Thanksgiving with Fat Stanley

Posted by:
Susan Rooke
November 28, 2019

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!

10 comments on “Thanksgiving with Fat Stanley”

  1. Susan, you can't go wrong with Horace Silver "in the background." And it sounds like your Thanksgiving celebration is well in hand. All the best, John

    1. John, it’s so good to hear from you! We’ve had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Glen and I hope you too have enjoyed a great one. He wants me to tell you that he hopes your holidays are terrific through the end of the year, and we both wish you a best start to 2020!

    1. Thank you, Susan, we had a great day. I hope your Thanksgiving was enjoyable and that you didn’t work too hard!

  2. Fat Stanley manages to look both regal and scrapyard chic - not everybody can pull that look off. Without a doubt he is no ordinary metal turkey. What an awesome addition to your yard. I think his name is perfect too.
    Your meal sounds marvelous, and my favorite part of what you write is the scene you describe, full with blessings- your people, and music, companionship, thoughtfulness, laughter... a full, peaceful, easy day. May all holidays be like this!

    1. Hahahaha! I love your take on Fat Stanley! Isn't he a fine bird? Glen also laughs every time he sees him.

      It truly was a day filled with blessings, Claire, and this year I think all three of us felt those blessings even more keenly. I hope your Thanksgiving was warm and wonderful, and that the powers that be hear and heed your benediction!

      <3 <3

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