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Whittling Away: Thanksgiving


By Dick Brooks

For Capital Region Independent Media

Headshot of a man named Dick Brooks.

Thanksgiving is high on the list of my favorite holidays. It comes in just after Christmas and way above Groundhog Day. 

What could be better than a day dedicated to family and food? Our house has become the base of operations for holiday activities. I have been elected the chief cook, I don’t know how, I must have missed the primaries and the vote.

Actually, I volunteered. I love to cook for a group and cooking for a group I love makes it even better.

Plans are underway for the gathering of the clan so the house and the table will be full. 

There are dozens of things that I’m thankful for but one of them is that in this festive season, I’m thankful that the One Who Plans these things made me a human and not a turkey. This is a tough time of the year to be a large, feathered critter. 

The domestic turkey has the IQ of a kumquat and the personality of a dyspeptic gorilla but tastes great; isn’t it wonderful how we are all given gifts to make up for things we lack?

I will have to make my annual hunting trip to the market to select the perfect bird. The perfect bird is determined by finding the largest one that will fit into my roasting pan. It wouldn’t matter if there were only going to be The Queen and me for dinner, I’d still get the largest bird possible. The dinner is pleasant and the food tasty, but one must plan ahead. The real joy for me is found in the leftovers.

There is nothing better for gourmet midnight snacking than Thanksgiving leftovers. It takes a day or two for the stomach to return to normal after the feast day. This is a good thing since the leftovers get a chance to rest and develop their flavors. 

This is one time it’s good to be a senior citizen who is awakened frequently during the night and lies awake trying to solve the many problems facing mankind, or simply has to go to the bathroom. As long as I’m up, I figure I should go check the fridge to be sure it’s running properly and that the little light functions well when the door is opened. After all, the fridge is the heart of the house — it holds the food we need to survive, its broad surfaces hold the appointment calendar, announcements of upcoming important events, family pictures, crude but loved works of art, and magnets with witty sayings to cheer up anyone passing by who may need a smile.

Midnight snacking is a different art form. It’s not like formal dining, it’s a more creative way of nourishment. 

I remember fondly constructing one of the world’s great sandwiches last year from the pallet of Thanksgiving leftovers. I started with two slices of the twigs and bark bread we purchase because it’s healthy. Wonder Bread would be my bread of choice, unfortunately it has nothing in it that appears to be healthy enough to warrant purchasing it. 

I piled on some of the dark meat, there’s always a lot of dark meat leftovers, I love dark meat! I added some cold stuffing and some of the sweet potatoes that were in the little dish with the flowers on it. It looked a little dry so I buttered on some of the sort of clotted gravy. I tried a bite. Delicious!

A glass of milk and I sat at the table to enjoy. The cat joined me. We had a nice discussion about the Thanksgiving dinner we had had. I shared a little piece of the dark meat with her and then told her about the memories of Thanksgivings past, memories of the kids’ table and long gone aunts and uncles. She purred, I reminisced and shared more of the memories stored in my mind’s refrigerator. 

Leftovers are great!

Thought for the week — Thanksgiving is a time that no matter who walks into the room, you can’t hold your stomach in.

Until next week, may you and yours be happy and well.

Reach columnist Dick Brooks at Whittle12124@yahoo.com.    

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