Dad, Lucy, Ethel, and I drove out to my sister's house in Boerne, where she had fixed a terrific dinner (I contributed mashed cauliflower and steamed asparagus spears with butter). We had cocktails, then dinner, then Cowboys.
My sister has two horses, Dottie and Roper; they were a bit skittish with me until I produced the Mrs. Pasture's Horse Cookies (I kid you not, it's horse treats just like dog treats! Who knew?). As soon as I made with the Horse Cookies, man, was I ever popular. They were literally eating out of my hand, then nuzzling me looking for more. I constantly tease Marla that they are really just very large dogs. (That's Dottie on the left, Roper on the right, btw).
Then Dad and I drove back to his assisted living apartment, after stopping off to visit Mother. Let's just say that she has good days and bad days, and today was a very bad day.
Now, Thanksgiving dinner at our house has NEVER been about turkey. The flat out truth is, none of us really care that much for it. I'll eat it, but I'll take chicken or beef or pork any day. The "traditional" Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners have rarely, if ever, been served at our house.
Growing up, our Thanksgiving dinner was pretty much what we had today: beef brisket, veggies, apple pie. (I'm the only one in my entire family that loves pumpkin pie; the others actively loathe it. The only way I ever get pumpkin pie is at a restaurant.).
Sometimes we'd have roast beef, sometimes a pot roast, sometimes even meatloaf (nobody did meatloaf like my mother; I've got her recipe and she showed me how, and I can make a -barely- passable imitation, but it's certainly not "hers". I loved hers and tolerate most others).
Oddly, the main "Holiday" ingredient we actually WOULD have is cranberry sauce, homemade. Mother loved cranberry anything, so we had a lot of cranberry sauce---out of a can if she didn't have time, homemade if she did. She was very good at making it herself, too. And, of course, if you're going to all that trouble, why not top it with whipped cream?
Thanksgiving afternoon has always always always been about watching the Dallas Cowboys, America's Team (all others really are inferior...). We're all Cowboys fans; I grew up watching Dandy Don Meredith and Bob Lilly; the Doomsday Defense and then the battle between Craig Morton and Roger "the Dodger" Staubach; suffered through Danny White and others, was exhilerated during the divine Aikman era, have been once again through the Valley of the Shadow to our current Romo-led 'boys. I like the current team. I like Jerry Jones and what he's done (sue me, all of you go ahead, I don't care). I even like T.O. I dislike Texas Stadium, always have, and will not be sorry to see it go. Arlington, here we come!
Anyway, Dad and my sister and her husband and son and I, we all love the Cowboys. Mother, not so much. She was a Denver Broncos fan. I was never sure, but I think she thought John Elway was "cute". In any event, the Broncos don't play on Thanksgiving, and the Cowboys do.
So basically that was our old traditional Thanksgiving, one more time: Family and brisket and cocktails and dogs and horses and Cowboys. But no cranberry sauce. No whipped cream. An empty place at the table.
Familiar, similar, but oh, so different.
But surely, you say, we have turkey at Christmas, right? No. Christmas dinner is Swiss Steak. Put THAT in your pipe and smoke it....
Uncle Malvie says, you couldn't pay me enough to go shopping tomorrow. I don't care how cheap everything is, it's going to be cheaper after Christmas. I plan to steer clear of any shopping areas.