I couldn’t help but think about my mother this Thanksgiving. I thought about the many meals she planned just for her family to come celebrate with her all the things she was thankful for. She didn’t have the happiest of childhoods, she lived through the depression and life with my dad was difficult because he suffered from a mental illness. Still, she was thankful she made it through all she did.
A few weeks before Thanksgiving, she would grab a couple of used envelopes and on the back of one envelope, she would write everyone’s names . On the other, she would write her shopping list. She had rather large handwriting, so, in the end, the whole envelope would be written on.
She would go to the store, bring home the groceries and hide anything she thought we might get into before she cooked, like the colored marshmallows for her cathedral cookies or the large marshmallows for the sweet potato casserole.
A few days before Thanksgiving, Mother began to cook. As she cooked, the house filled with the savory aroma of a big old Tom Turkey roasting in the roaster,. That roaster sat on the washing machine while it cooked that turkey to perfection.. She had a humongous bowl in which she mixed the dressing. She made two extra large dishes of it. Her dressing was by far the best thing she made. There was a time when I realized it would be prudent to get the recipe if I wanted to carry on the tradition.
“I won’t know how to make it after you are gone and no one will know how to make it,” I told her.
“Well, I just put in a pinch of salt, some sage, bread crumbs, chicken stock, you know.”
“Yeah, but how much of it? I need measurements.”
“Honey, I don’t measure it, I just know how much to put in.”
“Can’t you just measure it and tell me?”
“I wouldn’t know how.”
I never learned that dressing recipe and I have tried to duplicate it as best as I can, but to no avail. Now that my mother is gone, so is the dressing I loved so much. Oh, what I would give to have just one more Thanksgiving with Mother. The cooking, the laughter, the late nights with her during the holidays-now gone, but never forgotten.