Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree
Last year my son Doug had gotten our Christmas tree up and decorated a few days before Thanksgiving and his hospital confinement. It was after New Year’s Eve that my oldest son, Don, who was here with me during that trying time, helped me take the tree down. It was a disaster.
Don and I had no idea how to take apart that imitation tree. So we just did a lot of pushing and pulling and found that it has three sections. We made a mess of that poor thing, but we did get it and the decorations packed up and into the garage. Now we come to this year and it was up to Doug to put together the mess Don and I had made.
Yes, Doug got that tree together. However, I’m glad I don’t have delicate ears. He had a terrible time and at last it was ready for its red and gold balls. Then he had to plug it in and guess what? Some of the automatic lights weren’t automatic. The whole top quarter of the tree would not light up and there was more grumbling and words I cannot repeat here.
This artificial tree is four years old and has seen its’ better days. We tried to buy a small set of lights that would match, but to no avail. We have a tree that during the daytime looks fine, but at night the top is a foot and a half flat top “thing” and appears ridiculous. What the heck, except for our neighbors who is to know anyway. We are just going to say that we are conserving electricity, how about that!
At this time of year I keep remembering, as do all parents, about other holiday seasons and some of the meals and celebrations that were many years ago. Back in the “East” you did certain things, celebrated a certain way, and had the exact same type of meal every year. Heaven help anybody who broke with tradition. Thanksgiving and Christmas were spent at so and so’s house each year.
On these holidays turkey was served. Easter was ham. That happened at the Hill’s as at most families. On one Thanksgiving I decided to make things much easier. Turkey takes a lot of preparation and ham is easy. With my having to go to work — along with Don, Jr. and Doug at Blue Bell Inn on this holiday — I thought it would be a good idea to have an easy ham dinner in the early afternoon.
Wow, a change! You can’t do this, I was told. Thanksgiving was always turkey at 4 p.m., not ham at 1 p.m. You’d have thought I was starting WW III. I made a decision. If that’s the way it is, how about Don, Sr. and the three younger boys all go down to Grandma Hill’s for dinner and I don’t cook at all. Since that didn’t go over I just shut off the shouting.
Then I assembled the needed supplies with ham and cooked a non-traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Nobody uttered a word. Now we come to this year’s meal. I bought one of those round half white and half dark meat Butterball turkey rolls. Of course it came in a plastic cover. Without thinking, I pierced with a knife to begin its removal. Oops, I’d pierced a container that had hidden inside that contained gravy.
Of course gravy went everywhere. Thank goodness I was doing this on a plate and got to save that gooey mess. The meal was okay, however there wasn’t that usual smell of the skin on a bird. It just wasn’t the same. We had the usual mashed and sweet potatoes, stuffing, tiny green peas, hot rolls and olives along with champagne. I’d made two pies the day before, mince and pumpkin. They were scrumptious.
Some of you may not like mince pie, hardly anybody does, especially Doug. As someone with peculiar tastes who likes raw oysters and liver, that pie was my favorite part of the whole meal. Next year — God willing I’m still here — I’m going to have the traditional turkey, skin, bones and all so I can fill the house with that wonderful aroma. And there’ll be enough leftovers and bones to make old-fashioned turkey soup.
I left Pennsylvania 50 years ago. Now I love the West and Fallon. Although I’d never go back, there’s still a lot of “the East” in this old gal.
Edna Van Leuven is a Churchill County writer and columnist. She may be reached at news@lahontanvalleynews.