Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Great Expectations

Many years ago, when Robert and Joseph were very young, we had our first and only Thanksgiving as a nuclear family.

Robert got chicken pox about a month before Thanksgiving. My brother and sister had never had chicken pox, and since they were adults, it would have been fairly dangerous for them to be infected. We waited for Joseph to show symptoms, but by Thanksgiving, he didn't have a bump. Still, we decided to forgo Thanksgiving with the family, just in case.

Bob and I took on the challenge with all of the enthusiasm and good sense one expects from a young couple. Lots of enthusiasm, little sense.

We planned our menu for four. We had to have turkey, and Bob prefers dark meat, so we couldn't have just the breast. We had to have ham. My brother gave us some of his extra special stuffing, and my sister donated her delicious sweet potato casserole. Bob made green bean casserole, I made creamed onions. These are all essential, of course. It wouldn't be Thanksgiving without them.

I had to have mashed potatoes --- the kind with sour cream, butter, cream cheese, and white cheddar. Bob needed white rice. I think we agreed to forgo the wild rice, but I'm not sure. And of course, we had pumpkin and pecan pies. And ice cream.

And of course, we had the relish tray. Sweet and dill pickles, black and green olives, pickled okra and cranberry sauce.

We set the table with wedding china and crystal that we hadn't seen since Robert was born. I made a centerpiece of pine cones and autumn leaves, with the help of 5 year old Robert and 2 year old Joseph.

While we waited for the meal to come together --- no mean feat to get all of that ready at the same time; I set out the relish tray. Bob and I fought with the turkey, and eventually, we were ready to set out the feast.

That's when we noticed the relish tray was empty. Robert and Joseph had eaten every pickle, every olive... OK, they left the okra.

Bob and I ate a little of our feast. Robert and Joseph had managed to save room for ice cream. We had lots and lots of left overs. And a great story to tell every single Thanksgiving since then. Forever and ever, amen.

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