I approached the first Thanksgiving dinner I prepared for my new in-laws as I approach all daunting projects: I made a list. I wanted everything to be perfect, and I knew I had a shot at it because preparations were flowing right along, thanks to my down-to-the-gnat's-whisker detailed list. Thaw turkey? Check. Boil cranberries? Check. Set table? With pressed napkins, even. By the time my husband's parents arrived, the house was full of delectable aromas that smelled just like Thanksgivings I had grown up with - sage, onion, pumpkin and the mouthwatering scent of a turkey cooked to the peak of perfection.
Our adorable shepherd-collie mix dog, LeRoi, wriggled her way into my in-laws' hearts just as she had into ours, and as she greeted them at the door, I was almost overtaken with emotion at how perfect it all was: a dog, a beautiful baby son, a family.
My husband, Dan, and I started outside to help his mom and dad bring the pies and side dishes from their car. As we headed out, I had a flash of brilliance and realized that the turkey would be easier to handle if I let it cool a bit before trying to transfer it to the platter. I opened the oven door, but the turkey was too heavy to lift by myself. I'd wait until Dan came back in and would just leave it on the open oven door for the time being. And off I went to help the pie brigade.
When we came back in the house, I realized I had left a couple of items off my list: Retrieve half-eaten turkey from back bedroom where dog had carried it? Check. Nurse dog with second-degree burns in her mouth? Check. Order pizza to supplement now-meatless Thanksgiving dinner? Pepperoni or sausage?
Poor LeRoi looked truly contrite and miserable from having consumed 5 pounds of turkey in about as many minutes. She didn't need any additional punishment (not that this kept me from yelling my head off at her) because her little mouth was blistered and raw for days. And we could hardly eat any of our dinner for laughing so hard.
We hope some of the stories in this month's issue will bring to mind your best Thanksgiving memories. Even if it's just pizza with all the fixin's.
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