A Truly Scents-less Holiday

| October/November 2005

Not having family within reasonable traveling distance, I often don’t particularly look forward to the holidays. Thanksgiving, which used to be such a wonderful family event when my parents and grandparents were living, is now often just another day at our house.

So, when an elderly neighbor and longtime friend called and asked if my friend and I would like to join her and her new husband for Thanksgiving dinner, it sounded like a stellar idea. Just being invited out was a sweet gesture and we hadn’t seen Alice in a couple of years. (None of the names here are real, for reasons that will become apparent.)

“What can I bring?” I asked Alice. She was fixing the turkey, potatoes and gravy, she said, and maybe I could bring a salad or a dessert. Asked if she and husband Bob had any special requests, she suggested a cranberry salad and a pumpkin pie, to which I happily agreed.

When we arrived at Alice’s house, the driveway was full of cars.

Entering, we saw an assortment of people we’d never met before and soon went about introducing ourselves and trying to get acquainted. Alice announced that dinner was about to be served.

“I got up at 3 a.m. to start the turkey cooking,” she said, explaining that she hadn’t baked a turkey in a decade and hoped the bird was done. It was now 1 p.m. Ten hours for a 16-pound turkey seemed to me about 5 hours too long, but I kept my opinion to myself.

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