From Pipi’s Pasture: A childhood Thanksgiving
During the years that I was growing up on the Morapos ranch, there was often snow on the ground at Thanksgiving– sometimes a lot. However, I have chosen to remember those years when it was dry, more like this year. When I look through the dining room window, I can see the backyard and parts of Pipi’s Pasture, just beyond, and I’m remembering my childhood Thanksgivings.
The November sky is blue, with just a few clouds here and there. Patches of snow remain from the last snowstorms, but that’s only where it’s shady. Otherwise, the 50+ temperatures of the past couple of days have melted the inch or so of snow. The lawn is littered with fallen leaves which are being consumed by the ten or so deer in the yard. Outside the dining room window, the crab apple tree looks barren, indeed. All that remain on the branches are a few tiny crab apples that have frozen and then melted and now being gobbled up by birds.
The weather conditions right now are similar to those I remember from dry Thanksgivings of my growing-up years—only the specific landmarks are different. Looking outdoors helps me remember the days leading up to Thanksgiving when I was a kid.
We usually spent Thanksgiving with relatives. When I was younger, the day was spent at Grandpa and Grandma Osborn’s house up Deer Creek where I got to enjoy the day with my cousin, Beverly Counts, who lived at Hamilton. In later years, we sometimes hosted the dinner at our house. Either way, Mom spent the days before Thanksgiving cooking up a storm. Even if we didn’t host the dinner, Mom still cooked food for the event as everyone contributed to the meal. Besides that, Mom often baked a turkey for our house so we could enjoy leftovers the rest of the week.
So I remember that our house had that wonderful aroma of spices, a delightful surprise when we came home from school those few days before vacation. Mom baked up pumpkin, mincemeat, and apple pies and applesauce cake, iced with a white frosting. The pies covered the dining room table. I’m not sure where we put them when suppertime rolled around because we lived in a small house, and we ate our meals at the table.
Mom baked bread for the stuffing, and she cut it up and spread it out of cookie sheets. The bread was also left on the table so it would dry. Closer to Thanksgiving, Mom added celery and onion to the bread cubes and seasoned it with sage. What a wonderful aroma!
Ahead of Thanksgiving Day, Mom also cooked up cranberries and churned butter. She saved up cream, from separating the milk or from skimming it, so there would be whipped cream for the pies. The turkey was homegrown some years; other years it was purchased.
We kids helped out where we could. We brought up canned fruit, pickles, and jellies from the basement. One of our jobs was to crack the walnuts and pick out the meats. I remember how the pile of walnut shells grew as we worked.
Wonderful memories, indeed.
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