It’s been a little while since I’ve posted, not for lack of trying. Life’s been going on and it’s been much of the usual. But we did get to go to a little Thanksgiving gathering last week.
Even when my mom was in the later stages of her illness, we didn’t really do much for Thanksgiving in recent years because Thanksgiving falls on a Thursday, and since my dad’s been at his current employer, Thursday has usually been his first day off after his work week. Since he works night shift, he usually uses that time to rest up and get some sleep. Sometimes our neighbor would bring by some of the food he cooked, just out of the goodness of his heart (even though we didn’t actually need the food, but he’s a nice and generous dude who cooks good food, so we always accept his cooking with a smile).
Besides, I already had a lot of memories of my mom and my grandmother doing Thanksgiving cooking when I was younger.
This year, we did Thanksgiving dinner over at my brother’s house, which is just on the other end of town from where my dad and I live. There were only nine of us there: my brother, my sister-in-law, and their three kids (although the youngest isn’t quite ready for solid food yet), my sister-in-law’s aunt and her husband, and me and my dad.
My brother cooked both the turkey and a ham in his smoker. For those of you unfamiliar with southern barbecue, is a big old iron chamber that’s usually filled with wood chips that are set ablaze and produce heat and smoke at a relatively low and steady temperature. The wood used is usually either hickory or mesquite, and the meat is placed on a rack inside the smoker, which is then left to cook in the smoker for several hours. The turkey took about 7 hours or so to cook in the smoker before it was ready to serve. (He began cooking it around 7 that morning, and my dad and I arrived right around 2 pm.)
Some of the other food also served:
- Mashed potatoes with chives (I don’t eat it with chives all that often, but it does add some good flavor to it)
- Macaroni and cheese
- Green bean casserole (I also love serving this stuff with meatloaf on occasion)
- Yellow squash casserole
- Stuffing (I think they had the stove top stuff, but I also enjoy making it as a casserole with onions, celery, butter, and broth; I don’t cook it in the bird because that’s a breeding ground for bacteria and food poisoning)
- Sweet potatoes topped with caramel and walnuts that their neighbor brought over
- Pumpkin and caramel apple pies (both store bought, but still good)
I also got to hang out with my nieces and get to know my nephew a little better. R is almost 5 1/2 (she’ll officially hit that mark on the 6th), Bambina is 2 1/2 and will be turning 3 in March, and Nipote hit the 4-month mark the day before Thanksgiving. Here’s how they’re doing:
- R is doing well. She’s in kindergarten now (I don’t know if she’s in regular school or doing home learning, as school was starting just a few weeks after Nipote was born and my SIL was worried about her possibly bringing COVID home with a newborn in the house). She’s pretty well-behaved and will also talk your ear off whenever she gets the chance.
- Bambina is definitely being a toddler and SIL is calling her the “wild child”. Bambina actually looks a lot like I did at her age, except when I was her age I was a bit blonder and my hair wasn’t quite as curly as hers. (My hair is wavy now, but it didn’t really start getting that texture until I hit puberty. It was pretty straight when I was a kid.) The girls have a Magna-Doodle type toy that they like to draw on, and while Bambina isn’t quite old enough to write yet, she is starting to make scribbles on the drawing surface. She scribbles with both hands, but when my dad drew a horse on there, she decided to turn it into a unicorn and drew the horn (and then proceeded to draw a whole bunch more) with her left hand. If she does end up being left-handed, I think she’d be the first in our family.
- Nipote, as I mentioned, just hit the 4-month mark. It’s been a little bit rough for him lately, as he’s been dealing with a bunch of skin irritation that looks like it could be infantile eczema. Eczema does run in our family, and in fact I myself have been dealing with it since I was a small child. Luckily, the type of chronic eczema that I have does lessen in frequency and severity as one gets older, although I do still deal with the occasional flare up. At the moment my brother and sister-in-law have been going by trial and error as to what products they can use to lessen the irritation, but I did recommend that they consult a dermatologist if he’s still dealing with it. Talking about it with them brought back memories for my dad about trying to get my eczema under control as a baby, and it did involve having to use some strong ointments and creams. (These days I’m usually able to get my flare ups under control with hydrocortisone cream.) I hope they’re able to get him to a pediatric dermatologist to see what may work for him. Seeing all that redness on his skin made me think of how uncomfortable he must be feeling.
We stayed there for about 6 hours, just talking or watching the girls play. It felt good to get out of the house for a few hours.
Now, for the next order of business: trying to figure out what to get the kiddos for Christmas! Until next time, everybody! And for now, I’ll leave you with a pic of a half-eaten slice of pumpkin pie.