Next to Easter, I believe I like Thanksgiving best. As a young girl we would go down state in Michigan to visit all the grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins. I have lots and lots of cousins! Those days are not just good memories, they are grand! So many family members now passed away. I miss my grandmother Lily’s mashed potatoes. If my memory serves me well, they were lumpy (good lumpy, not bad or raw potato lumpy,) and just the right texture to sport that salty turkey gravy that filled the spoon dip or miniature mote. When the dam broke, that gravy saturated my whole plate including the raspberry fluff/jello. By then my belly was getting full of nutritious foods, and I was already facing down the homestretch of pumpkin pie. Lil’s pies were a might on the spicy side, speckled dark with cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon. (I think she had one too many Kessler and Squirts while preparing them!) I like them that way still, but my middle girl just complained the other day that my pies were too spicy for her tastes. I may cut back a tad on the flavorings in my pies this year… NOT!
If not for Jesus, I don’t know how I could face another holiday season. I miss my sister, Cheri. I miss my brother, Dave. Each died young and each left huge craters in our family’s hearts. We have survived with the knowledge that we will all be together again in Heaven, but sometimes the wait gets so long and I become anxious to hear their voices, their laughter. There is great comfort in the hope of Heaven.
This year it would seem that not everyone is on board for all that family togetherness that comes with the season. While walking through Walmart today with the youngest girl, she commented that it felt like nobody was into it this year. So I made a proclamation right there in the aisle between the clothes and the cleaning supplies, on our way to the self checkout, “Dinner for both Thanksgiving and Christmas will be at the ranch, and I am cooking!” Her reply? “Okay, mom.”
Sometimes just a little effort is all that’s needed to smooth over undone thoughts or emotions. I will be the one to get fired up and into the swing of the holidays and we will start with Thanksgiving and food, glorious food! I think we will return to the old tradition of writing in the family journal just exactly what it is that we are personally thankful for. It can be as simple as pumpkin pie or as controversial as being happy for the our new President Trump. You see, not everyone in our immediate family is a conservative. (We won’t hold that against them!) Anywho… I digress. It’s such a beautiful thing to go back and read what other family members have written, especially those who are gone on ahead.
And of course, early in the morning Construction Man will load up Chemist Child ( our third girl) her black lab Nell, and Hank the Cowdog and head out for the annual Thanksgiving pheasant hunt. I got me a hankering for a hearty, cast iron skillet roasted pheasant. So easy to do. Such a good thing to do. Such a natural thing to do– seeing as though I was raised on it.
Simply skin and clean your bird, (keeping the tail feathers for bragging rights) and soak it in the sink for awhile to soften the meat and remove any buckshot. Pat it dry and dredge it in flour, salt and pepper. Place the pieces of the bird in the cast iron skillet with a little oil and butter on medium heat to get a good sear. Then turn it down low, add water as it evaporates and let her simmer until fork tender (2- 2 1/2 hours.) Serve it up with some wild grain rice and oven roasted brussel sprouts. And don’t forget to make a pan sauce with those juices in your pan. Make a little slurry with a couple tablespoons of cornstarch and some warm tap water, turn juices up to boil and add slurry. Stir well until thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Welp… better check my bread dough. This sourdough starter is miraculous. Really? Just flour, water and air. Wyoming must have some amazing, wild yeast. I know it’s got some amazing, wild women!
Now, saddle up Missy! We got a trail to blaze. Love ya!
Yours truly on the left, my friends Ashley Smallwood and her mom Karen Johnston.
This was a few years back at a ‘Go Mama Go’ barrel racing event. I did not, nor do I run barrels, but Ashley and Karen do. They are pretty darn good at it too.