On caregivers, faith, family, and writing…

Published in the Rains County Leader on November 24, 2020:

Like everything else this year, Thanksgiving is going to be a bit different. We usually go to the home of relatives for the holiday, but as the messages began coming in that various families were staying home alone this year, I began to plan my menu. David said I didn’t have to cook anything special, but I knew we would both be disappointed with hamburgers.

It’s hard to make a special meal for two without an overwhelming amount

of leftovers, so I suggested we invite Connie and Charles from across the street to share our bounty. Then I talked with Aunt Fay, and after she told me that she was going to buy a bag of dressing mix and a rotisserie chicken for her meal, I suggested she join us. She’s a busy lady and wasn’t sure if she could make it – but if she does, our Thanksgiving dinner for two will have grown to five.

The menu grew along with the guests. Even the smallest turkey seemed too big for two – or five – so I decided to bake a hen. Connie had one in her freezer that she offered to donate to the cause, but when I looked at the 5-6 pound bird, it looked a bit small. And no Southern cook worth her spatula wants anyone to leave her table hungry. So I added a small ham.

Cornbread dressing came next because that’s my favorite, and you can’t have dressing without gravy. Then there’s the sweet potato casserole with the pecan topping that could be a dessert if you put it in a crust, cranberry sauce, and rolls. I planned to top it off with a pecan pie and call it done.

But in the interest of something at least a little bit healthy, I added a fruit salad. And because David thinks every meal, especially special ones, should include beans or peas, I added speckled butter beans. Then Connie sent over a can of black olives with the hen – and I have a relish tray I just love – so I picked up some baby dills, some sweet gherkins, and a jar of pickled okra. The tray has seven sections, and even if I put the cranberry sauce in the middle, that’s only five items. But I have some eggs I need to use, so I’ll fill the last two sections with deviled eggs.

I thought I was finished at that point, but I thought about the math of five

Pretend the one on the right is apple!

people and one pie – not enough leftovers, so I added an apple pie. My dressing recipe won’t require an entire pan of cornbread, so I’ll probably have some of that to add to the buffet – and maybe some mashed potatoes for those who don’t care for sweet potatoes. You’ll notice an absence of the obligatory green bean casserole since that’s not one of David’s favorites, but who know what will happen between now and Thursday.

After-dinner entertainment will be different since we are currently without Internet – and since we switched to streaming, that’s our only source of TV. David has ordered a SIM card for a two-week trial with a new carrier, but unless it arrives before the big day, there will be no football. We may have to actually talk to one another about something other than whether the referees are blind or not.

So my little Thanksgiving has grown a bit. Instead of fixing one or two dishes to take to someone else’s house, I will spend most of two days in the kitchen. It will be an act of love and gratitude as I think about all the blessings this year has brought – even though it has been the strangest year on record!



Kitty’s Story

Fallen Angel Salvage

Tatia’s Tattoo

Mom’s Long Goodbye

A Long and Winding Road

Comments on: "How Thanksgiving Grows | by Linda Brendle" (4)

  1. JoLynn Robinson said:

    We’re keeping Thanksgiving day to the two of us, but with a 10 lb turkey, dressing, gravy, mashed potatoes, baked asparagus, cranberry sauce (the jellied kind from the can, ’cause that’s what I like), rolls, and pecan pie (a big 10-incher, because that’s what my recipe makes)! I think we’ll be chowing down on some good leftovers for quite a while, and my freezer will have less free space in the end! Yes, it’s a different year, but I want all of us to be around for many future holidays, so this year we’ll be grateful to have each other! Happy Thanksgiving, Brendles!

    • We finally got our Internet back, so I’m playing catch up! I know you enjoyed your Thanksgiving. You two work well together in the kitchen and produce some phenomenal meals! Ours turned out well, but I was very tired. David’s help is support in nature like vacuuming the carpets and keeping the trash emptied. Aunt Fay didn’t feel like coming so it was us and the neighbors. After lunch we all sat on the porch enjoying the nice weather until the sun went behind the trees and it began to cool off. Then I sent them home with lots of leftovers. It was a good day, but we missed family. Maybe next year!

  2. Gloria Moore said:

    I did my cornbread and bread crumbs two weeks ago. This included the chopping and sauteeing of the onion and celery. No giblets are required or wanted! I plan on cooking the turkey and dressing tomorrow so on Thursday morning two of my sisters and I will start Christmas baking. Becky is bring the potatoes and green bean casserole made with cream of onion soup. So much better than that other stuff. Nancy is bringing a Black Walnut cake that she is making with the walnuts she picked up, dried, cracked, and picked out the meat herself. She had the black hands to prove it. Oh, and I made the cranberry sauce today. Then I sat there and ate a bowl of it. Happy Thanksgiving!!

    • We finally have our Internet back so I can respond to some comments and emails. Your meal sounds wonderful, especially the part about others bringing things! Our meal was good, but I was very tired – haven’t moved from the couch much today! I’m thankful for leftovers! Happy day after. Looking forward to seeing y’all again!

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