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Nov 16

Guest Post from my BFF (about a Thanksgiving with my family)

My favorite Thanksgiving memory is from two years ago when my BFF worked my ass off.

Some background:  I grew up in a small family so though the kitchen was important it wasn’t as important as most families.  We didn’t have huge dinners, at Thanksgiving or any other times.  I married into a family who had Thanksgiving down to a science; I only had to bring one dish.  I was ok with that.  These last several years, being single again, I gratefully accept friends’ invitation to dinner and again only had to bring a single dish.

Two years ago I tasted (pun intended) what a large Thanksgiving was all about.  My BFF’s mother was dying of cancer and she wanted to give her mom the gift of having all her family around her.  30 people were coming to a tiny town in Central Fl, a town that is 2 ½ hours away from my home.  She asked for my help and I said yes.

I knew this was going to be hard work so I thought about ways I could make it fun.  Music was my inspiration.  I loaded up my iPod with all kinds of music.  Then I crammed my car with the iPod dock, chairs, tables, tablecloths, and anything else I could think of.  Did I mention I brought 10 bottles of wine and most of her family doesn’t drink!

I took Wednesday off as did my BFF and arrived at her house around noon.  I had the best egg salad sandwich waiting for me.  She knew she needed to keep me nourished!  We went over a game plan.  Two turkeys, a ham, corn pudding, mashed potatoes, dressing, mac n cheese, green bean casserole, macaroni salad, pea salad, rolls, gravy, two pumpkin pies, and banana pudding.  Thankfully other family members offered to bring the rest of the desserts.  Every recipe was from scratch too, no shortcuts for my BFF.  We organized the seating plan and the decorations.  Trying to figure out how to make sure 30 people have a place to sit and eat in a small house is challenging.

Then it was time to begin the food preparation.  Music on and loud – check!  Wine glasses full – check!  The craziness began.  Little Motown and the green bean casserole was done.  Some Blind Boys of Alabama and there was the corn pudding.  I learned I could peel 25 lbs of potatoes so long as I had some Mama Mia playing.  By 11:00 pm my BFF’s three teenagers thought we were on drugs.  We were just high on fun!

Up early the next morning and grabbed some good strong coffee to wash away the aches and pains.  Tables & chairs went up, decorations too.  It was a total team effort with my BFF’s husband and three kids helping.  Family started arriving around 11:00 am, her mom around 2:00.  Before I knew it 30 people were talking, laughing and eating.  It was a great time.

At one point toward the end of the day I was sitting on the hearth next to my BFF.  We each had a glass of wine and quietly toasted ourselves.  I was grateful to be able to give her and her mom the gift of time and friendship to help this wonderful family Thanksgiving happen. Three weeks later I was back at my BFF’s house to attend her mom’s funeral.   In case you don’t know my BFF is Amanda Wilson @AGWilsonBS.

Life is fleeting so enjoy this Thanksgiving with whomever you have made part of your family.

Dedicated to Toni Berry.

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  1. Paul Anater

    Terrific story Ginny. I LOVE a giant Thanksgiving meal that’s open to family and non-family alike.

  2. ami (@beckami)

    This is such a terrific story – and what a wonderful way to spend time with family and friends alike.

  3. Joseph

    Wow. Terrific story. I’m telling you, I would do that in a heartbeat! I’m an old Army cook. when I enlisted in 1963, they made me take the test for OCS, and I passed it. They all thought I was nuts to stick with my original plan to be an Army cook, but it’s what I wanted to do. As it turned out, the Army was not for me, but I learned a lot about cooking and baking, so it worked out just fine for me. And something like the meal you prepared… oh, I live for that. But, also, as you found out firsthand, yes, it’s a hell of a lot of work. But the satisfaction afterward more than makes up for it.

  4. cindy frewen wuellner

    wonderful for you to put this together; a good friend for life and bittersweet thanksgiving memory. cindy @urbanverse

  5. Bob Borson

    That is a great story and certainly something to feel good about taking part in. This might be my favorite Thanksgiving story today.

    Thanks for sitting in, Cheers!
    Bob

  6. DogWalkBlog

    As I was reading your story, my cooking days at the Viking Village Smorgasbord in St. Paul, MN came back to me (it’s not there any more) Thanksgiving dinners, Mothers Day, Christmas and Easter were our huge days where we had two full lines going. Everything from scratch. It was a whirlwind and many times we’d pick out regulars in the line or the dining area and laugh and talk with them. It was like being with family, all the chaos of the kitchen and the fun in the front. Long days, but a good kind of ache. My family was kinda broken up by then and it made a very rich substitute.

  7. jb@BmoxieBmore

    ginny this story made me smile. all the work balanced by fun (and isn’t that how it should be) a happy (relaxing) thanksgiving to you.

  8. Saxon Henry

    What an amazing story, Ginny. I have a BFF that has the same gift of exuberance and dedication you have and I can say that coming from the other side, it is one of the biggest blessings in life to have a friend that is so selfless but who also makes the experience fun. We’ve all be through those times with friends that go through the motion but it’s obvious the act is a chore. You’re of the ilk that digs in and makes it fun: that’s the truest definition of a friend that there is. Happy Thanksgiving! I’m thankful that there are people like you in the world!

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