On Sunday a good friend of mine and I went to the grocery store to stock up on our supplies for Thanksgiving. While we were there, I overhead a conversation that took me back. To that first Thanksgiving I hosted with the Captain who had yet to become my husband.
These two young ladies were standing in front of the selection of boxed potatoes when I passed them. Their buggy overflowing. Stove-top stuffing, canned corn and green beans. A frozen pie along with cans of cranberry sauce and a frozen bird. It was quite obvious they were doing their shopping for Turkey day as well.
The shorter of the two was standing post behind the buggy handle while the other one braved the wilds of senior's to forage through the box potatoes. As she was perusing them it was obvious she was getting more and more confused as she mumbled to herself. Finally, a break in the stream of shoppers, she turned holding up two boxes. Looking at her friend she asked, "Which one should I get. And what the heck is Yukon? Is that where the potatoes are grown?"
Her friend responding with nothing more than a shrug had the young lady grimacing as she turned back facing the wall of boxed potatoes once again. "I just don't understand the difference."
Feeling her pain, because lets face it, we have all been there. Maybe not the box potato isle in the grocery store. But at one time or another we have all been faced with making that special dinner. If your smart you pull a Holly Hunter in Always and buy it pre-made passing it off as your own. If your not so smart, like me, you choose a holiday to make your dinner party debut and cook the turkey with the neck and giblets still encased in the plastic inside the bird. To this day I maintain that it made the turkey that much moister, the Captain maintains I tried to poison our guests.
Hiding a smile, I stepped up next to her and asked, "Are you looking for something particular?"
Turning, gratitude ringing her smile, she wilted a little in relief. nodding. "Yes ma'am." (She called me ma'am, but I decided to let it go.) "We're making Thanksgiving dinner and I am trying to decide which potatoes to go with?" Holding up the boxes so I could read the fronts she continued, "What's the difference and what does Yukon mean? Is that where they grow them."
Smiling, because I couldn't outright laugh at her, she was so earnest, I gently explained that Yukon was a type and pointed to the sack of potatoes in my buggy. She was baffled. I then recommended that she just pick the box that held the most appealing flavor. Her friend piped up, "Can't we get both of them?"
I thought that sounded like a plan and it seemed they both agreed. If not they probably would have spent another couple of hours debating the merits of bacon and cheddar vs. sour cream and onion. (I shudder to think this will be served at Thanksgiving dinner, but then I remember they were about twelve so their guests will be close in age and probably think it's delicious.)
As she placed the boxes in the buggy she thanked me and then asked, "Does it look like we have everything?"
That time I did laugh as I looked over their stock and took note of the prideful gleam in their eyes. They were excited about the day, which prompted me to take it serious. "Are you making your gravy from scratch?"
Panic erupted from her in horrified waves, "Gravy?" Eyes wild, she turned to her friend and said, "I don't know how to make gravy."
Feeling everyone one of my forty some years and closer to my Grandmother than I ever have before I pointed her in the direction of the canned gravy and made a suggestion regarding crescent rolls. She thanked me profusely and as they turned away I heard her say, "This is going to be the best Thanksgiving ever!"
My friend and I delighted in this story all the way home. But mainly it reminded me of being that young and on my own in the world for the very first time. How excited I was by the prospect of that Thanksgiving. It reminded me that even though I had a major turkey blunder that first year, we still have great memories from that day. It also reminded me of how much I am looking forward to it this year as well and that hasn't dimmed over time. The faces around our table have changed over the years but the sentiment always remains the same.
My advice: check the bird really well before you put it in the oven. Sometimes those turkey people get sneaky and shove a bag in the both ends.
Happy Turkey Day!