Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

Thankful for Pies and Non-Turkey Trot Early Morning Runs

23 Nov

So there I was feeling all the feels as I made my pumpkin pies in the morning. Remembering the early morning run and being grateful for the fresh air after a good night’s rain.

I was one of the few in the city probably not participating in a Turkey Trot that was up that early. And the quietness of the Thanksgiving morning was a peaceful blanket I was happy to wrap around myself.

I felt the feels and tried to keep that moment with me the entire day … when my mother came over and started her normal mothering observations that immediately make your eyes roll and take deep breaths … when the kids  just lost it because the ever so important golden string was pulled out from the ever so important LEGO Palm tree outdoor set and they couldn’t put it back the “right” way and the arguing felt like forever … when I couldn’t find parking on my own street and had to park three blocks away … when there were too many people in the kitchen and opinions were everywhere … when it felt like we were having a Costanza Festivus Thanksgiving Holiday Extravaganza instead of the Hallmark moments I imagined everyone posted on Facebook, which is why I don’t check it often anymore.

I closed my eyes and felt the feels of the early morning and remembered the crisp air filling up my lungs. I remembered feeling good just breathing. I remembered my Dad.

I remembered it being my Dad’s favorite holiday and the day I definitely think about him the most. The Diestel turkey was bought in part because we sold hundreds of them every year at the shop and remembered it being my Dad’s preference. Remembered all those long days at the shop when he was alive and the ginormous refrigerator where I was the inventory champ, but still complaining about why I’d always be the one in the freezing temperatures. He’s just smile and say I was younger and should be able to handle it. I remembered the hard days. The long days. The endless paperwork. The stress. And then the relief of sleeping in on Thanksgiving morning.

I remembered driving in his gray Nissan truck, picking up pies, and listening to jazz on the radio as he tapped the steering wheel.

I remembered the pies, and so when I pulled them out of the oven, I knew.  He would have smiled and asked to taste-test it before everyone … you know … just to be sure. I’d probably argue and reason with him, but eventually taste-testing would be an important reason.

And so on the chaotic day where the good, the bad, and the ugly show up at varying levels and different times during the day, I was grateful for moments remembered, moments with pies, moments of loudness with family, and moments of morning quietness in my Non-Turkey Trot run.

I held onto those moments as I remembered my Dad, and I took a deep breath because I missed him. I missed him with everything I got. Then I closed my eyes and sent him some light and love.

And pie.

Hope you had a good Thanksgiving.

Buen Camino, my friends!

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All Because I Dropped The Whipped Cream

25 Nov

It was the sweet, white, cloud of goodness you’d expect to melt in your mouth along with the pumpkin pie. The homemade tastiness of whipped cream, the kind that Julia Child and the whole Food Network crew would be proud to see.

And I thought it would be safe in the fridge.

I thought.

But as I opened the refrigerator door the large silver mixing bowl came tumbling down and plopping my fluffly delight all over the kitchen floor. It was like a slow motion car accident in a Michael Bay movie and all you heard was a distorted noooooooooooo coming from my mouth as I tried to prevent this kitchen catastrophe. But my reaction time was not fast enough. I couldn’t save it. It was 4:50 p.m. I’d have to go back to the supermarket and try to find some glucose infested spray can of Reddi Whip dairy topping.

And so in this defeated state, I prepared myself for the worst crowd ever. As I drove I turned on some tunes to try and find the bright side of this voyage and I caught a commercial that made me think of the most important dude on Thanksgiving.

My dad.

There I was crabby and irritated that there would be no whipped cream left on Earth and that the family would look at me with those I-can’t-believe-you-dropped-the-whipped-cream-on-the-floor-you-ruined-dessert-on-Thanksgiving look.

My dad on the other hand would have laughed about it, patted me on the shoulder, and then given me a ride. Just like that.

1A

My Dad 🙂

That would have been his attitude.

So it was fitting that on my way to rescue dessert I heard a commercial about the free-range turkeys my dad used to sell for Thanksgiving. Hundreds and hundreds of them stored in the large Rocky Balboa type fridge, and me freezing my butt off taking inventory and helping my dad. 10-12 pounds. 12-14 pounds. 14-16 pounds. 16-18 pounds. 18-20 pounds. All the way up to 34 pounds. Those boxes were heavy. I hated those boxes. Those boxes were my high school, college, and post graduate school life. I inventoried each and every one. I hated those inventory cards. Every year, those cards would come out and I would dread it.

And now that my dad passed away, the cards are gone, and so are the boxes. They are no longer a part of my Thanksgiving. We would have to buy the bird. Diestel of course. But everything else was gone. They usually don’t make commercials, I had never heard commercials for these birds, like ever … until Thursday.

And so I pulled over to the side of the road and listened as the universe sent me an extra hello from my dad. It was the smallest of the smallest things, but it brought him back to me again.

It was just a commercial … I know, but it was a commercial I needed to hear on Thanksgiving Day … a commercial I needed to hear as I was on my way to pick up some not-so-fresh whipped cream … a commercial that made me smile when I really needed it.

This is not to say that I wasn’t thinking about him, I always do, especially on Thanksgiving. It’s his holiday. But this was something extra. Something that might not have happened if the whipped cream disaster hadn’t taken place, and so that was something to be grateful for this Thanksgiving weekend.

Whipped Cream disasters, radio commercials, a supermarket parking spot at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day and a can of Reddi Whip.

Buen Camino my friends!

 

 

 

I Make The Pies Now

25 Nov

Tomorrow’s the day … the day I’m reminded that I live in that combined existence… between the Barone Family and The Griswalds, only it’s playing on Univision and we’re missing our chief turkey carver. We’re missing our Ray Barone, we’re missing our Clark Griswald.

This will be the fifth year that my Dad will be hanging out with The Man upstairs during this holiday season, but no matter how many holidays pass by there’s always a moment of pause when turkey day comes around. Christmas was big in our family, but Thanksgiving seemed to be larger. Probably because ever since Ferris Bueller had his day off, I found myself counting and moving hundreds of free range turkeys and freezing my ass off in the Rocky Balboa-sized refrigerator for the family business. I found myself wishing Ferris was my friend, hoping he’d invent a plan for my day off.

Thanksgiving has always kicked my ass. Always. But when it was all done, there was always a reward.

I mean coming home aching from all those turkeys, 3×5 customer order cards, and cold air hitting my joints and back for several days, and then finally being able to sleep in that morning until after the sunrise, that was a reward in and of itself, but picking up pumpkin pies from Dupar’s Bakery with my Dad, the pies I’d devour with a big glob of whipped cream … dude … that was it. Driving home in his dark gray Nissan pickup truck, listening to jazz with the white cardboard boxes on my lap, smelling the nutmeg and all spice,, and joking around all the way home. That was my reward for a week’s worth of muscle.

And those were my moments …

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But I had none of those this week.

No 3×5 cards, no inventory sheets, no late nights, no arguing over whether he said 14-16 pounds or 12-14 pounds, no white butcher coats or aprons, no sweatshirt, no thermals, no bleach-scrubbing floors, no sassy customers, no counting and recounting turkeys or boxes, no laughing because we were so tired, and no Dupar’s pie.

I make the pies now.

He still probably would have liked them.

I miss him during the non-craziness of my Thanksgiving Week. I miss him during the quiet of the night that’s not supposed to be so quiet. Sometimes I even miss the craziness of the 3×5 order cards and the insanity of inventory. But just sometimes.

The family is still in a state 0f Barone-Griswald existence, always has been, but it’s weird not having the Ray or Clark of the family around. But I am thankful that I remember these things. I am thankful that I can still feel the aches in my muscles, the paper cuts from the 3×5 cards, the Neutrogena Intensive Hand Repair cream on my chapped hands. I’m thankful I can still picture him at that dining table the nights before Thanksgiving, taking out the inventory sheets, 3×5 cards, black Bic pens, and hear his voice…

“Canela, are you ready?”

Yeah … I make the pies now.

.

.

Turkeys, Man Hands, and Remembering Dad

30 Nov

I have to agree with Garth Brooks … I’m too young to feel this damn old.

BenGay, Advil, and Sal de Uvas (a.k.a. the Latino world’s Alka-Selzer magic). All of these were a part of my life this week. Young people don’t feel the need to use these items in one week. However, they were my bare essentials everyday Thanksgiving week. I was thankful for Friday. My body was thankful.

Backaches, headaches, heartaches, and heartburn … you would think I was already pushing senior citizenship status. And my hands. Dude. My hands. In truth I would never be a hand model, and I was O.K. with that. But the fact that I had Man Hands this week made me little sad. Not just any Man Hands, but carpenter, fisherman, cracked, chapped, worn-out and in desperate need of that Neutrogena Hand Cream kind of Man Hands. Sandpaper Man Hands. But since Neutrogena was nowhere to be found at the CVS, I had to settle for Aquaphor.

Yeah. That was me. Beat up, tired, smelling of poultry and trying to fight back the effects of weather and age.

Thanksgiving week … it kicked my ass. It meant working at my Dad’s poultry shop without my Dad and surrounded by hundreds of boxes of Diestel Free-Range Turkey. Boxes that needed to be inventoried and moved. And inventoried and moved. And inventoried and moved. All in a 35 degree refrigerator weather. For all of you on The East Coast, that’s probably normal weather now. But for this Cali girl, that arctic environment wreaked havoc on my extremities. So much so that I didn’t even post regularly this week. My body gave in to sleep and a vegetative state on the couch.

The Gobble-Gobbles that created my Man Hands

The Gobble-Gobbles that created my Man Hands

The Gobble-Gobble Madness took it’s a toll.

But not everything was back-breaking work. Looking at my worn out hands made me think of my Dad and all the years he spent at the shop, all the years with his awesome knife skills and warm personality that could withstand even the bitchiest of customers. I remembered his hands, they looked nothing like mine, even though he worked harder than I did. He had not cuts and or need for Aquaphor. He was Dad.

I remembered his long white butcher coat and his white pants. I remembered his blue sweater vest that he used to keep himself warm, and the blue Diestel Turkey Ranch cap with the “Be Nice” button pinned on it. I remembered and it made sad. It made my heart hurt because my Dad, my friend, was longer there.

I never looked forward to working Thanksgiving week before because I knew how hard and cold it would be. I knew of all the details of inventory, and hours in the arctic temperatures. I knew what I would have to endure. But after my dad’s passing a couple of years ago, I think about it often and it’s not that bad any more.

Every day this week, I picked up his sweater vest from my closet, held it tight and then zipped it up. I opened one of his last bottles of aftershave and took a whiff. I grabbed his Diestel Turkey Ranch cap and put it on. Turned on his truck and drove to work. I didn’t mind coming home and smelling like poultry. I didn’t mind the inventory and tracking the 10-12, 12-14, 14-16, 16-18, 18-20, 20-22, 22-24, 24-26, 26-28, 28-30, and 30+ birds. I didn’t even mind the Man Hands I had acquired.

This just gave me a chance to be close to my Dad again. It reminds me of old times. It gave me a dose of an everyday-past that I didn’t know I would miss so much every year.

So at the end of the week,  I looked at my Man Hands, and remembered my Dad. He’d probably laugh and say … you should’ve worn gloves.

Ahhhhh. Dad. I miss you. I miss you much, my friend.

 

My Dad ... on one of the few days he wasn't wearing a cap.

My Dad … on one of the few days he wasn’t wearing a cap.

 

 

It Called Thanksgiving … Not Christmas Shopping Season

8 Nov

Dear Department Stores and The Rest of the Shopping World,

What’s a matter with you? Have forgotten the purpose of November? Have you forgotten about dysfunctional families, mashed potatoes, and green bean casserole? Have you forgotten about the roasting, the baking, or the deep-frying? Have you forgotten about the weeklong marathon cooking shows on the Food Network … it’s like their Shark Week. Have you forgotten the awesomeness of leftovers and football? Have you forgotten it’s the only holiday where you can unbutton your pants at the table and nobody cares, because they’ve done it too? Have you forgotten about the tastiness of turkey and ham?

Yeah … yeah you have and as a Thanksgiving enthusiast I feel the need to remind you of your error. I’ve seen the decorations, you know. I’ve seen the commercials for shopping. There is no longer a Black Friday, you’ve started planning your greed fest for Thanksgiving day!

Charlie Brown would be very upset. And Lucy would kick your ass.

Dude.

What the hell?

This night is meant for dysfunctional families everywhere to swim in the tension-filled pool of family dinner and uncomfortable conversation that only wine and football can cure. It’s only one night a year, just one night where it all hits the fan. You cannot possibly choose greed over drama.

It builds no character.

Thanksgiving. It’s the holiday of resilience. If you survive this you can do anything. Survivors of this holiday go on to do great things.

:)

🙂

But in truth not all Thanksgivings are tranquilizer worthy … Most of the time the drama settles and the holiday becomes one where you appreciate family, even the crazy ones. You appreciate your blessings. You give thanks and you hope Charlie Brown gets a chance to kick the football. It’s a holiday worthy of its own decorations. It’s a holiday that should not be overlooked or dismissed. It’s not one to be overshadowed by reindeer, fake snow, and Santa Claus.

So get a grip people and embrace the love of turkey. Put out your gobble-gobble decorations and feel the love. I know I will.

 

Thankful for …

22 Nov

Charlie Brown and Lucy

Sometimes you can only take so much … so much family in such a confined space.

So you become thankful for the little “goods” that keep you centered in the midst of the crazy dysfunctional chaos that is Thanksgiving with your family.

… Thankful that the grocery store wasn’t crowded when I went back for corn.

… Thankful that when you went to the cemetery to visit your dad your flowers from the week before had not been eaten by the resident deer.

… Thankful for the green bean casserole.

… Thankful for the second helping of homemade pumpkin pie and whipped cream.

… Thankful for Charlie Brown … he makes me laugh.

… Thankful for the good night hug and the I love you that my son gave me.

… Thankful for the quiet of the night … the nice quiet that’s different from the daytime quite, the peaceful quiet, the quiet slowly interrupted by the snoring of your dog but you don’t care because it’s still quiet, the quiet that calms me and lets me hangout with my third piece of pie.

Thankful …

Happy Thanksgiving.

Boxes, Turkeys, Thanksgiving and My Dad

19 Nov

Two 10-12 lbs, four 12-14 lbs, three 14-16 lbs …

This is how it started … however most people remember their dad carving the turkey, leading the blessing on Thanksgiving, or parked on the couch in a vegetative state watching football game, after football game. Those are the most vivid memories for some people during the turkey holiday season.

For me it was the boxes. The small ones and the big ones.

… Three 16-18, two 22-24, one 30-32 … every Thanksgiving week there were the boxes.

As a member of the Guat family I was required by blood to help out. Every year, every Thanksgiving season the masses gathered at my dad’s poultry shop placing orders for their  no antibiotics, no hormones, free range, turkeys.

The boxes … the dreaded boxes.

One of the busiest seasons in the poultry business and I dreaded it every year. Those boxes. Those Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday boxes filled with orders. My sister and mom got lucky, they were at the forefront answering phones, handling the money and taking the orders. However all they did was take. Take. Take. Take. It had not dawned on them what happened afterward. Where did all those cards go?

Two 24-26, one 18-20, three 20-22 …

In my head. That’s where. They got stuck in my brain. Every night. I’d have to double-check each and every order to make sure it matched up with what we had in inventory.

Just one of the walls in the ginormous fridge  … keeping all those gobble-gobbles.

Inventory. Jeez. Freezing my ass off, in a refrigerator as large as my living room and surrounded by boxes, while my sister and mom were up in the front chatting it up with our regular customers and new incoming ones. I mean I don’t know who decided that I should be in Rocky-Balboa-style refrigerator, but it sucked being in this caste system. There was no getting out of it. No promotions. No face time in front of the store. Just me, the ginormous refrigerator, with freezing temperatures that required gloves and constant usage of Chapstick,  and boxes  and boxes of free range turkeys. Big turkey boxes everywhere.

That was me … large and in charge of all the boxes. Order boxes and turkey boxes. The class system sucks.

So after a long day of wearing thermal underwear in order to withstand cold temperatures, I went home to deal with the small boxes. Every night during Thanksgiving week, there I was at the kitchen table with my dad — in serious turkey order mode. Him in his white butcher coat, me in sweats and a t-shirt, both of us exhausted.

He’d read the orders out loud and I’d jot it down on my chart. This was of course, pre-Microsoft Excel days. But even during post-Microsoft Excel my dad insisted on the paper and pencil method. He was old school and all about having something concrete that couldn’t be erased. So it was the old paper and pencil. We’d develop our own rhythm and finish the boxes in about an hour and a half. 12-to-14 lbs and 14-to-16 lbs. I must have heard those numbers more than any other. By the end of the night, I so hated numbers.

But on Sunday, when I sat with those boxes alone, I so missed hearing those numbers. The thing I dreaded the most — those boxes, those 14-to-16 note cards– brought me such sadness. It was a different kind of quiet on Sunday night and tonight. It sounds lame to get all weird-ed out over some boxes, but there I was getting really sad because my dad was not there. His voice was not there. The rhythm was off.

It took me a little longer to complete my inventory chart as the memories of past years kept swirling around in my brain.

Oh, dad. Miss you much, my friend. Miss you much.