Notes from Home: Turkey and Pie

Notes from Home: Turkey and Pie November 18, 2017


[These cats wish you would give them some turkey.]

Would you believe it, I’ve caught Marigold’s cold. And you didn’t even know she had one because I didn’t bother to tell you. It’s not like I divulge every single detail of life to you in all its goriness and misery, cough. Poor thing, though, she’s been on the couch for a week, trying to breathe and refusing everything but regular meals and big pots of hot chocolate. Couldn’t face any math and reading, of course, but was able to console herself with Netflix and candy. It’s been a real horror show, I can tell you.

And now she’s given it to me. Except that I’m much older and not so resilient and so I’m pretty sure I must be perishing. That’s what I thought at some point during the night when my fluffy dog, inexplicably feeling uncomfortable and lonely at my feet, decided to climb on and spend the rest of the night on my capacious and comforting stomach. Giving birth to six children has made it a wonder to behold. I lay there and asked the Lord to take me home, which he didn’t. So here I am.

Anyway, what I’m trying to say is, I can’t think. There’s supposed to be a work day at church and a birthday party and me doing the laundry and other acts of domestic brilliance, all of which I can probably do. But what I can’t do is write anything interesting. My mind has been replaced with a foul gooey substance that is pressing itself into my sinuses and trying to kill me. What would I do? Read a book and write something about it? That’s not happening.

Instead, here is my mother again, only this time writing about Thanksgiving. Yesterday she did a practice chocolate pie and wasn’t perfectly happy with it, so I guess she will do it again, and then probably again. That’s the sort of person you need in your life–someone who is never perfectly satisfied with the way the chocolate pie turns out, and so launches right back in to do it over again. But in this post she’s talking about turkey and Christmas pudding. Here’s a nice fat excerpt, but then go read the whole thing.

   It all started when one of the American students at the seminary reminded me that his favorite holiday was coming up, and what was I going to do about it? Well, I started counting Americans, and came up with six students and six faculty. A nice round dozen. But everybody around here knows at least one other American who is flapping like a lone rag in the wind, and needs to find warmth and shelter on the most American holiday of them all. So twelve sitting down to dinner turned into twenty-two by the time the tables were set, and I was having fits of anxiety over the question of pounds and ounces. Was the turkey big enough, and would sixteen cups of stuffing satisfy the starving multitude? On top of that, the Kenya Electric Company chose November 22nd, of all days, to cut the electricity to our section of town from 9:30 a.m. until 11.30 p.m. Luckily, my stove runs on a bottle of butane gas, so there would be fuel and fire.
As dusk came quickly down (and it does come quickly on the Equator), I made a mental switch to village life and rushed to get some logs blazing in the fireplace and light all the candles in the house. So we had a candle-lit dinner for twenty-two. It was lovely. The long tables filled up with all the right kinds of Thanksgiving food, as one guest after another appeared bearing provender. Firelight and candlelight. Laughter and sparkling eyes. We had a wonderful time! But one never quite knows how well things will turn out when groping about with matches in the dark.
That was Thursday. On the following Tuesday, another feast was scheduled – this time hosted by the acting vice chancellor, and for which cause, three more turkeys and a larger quantity of stuffing and gravy was on the menu. So for much of the day, Karin** and I tore bread into little pieces, and stuffed turkeys, and anxiously calculated the size of bird to oven, only to discover on placing two birds cautiously into one oven that the weight was too much for the rack. Both turkeys crashed to the floor of the oven, and we had to scamper over to a neighbor’s house with one of the birds. Then my butane gas bottle ran out, which set one turkey seriously behind the others. It was a long day, shuttling turkeys around and praying over oven temperatures…

Read the whole thing here.

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