As we approach the holiday season, I get nostalgic for the times when my once-big family gathered together to celebrate. There were always feasts, but sometimes not everything turned out as intended.
When I was 12, Bill, my big brother, announced that he was bringing home a young woman to visit with us for Christmas. That was big news. Although he had “fallen in love” many times, this was the first time we actually were to meet the beloved.
My Mom was in a tizzy. She was working full time and now she had to be sure the dinner was extra special. My Dad was going the Joplin for a meeting and to save time, Mom asked him to pick up a frozen turkey at the market. The purchase was made, and the critter was stowed in the freezer until time to thaw and cook it.
The large frozen lump was put in the refrigerator to thaw, but not examined closely. On Christmas morning, the turkey was brought out and unpackaged. Mom was aghast. This wasn’t a turkey, it was a goose! Mom had never cooked a goose and wasn’t sure she wanted to. However, she had no choice because in 1952 no grocery stores opened on Christmas Day.
Mom roasted the goose and served the meal as best she could. Goose was not popular. My older sister, newly pregnant, took one sniff and fled to the bathroom. The rest of us ate what we wanted, but I think the carcass was largely untouched.
The rest of the day turned out well, my brother and Joyce soon were married, and a few months later, my sister had a bouncing baby boy.
The other memorable holiday was a Thanksgiving in the early 1960’s. My parents had built a new house and we were all excited about the new bells and whistles it contained. A big feature was a built in wall oven. Mom popped the turkey into the oven and went about peeling potatoes and other tasks. That same big brother, Bill, wandered in, peeked through the glass window at the turkey and casually said “What is this button for as he flipped the switch.
“Oh, my gosh” Mom said. You put it into the self-cleaning mode! Turn it off! It seems that was not possible. The switch had no reverse. Frantic conversations ensued. My sister called me for help. “You worked in the Betty Crocker Kitchens.” She said. "Do something!"
Alas my work with 7 types of flour were of no immediate use. Mom located the phone number of the salesman at Sears and we called him for help. The switch was in the back of the oven and impossible to reach without tearing into the wall.
We sat about pondering and imagining the consequences of his careless mistake.
1.)We might buy an urn for the ashes and remember it forever.
2.)The fire department might have to come.
3.) We would become the laughingstock of the town for years to come.
Sister- in- law, Joyce won our eternal gratitude. She kept her head and solved the problem.
It was simple: Reset the timer for five minutes and when it went off, rescue the hapless bird.
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