Thursday, November 17, 2011


Thanksgiving is approaching and it brings back memories of Thanksgivings
when we were kids.

If we were hosting the family that year, Dad would be up early in the
morning cooking the bird. I don't know how many companies do it
today but back then many employers gave their workers a frozen
turkey for Thanksgiving so when that happened my parents would
decide if it was big enough for the whole family and guests. If not,
it would stay in the freezer and they'd buy a bigger turkey. The smaller
one would be used for a Sunday dinner for the family a few weeks later.

When the rest of us got up my sister and I would watch the Thanksgving
Day parades on TV while Mom and Dad started on the rest of the food.
The most critical part of the preparations was the stuffing which had to
turn out moist at the meal. I don't know exactly how this was done
nearly every year except that for most of my childhood my folks used
Bell Stuffing in the bird. (When we were older, there was often "backup"
Stove Top Stuffing for when the "made in the bird" stuffing ran out).
But no matter whether we were hosting Thanksgiving or if  it was at our
Uncle Ed and Aunt Mimi's house, there were certain traditions. One was
the kids' table, usually in the kitchen or at the doorway between the dining
room and the living room. In the early years, four of us were seated there:
myself, my sister Cheryl, and our cousins Winnie and Richie.For us, the
most important part of the meal was who was going to get the drumsticks.
After all, there were only two drumsticks and there were four of us! Our
parents at first solved the problem by using a rotating system that was based
on age: Winnie and I were the older and would get the drumsticks at that
Thanksgiving, and Cheryl and Richie would get them at Christmas, since
the families served turkey for the holiday dinner then, This worked for a few
years until my Aunt and Uncle had two more boys, Little Eddie and Vincent,
but by that time somebody had figured out they could buy extra drumsticks
at the supermarket and chaos was averted.

Eventually, one by one, we all outgrew the kids' table and the need to be
the one who ate the drumstick. I found out that I liked the slices of dark
meat better and that cranberry sauce was my favorite part of the main
meal. I also learned that if we were eating at my Aunt and Uncle's house
I should leave room for the second course of all the Italian food, especially
the lasagna. If the meal were at our house, there was a later leftover
sandwich with turkey and stuffing and maybe a little more cranberry sauce
on it.

One not so pleasant Thanksgiving memory was the turkey I forgot. I was
working somewhere at the time, (I forget now if it were for Child World or
Big L Drus Discount Stores) and I got a frozen holiday turkey from the
company which I loaded into the back of my car before I drove home.

I forgot it was in the car...

For two days....

Luckily, it wasn't a very warm November.

But it did look sort of green when I finally remembered it was there and
took it inside.


Heather Wilkinson Rojo said...

I loved the kids table! I remember at some relatives houses the kids table was in the kitchen while the adults sat in the dining room. We always had shenanigans when we were out of sight! I had 29 first cousins (no ALL of them would be at the same meal at the same time) so there was always one or two my age to buddy up with. I also remember eating in shifts at one house, with several turkeys... what memories you have brought up, Bill!

Karen Packard Rhodes said...

We never did the kids' table thing, but then there were only three of us, our mother, and our aunt and grandmother. The drumstick was and is my favorite, and my grandson is taking after me in that regard. These days, we have my younger daughter Elizabeth's homemade whole-berry cranberry sauce, which beats the store-bought stuff by a country mile!

Jasia said...

So you're a drumstick fan, eh? There aren't any of those at our house. We'd just make a turkey breast except that we love stuffing - the made-in-bird kind. So we make a whole bird and debate what to do with the drumsticks and dark meat leftovers until they get too old sitting in the fridge and then we throw them out, lol! Great memories, Bill! Thanks for participating in the COG. :-)

Kristin said...

I had a similar experience with forgetting a turkey once. so sad. We didn't have a children's table and the legs got sliced right along with the rest of the turkey. You could chose light meat or dark meat but nobody got the whole drumstick. I'm trying to picture a little kid eating a whole turkey leg!

Joan said...

Bill, thanks for the memories. We too had a kids table, and how I longed for the day that I could sit at the adult's table --- then when I did, I found that the kid's table was ever so much more fun.