"Thanksgiving Day comes, by statute, once a year; to the honest man it comes as frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow." ~Edward Sandford Martin
As I get older, I'm starting to realize that Thanksgiving may be my favorite holiday, and the weeks leading up to it, my favorite time of year.
I've always loved Autumn/Fall, and I guess it must be the warm memories of Thanksgiving from my childhood that make this such a special time of year for me. Now, don't misunderstand...all holidays in the Snelling household were warm, festive, & wonderful, but take my favorite season, and throw in a wonderful holiday, and there you have it! Growing up, my family certainly wasn't wealthy, but certainly not poor, my dad had a good job, and worked hard, and my mom stayed home...and worked harder, they were a wonderful couple, they never went to bed angry, they enjoyed just being around each other, there were classic moments...like my dad starting to doze in his chair with a cigarette (or pipe..during that phase) and mom shouting "Lester Ellsworth! You're falling asleep!" to which he replied.."No..I'm just resting my eyes" ...the cigarette burns in the chair said otherwise, (fortunately that was in the 70's and the furniture was some fabric..that for whatever reason would just melt a bit, and not go up in flames (I did that later on..FABULOUSSS!!!!..haha!).
Oh! this is supposed to be about Thanksgiving! So, as I said, we always had wonderful Thanksgivings, a wonderful meal, with my mom's amazing stuffing, which my sisters still make to this day...and which Jeff despises, (he's not a big, stuffing fan...though he makes a great version of Ina Garten's sausage stuffing...more on that later) the Waldorf salad would always be forgotten, in the fridge until after dinner, when someone would exclaim "We forgot the Waldorf salad!!" I'm not exaggerating, it happened every year, and still does, my theory is that it's forgotten because it's horrible, unless you like apples, celery, walnuts, mini-marshmallows, and who knows what else, all mixed up in mayo....good lord...really???!! I love apples, walnuts, and celery, but not in that vile concoction.
But even with the marshmallow & mayo monster lurking in the fridge, Thanksgiving was a warm and wonderful family holiday, and that is because I am lucky to have a truly wonderful (though a bit nutty) family, our gatherings don't include anyone getting drunk, there are no fights, no tension, we just eat, sit around laughing like loons, and just enjoying each other's company, and I think those times are the real reason my sisters want Jeff & I to get married...they just want an excuse to have another fun, & food-filled family party..sounds good...I'm in!
Speaking of Jeff and I....as we have been together nearly 21 years (isn't he a lucky man?!) we have certainly created many of our own holiday traditions, which are a combination of the wonderful holidays we had with our families, growing up, and things that we have started, such as raising our own Thanksgiving turkey. The first Thanksgiving we spent at the farm, we decided we needed to supply the turkey ourselves, especially as we were hosting Thanksgiving at the farm for both of our families (it was like a a Simpson's version of a Walton's Thanksgiving..but much fun was had.....lol). At that time we had about 3 or 4 turkeys, we had a pair of Blue Slate, males "Basil" (short "A" sound of course), and "Blitzen". It was decided that Blitzen would be our Thanksgiving turkey. When the day came, a few days before Thanksgiving for Blitzen to be slaughtered (sorry...no way to make it sound pleasant), it was a gray, drizzly, and cold day on the farm, the animals were all relaxing in the barn, Jeff retrieved Blitzen, and brought him over to the back corner of the house where we had an area prpared for the task at hand, we said our goodbyes, and sincere thank you's, and tried to make it as quick, peaceful, and painless as possible. Some tears were shed, and then it was on to the job of plucking, and cleaning, I will tell you that it was difficult for us, emotionally, as it should be, to kill an animal, and at one point we noticed that over in the pasture, the only living thing outside the barn was....Basil....watching us pluck his friend, we felt like monsters, and the fact is..that's how you should feel when you kill an animal, even when you are doing it with no malice, and certainly feeling no joy from it. One thing I will admit that we felt that day though, was a bit of satisfaction that we were providing our own Thanksgiving turkey, a turkey that had a name, that lived a good life, ate grass, bugs, seeds, corn, had no drugs or hormones given. That day was nearly 3 years ago, and as we approach Thanksgiving 2014, we hope to continue the traditions we have created, such as, since we usually go to a family Thanksgiving at someone else's house, we don't have any leftovers, so probably 15 years ago, Jeff started cooking our own Thanksgiving dinner the day after Thanksgiving, one of my favorite dishes is his version of Ina Garten's sausage stuffing, and we are again preparing to provide our own turkey, and some others to customers, and we take pride in the fact that every Thanksgiving turkey purchased from our farm, is one less purchased from a factory farm, and I can't begin to express what an honor it is to have someone trust you to provide there coveted Thanksgiving meal, superstar. I have so much to be thankful for, there is Jeff, my son Nathan, (and Tanya) , my wonderful family, my "in-laws" (well..we are in Ohio, so I guess they are "un-laws") Step-Chris, our dogs Daphne, Sophie, Sadie, Bess, & Matilda, all of our goats (hold on tight...here we go..) Gabby, Tabitha, Shasta, Star, Esmerelda, Millicent, Luna, Tilly, Jill, Holly, Dolly, Esther, Willow, Raven, Samantha, Clara, Endora, Nehemiah, Grayson, Downton, Abbey, Willow, Cricket, Rigby, Timmy, Madeline, Rufus, Lucy, Desi, Remington, Minerva, Honey, Harley, Jackie & John, the sheep, Lily, Tag, Violet, Daisy, Pansy, Sage, Parsley, our opinionated alapaca, Ivy, the pigs, Martha (& family) Virginia (and family) all of the chickens, the geese, the ducks, the guineas, and of course Turkelberry, and the other wonderful turkeys, we are thankful for the opportunity to inhabit this wonderful property, full of charm, and history, we are so thankful for our wonderful neighbors, and all of you that we have gotten to know over the past few years, and we are thankful for each other, and understand how fortunate we really are. I wish all of you a wonderful Thanksgiving with the ones you cherish, and by all means......forget the Waldorf salad!! eeegads that stuff is vile!
I apologize in advance for my punctuation....I'm atrocious at it, lol...Jeff says I write the way William Shatner talks...go ahead...try reading my blog as William Shatner, I have to admit, Jeff is correct! lol