Friday, November 23, 2012

The Oven Blew Up and Other Thanksgiving Tales

Last year on Thanksgiving morning in Grandmaland, the water main for the house, fell to pieces. Fred spent the better part of Thanksgiving morning using chewing gum and spit to piece it back together. Thank goodness he is actually more handy than MacGyver his special skill set comes quite in handy in those type of situation. This year started off much better. We arrived on Wednesday night, settled in nicely and were having a lovely ole time. Thursday morning the kids played with Nikki's new pup Sperry while I scorned the newspaper headlines announcing the stores which would be opening on Thanksgiving evening for early shopping. How greedy and gross of those nasty retailers. What sort of person would head out on Thanksgiving day to shop?Disgust filling my bones as I shook off a chill. By mid day we were heading to the park for some fresh air and family time.
When we arrived back at the house, the smell of turkey was already wafting through the house.The sun shining through the windows while children's voices rang merrily about. My mother in law was unusually calm and peaceful.It was turning into quite a perfect day!

Until the oven blew up.

We were all chatting in the kitchen when suddenly POP! FLASH! FLAMES! and then...nothing. Uh-oh, thought I. Oh-no, thought Fred. He hit the stove several times in an attempt to fix it ( which interestingly works better than you might think) but had no luck. The thing was D-E-A-D.Once Fred realized he couldn't fix it,he stopped worrying all together, and I took over. Pulling him into the next room I whispered:
  "This is a BIG problem Fred!" 
 "It is not, Dave will not care if my parents use his oven- the problem is FIXED!" (Dave is Fred's brother who happens to live next door, but was in CT with his in-laws for the day)
 "It is NOT fixed. I know we can finish the dinner, but how long do you think its going to take your Mother to realize she can't make scrambled eggs for breakfast tomorrow and come unglued? This is about to turn into a full blown crisis for goodness sake help me out!"
Fred shrugged and then did the only thing any respectable man in his position could do. He took a nap.
I spent the next several hours next door with my mother-in-law cooking the rest of the dinner. We chatted and bickered all afternoon. My father in law brought over the 200+ year old Jamaican family heirloom platter and then disappeared again. Angela insisted Diane's oven made her gravy taste different. 
 "Do you think this heat is different than the heat in your oven?"

"Don't be foolish Ellen of course it is"

 Angela,is a creature of habit and this was starting to throw her off more than was good for her. I knew I had to appeal to a higher authority. Catholic guilt. 

"Angela, we should be grateful this happened- God must have wanted it to for a different purpose! have you thanked him for breaking your oven yet?" 

"No I Haven't Ellen!" 

"You better thank him right now."

 in a whisper she muttered'Thank you for breaking my oven"

 "There now, don't you feel better?"


and then she began to add while looking up to heaven

"But couldn't you have waited-" 

and I hushed her up and said "Don't tempt God" 

 To which she quickly pursed her lips and said 

"Ok, but even if I don't say it, He still knows what I am thinking." and we both burst out laughing.

 Once the turkey was done the both of us transferred it to the platter. Angela began to call Phil back over to carry the turkey. I told her I could carry it. She said I could not. I told her I was stronger than she was. Highly insulted, she said it wasn't so.

 "Yes Angela, it is. I am stronger than you. I didn't used to be, but then I had ten kids and now I am."

 "You are not; I'm carrying it!" 

 "Am too"

 I said as I quickly grabbed the side of the platter. She grabbed the other side and said defiantly "We'll do it together!" You can imagine the scene of the two of us wrestling *gingerly* across the yard with an enormous turkey as we tried to prove to one another who was stronger, while simultaneously doing our best not to damage an almost 300 year old platter. As a testament to our mutual strength, the turkey and platter are still intact along with our pride. We woke Fred and all of us sat down to a lovely Thanksgiving dinner. And so by Thanksgiving night, with full bellies, and grateful hearts I found myself in the last place on earth I could imagine myself on such a holiday. 

Which happened to be one of those evil businesses that opened on the holiday that I had complained and cursed earlier that morning. Suddenly I was thanking the heavens that I could pick out a new oven with my husband and my wonderful high strung in-laws. And we laughed about the day, as we shopped. And I realized once again, that even bad and evil things work out in His plan if only we have the eyes to see it.

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