>Sorry about the quiz thing… I did it for MySpace and then copied it here, as well, but I don’t like the way it formatted. I might delete it. We’ll see.

Off topic, but quickly, exactly one month from today, my first baby turns 5. Hear that sound? It’s my heart breaking. Tears are sure to follow. 🙂 I love watching her grow up, but it’s really going by way too quickly.

Ok, so Thanksgiving is next week, and I find myself really missing my grandfather. It seems that since he passed, I do miss him more this time of year, especially around Thanksgiving. He’s the only one I ever had, and sometimes I think his life, love and passing have affected my brother and me perhaps more than our cousins because he was literally all we had, as far as a grandfather.

God really knew what He was doing when He let us be Pa-paw’s grandkids. There are so many good memories, but one of my favorites happened during Thanksgiving. It makes this season a little sweeter… and a little bittersweet.

We moved to this house in November 2004, just 2 or 3 weeks before Thanksgiving. My mother-in-law asked me if we could host it and I said, “Sure!”

I pretty much knew how to do it, since I had helped out in my mom’s kitchen since my early teens. I asked my mom for a couple of her recipes, but when I asked her about the turkey, she told me to ask my Pa-paw. At the time, I thought that was a little weird (meaning, didn’t she just tell me), but I called him.

He gave me some instruction and I went to work. I wish he could have seen me, because he would’ve laughed that wonderful laugh for sure. I wrestled with the biggest turkey I’ve ever seen (about 30 lbs.), washed it -it completely filled my kitchen sink-, seasoned it, figured out that it was too big for my roasting pan, drove to Wal-Mart in the middle of the night to find the biggest aluminum roasting pan I could. I finally got that bird in the oven and went to sleep on my couch.

I woke up the next morning and the house was filled with the wonderful, familiar aroma of roasting turkey. I turned on the TV so the Today Show would be on. Don’t ask me why, but for some bizzare reason, I love having the Today Show on TV on Thanksgiving morning. It takes me waaaay back to when I was a young child and had stayed overnight with my grandmother, who was preparing dinner that year. I couldn’t have been more than 8 years old, but I distinctly remember waking up to the sound of the Today Show coming on, and smelling the turkey. To me, that’s part of Thanksgiving.

Geez, I’m weird.

Anyway, so I turned on the TV, the Today Show was on, it was official. I went to take a peek at my Tom Turkey, roasting in the oven and about croaked when I made my discovery. That turkey, that 30 lb. bird, the stuffing inside it, and the drippings that completely filled the oven bag to the point that it was bulging over the roasting pan, were all so heavy that the rack in my oven was bowed. Sagging.

I called, and I swear, I can still hear this conversation every time I remember it.

“Pa-paw?” I ask sheepishly.
His signature chuckle. “What is it, Aim?”
“Well, uh… the turkey is so heavy that the oven rack is bowed. And the juices have filled the bag so much that it’s bulging over the top. I’m afraid that the bag is gonna break and my oven is going to be flooded with turkey juice.”
The entire time, he’s laughing.
“Well, honey, just take your turkey out of the oven. Then make a little snip in the bag and drain your juices off. Put the turkey back in the oven if it still needs to cook. It’ll be all right.”
I have no idea how he kept it together long enough to guide me.

His advice was much easier said than done. I thought I had a big job wrestling that darn thing to get it ready for the oven in the first place. Oh, no, no, no. I had to get Paul to help me. See, the turkey was so big and heavy, that if you tried to get it out with one pair of hands, the flimsy little one-use aluminum roasting pan buckled underneath it.

It was pretty comical. And any time Pa-paw laughed, it was great. I’ll keep those phone calls and those memories in my heart forever and always remember how my Pa-paw guided me while I made my first turkey.