Thanksgiving was a quiet, homey day, with two slow, gentle days of getting-ready, of getting out the cloths and the goblets and which-bowl-for-what, knowing full well that the snap beans would go into Mother’s silver-rimmed little Harmony House bowl, as always, and the chocolate chess pie into Mammaw’s old chipped Homer Laughlin pieplate, brought out just for the honor, once a year, like an old faithful servant still asked to fumble a dish or two onto the table, because of their splendid service of the past.
Somehow, when I took out the two tablecloths, a sorta pinkish tan, with deep shades of fruit and flowers, bought at a yard sale several years ago for two dollars apiece, I just automatically reached for the heavy old pink goblets. After all, they would GO, and I DO have five of them, and there WERE five adults. Besides, the dozen bigger, older Mammaw goblets we usually use were snugged WAY in the back of the shelf, with a little sherbet dish nestled into each, to make space.
And so, Our Pink Thanksgiving table came to be---even a last-minute prink by our Sweetpea, who gently re-arranged the silverware and made sure the tea things were ALREADY set and waiting---well, those matched just dandy, too.
The plates were heavy burgundy crockery, handed round hot into our napkins after we sang the Blessing, and we had most of the old favorites from Mammaw’s and Mother’s tables.
The fresh-snapped beans, “canned” the day before by my first Mother-in-Law’s recipe of vinegar and sugar brine, then drained and cooked down low with onion and bacon:
The cornbread dressing, rich with Caro’s homemade chicken stock, studded with tiny mince of onion and celery, with the Mammaw's Kitchen scents of sage and black pepper. Two kinds of gravy peeking over the top.
The sweet potatoes---not our usual custard with marshmallows, but the tiny “patties” usually only available this time of year in the “meat” aisle. They were layered into a buttered dish and a thick-reduced simple syrup of brown/white sugar and vanilla poured on before baking. They were still bubbling heartily when they were set down on the table, and were one of the favorite dishes of the day.
A simple plate of steamed broccoli and cauliflower, with a little dish of cheese sauce beside, and Sweetpea’s Mac and Cheese.
Of course, the devilled eggs, the two kinds of cranberry---one homemade, the other the standard Ocean Spray, with the little can-pleats still showing, and a dish of DDIL’s famous (and that is literal---people call and want that recipe every year, and Sis says it’s become “her” family tradition in Texas, as well) broccoli/cauliflower salad, with bacon and cheese.
And that gorgeous
---brined and then cooked in the just-so-regulated grill for hours that morning, to come out with the burnished mahogany sheen of a well-loved Camaro. Turkey
Shining and magnificent---the drumsticks just woggled around in the crisp skin, and came out warm and juicy:
Sweetpea finished early, of course, and named off people around the table---"You’re my family, and YOU’RE my Family, and YOU’RE my Family." Then she went around giving hugs all around, because “You’re my FAMILY!”
There was cheesecake with cherry sauce, and a Chocolate Chess pie, and we finger-ate all the big ole grapes out of the centerpiece. After most of the dessert things were cleared, Sweetpea started handing round all sorts of percussion instruments: A tomtom, a small drum, a tambourine, plus the two sets of drumsticks and odd items for striking: She gave Caro a drumstick and a small pastry-brush from the drawer, and my big ole melmac cup “drum” was presented with a wooden spoon, so I licked my pie-fork clean and we started up the Rhythm Band.
We sang and tapped and bammed, and perhaps it was because I was getting so tired and turkey-lethargic just sitting there at the table for so long, but I started the TAP TAP KNOCK! TAP TAP KNOCK! with all of us adults joining in and then coming in right on cue: "WEEEE WILLLL, WEEEE WILLLL ROCK YOU!!" to Sweetpea’s bewildered, then delighted face.
Oh, my. Don't know the words, and never much cared for a rappy style, but nothin' like some seventies Queen to set the tone for nice genteel people, after a lovely repast, rockin’ out and banging on the crockery.
After we wound down with THAT, she wanted the “Kitchen song” which I quickly realized was that twangy version of “You are my Sunshine” on the O Brother soundtrack---I sometimes play the CD on the Bose.
When we all got up from the table, it was like my dream of Holidays---like the scene in The Big Chill after the big dinner, when they’re all rockin’ to music and dancing in the kitchen as they clear away the dishes and put away the food.
I hope yours was wonderful, as well. I'm moving SLOW, but after this good family time, and yesterday's long hike, I think I'm back.