My parent’s home in Omaha is empty. Gone are the furnishings, clothing, photos and other reminders of home. The memories, though, are still there.
There will be no Thanksgiving or Christmas in grandma and grandpa’s kitchen. There will be no squabbles over picking at the carcass of a big turkey while my dad carved it. There will be be no frosted Christmas cookies that rated a 12 on the scale of one-to-10. The holiday spirit will be tempered this year by feelings of sadness held over from this past summer. But the somber tone will be offset by the hope that better days lie ahead.
This year my mom makes the short jaunt across town – all the jaunts are short in Grand Island – to spend both holidays with my brother and his wife, Gayle. Some of the grandkids will pile into town, too – a certain diversion for what ails the family. I’m hopeful to drive out West for Christmas. I just want to get in the car and go. However, the next few weeks of letters will beat me to her doorstep.
November 19, 2010
Mom: This time next week I’ll be in Minnesota with Ellen and Reid for Thanksgiving. Ellen sent me a message last night to bring my long underwear and plenty of other warm clothing. The low temperature in St. Paul last night was supposed to be a frosty 21 degrees. That’s a whole lot colder than it is right now in Charlotte and it feels cold enough here. Folks up in Minnesota say they like the cold weather but I’m not convinced of that. That’s why everyone ends up moving to the South.
Ellen says I should prepare to do most, but not all, of the cooking. Reid has raised his hand to help out (he’s actually pretty good in the kitchen) and for the first time in a long time I think we will be drinking beer as the turkey roasts. I told her about your advice to me a long time ago: buy the cheapest turkey you can. We will be sure to remove the neck and gizzards before cooking (I’ve forgotten to do that more than once over the years). I’m not sure we can cook the bird to the same quality that you used to do year after year but we will give it our best shot. We’ll let it roast for a few hours with tin foil on, then remove the foil with about two hours to go to let it brown. Reid thinks he’s the king of making gravy so we will see how that turns out. He and I cooked a turkey a couple of years ago in Hilton Head and he did a pretty good job then on both the turkey and the gravy. I will buy all the groceries once I get to Minneapolis. I head out on Tuesday morning. Betsy and Bob will give me a ride to the airport.
Ralph says you’re going to be over at their house for Thanksgiving. That sounds like a lot of fun. Aren’t your great grandchildren supposed to be there, too? I wish I could be there with you guys, but it just won’t happen this year. I will try to make it out for Christmas. Looks like I may drive out rather than fly. It’s a smooth two day drive and not as many miles as I thought it would be. You’d better be good or you’ll find coal in your stocking. Gee, where have I heard that before?
Been putting in a lot of hours at work. Usually leave about 7:30 or 8:00 in the evening but the work is enjoyable and I like it. What I don’t like is that it gets dark so early these days. I go to work in the dark and come home in the dark. But that’s just the way the cookie crumbles.
I’ve talked to your brother a couple of times in the last two weeks. He sounds great and he’s always asking what I’ve heard about you. Come to think of it, I need to send him the photos of you guys swigging beer at some joint there in Grand Island. Good for you guys to have a cold one now and then. That looked like a lot of fun. I’ll crack open a beer tonight in honor of you and your new buddies.
Well, I’m off to get some work done. Need to show I’ve earned my spot on the payroll. Have a great Thanksgiving and say hello to everyone!