Thanksgiving memories abound

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 26, 2002

It looks like it might be good weather for Thanksgiving this year. My immediate family doesn't have to travel too far for Thanksgiving dinner like we did when they were all young.

We used to travel to Minneapolis to my brother or sister's house or my parent's farm in Albert Lea. Four of my children have moved away from home and three of them will travel within Minnesota to come home for dinner. I baked the pumpkin in the oven today for the pie and went to Good Earth Foods to stock up on the fresh spices for it. My son Timmy is waiting impatiently for me to bake the pie. He can eat three pieces of pie, one after another.

I also will be making chocolate maple toffee for the holidays and my family looks forward to this treat too. I used to bake everyday when all six children were home. Timmy doesn't remember those days and is always amazed that I actually know how to bake, as he rarely sees me do it.

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I enjoy making the Thanksgiving meal. I remember my mother getting up at 4 a.m. to put a 25-pound turkey in the oven. My favorite part of Thanksgiving was the leftovers the next day. My brothers and sisters and I liked to eat sliced turkey on fresh homemade bread. Unfortunately my mother would seldom let us finish off the turkey in the form of sandwiches. She would chop up the turkey, mix it with leftover stuffing, pour gravy over it and bake it. It would be OK the first day as leftovers, but not many of us liked it and this dish seemed to double because she would reheat it for another meal and serve it again.

It would become the dish that would never go away.

We would beg her every year to not mix the turkey, dressing and gravy together but she was always trying to make her food dollar stretch and it was no use talking her out of making that dreadful dish. We usually ended up saying grace on that overcooked brown casserole three meals in a row. My prayer was for it to disappear. I have vowed to never make that dish with my leftovers.

My favorite part of Thanksgiving is not the leftovers anymore, but taking a walk after dinner if the weather is nice and playing cards late into the evening. I taught Timmy and Theresa to play 500 this year when we went camping. Timmy is a risk taker so it should be fun. I am thankful for my health and the health of my family this year. I have a great family that is full of fun and we are supportive of each other.

I wish love and good health to all of you. Happy Thanksgiving.

Oh, and by the way, I didn't kill the turkey that I am cooking this year.

I bought it at the grocery store.

Sheila Donnelly can be reached at 434-2233 or by e-mail at