It’s the day before the feast and I’m trying to get a little ahead of the game. Nothing complicated or too stressful to cook tomorrow, so there isn’t much to do today, just the horseradish sauce that will accompany the standing rib roast. Dessert (a ridiculously easy and delicious chocolate sheet cake) is already made and, aside from the roast, the rest is just vegetables: sautéed mushrooms, roasted asparagus with parmesan and mashed potatoes. As I stand at the counter stirring the sour cream, horseradish and other ingredients together, I glance out the living room window across from the kitchen and start laughing. Because I see this:
Meet Fat Stanley. That’s what I’ve named the turkey that Glen’s sister Denise gave me on her arrival two days ago. In a huge and happy surprise, Denise impulsively decided to make the road trip from Colorado to Texas and spend Thanksgiving with us. And in the spirit of the season, she brought us a turkey. A metal one, thank heavens, so we don’t have to eat it. Because as I remarked in my November 24, 2016 post, “A Short List of Small Gratitudes,” I’m grateful that eating turkey at Thanksgiving is not mandated by law. (Ergo, the standing rib roast planned for tomorrow.) Denise knows me so well.
I named him Fat Stanley in a bow to the children’s book character Flat Stanley, from a series written by Jeff Brown. Stanley is a boy who gets squashed pancake-flat, but then goes on worldwide adventures because he can fit in a mailing envelope. When The Daughter was a little girl in grade school, one of her teachers had the class make Flat Stanley paper cutouts and mail them to far-flung relatives. It was the relatives’ task to keep Stanley for a time and take him along wherever they went. Then they’d mail him back home again with a description of the adventures he’d had. Katie was lucky to have grandparents who thought this was a fun idea rather than an annoying one. Fat Stanley seemed to me an appropriate name for a plump turkey who already has one adventuresome road trip behind him and now a small cattle ranch to explore.
The horseradish sauce is made and I’m done for the day in the kitchen. Glen and Denise are in there now, working together to cut up and vacuum-pack some venison for Denise to take back to Colorado. As I write this, I hear their low, companionable voices (okay, Glen’s gets a little loud sometimes) and in the background, Horace Silver playing jazzy piano on the stereo. In this instant I am acutely aware of how blessed I am. I hope all of you are well and happy, and that my American peeps are having a grand holiday with feasting aplenty. I feel so fortunate to be spending this time with people I love. And laughing every time I look out the windows.
He may be in the front yard now, but there’s no telling where he’ll pop up next. He just has that travelin’ man gleam in his eye.
Happy Thanksgiving, Everybody!