Every year while I gear up for the
frantically prepare for the impending holidays, I always pull out old pictures. My mom is great about keeping photos and mementos. In fact she sort of has “issues” with scrapbooking. Don’t get me wrong she is uber gifted and I treasure that she makes these beautiful chronicles of our family told through photos, journal-ing and a crap ton of Glue Dots. I wish I could even remember to upload -or heck print (there is an idea)- my pictures. I beat myself up that I never find time for this. You see when my kids grow up and leave me in peace I want them to have these sorts of things to provoke memories of their own childhoods, should they survive them.
Ironically one of my favorite memories wasn’t captured on celluloid (yeah I’m THAT old) and immortalized in the pages of one of mom’s books. Though the pictures I do have bring all the memories flooding back. That favorite memory involves the the oldest of my younger brothers. He loved turkey with a passion that bordered on requiring treatment. Mom would roll out of bed at 0-dark-30 every Thanksgiving morning to pop the ceremonial ostrich -the woman could never seem to find a bird of normal proportions or weighing under 25 pounds- in the oven. By 7 a.m. the tantalizing aroma of sage, browning fowl and copious amounts of Lowery’s Seasoned Salt wafted through the house. This would wake my brother. He’d bound into the kitchen expecting a juicy leg and some taters for breakfast only to have his hopes dashed by donuts. Seriously, what child in their right mind would be disappointed with donuts? He had “issues” from a young age.
This would set in motion a series of events and a phrase, that would forever come to mean “Thanksgiving” in my mind.
Brother, eyes glistening with hope: “Mommy, is it Turkey yet?”
Mom: “Not yet honey.”
Brother, hope not yet dashed: “Mommy, is it Turkey yet?
Mom, an amused giggle: “Not yet honey.”
Brother, annoyed at mother’s tortoise paced cooking: “Moooommmmyyyy, is it Turkey YET?!”
Mom, in dire need of coffee and earmuffs: “NO! It’s not. Turkey takes a very long time to cook honey.”
This scene would play out -with increasing tension- every 15 minutes or so until my brother was in tears, mom was wearing her Blue Nun (wine) smile and we were all concerned that it would never, “Be” turkey. All was resolved though when mom finally adorned her gorgeous table -she has a flare for this too, which naturally I fall short of- with the glistening bird. We’d gather round the table, hold hands, Da would say a blessing that would end with, “And now Aaron it IS Turkey”.
Now, decades later, my brother all grown up and a decorated police officer, I still delight to no end in teasing him (even long distance) by asking … “Hey Aaron! Is it Turkey yet?”.
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you, may your day be filled with old memories and the making of new and may your turkey “BE”.