chopped fruits and vegetables for the salad and stuffing.
On our return a couple hours later, the room was filled with a long table covered with thanksgiving table cloth. Silverware neatly wrapped in holiday napkins laid precisely at the side of each cheerful, autumn colored plate.
The whole room was as warm and welcoming as the perfectly browned turkey coming out of the oven, its indicator button announcing it was done.
Within minutes we sat down to a great holiday feast. All of it prepared without any input from me, not even my banana bread.
I was so overwhelmed I plum forgot to slice and serve what was left of the stuff — it made a tasty late night snack.