El Día De Gracias En La Granja

By Mary Hunt Webb

Posted Saturday, November 19, 2011

A photographic image of pumpkins outside the El Pinto Restaurant in Albuqerque, New Mexico.

There are plenty of pumpkins, but where's the turkey? [Photographer: Mary Hunt Webb.]

"I don't like turkey!" my husband warned me as we approached our first set of holidays after we married. "I prefer ham!"

That was easy to do. However, it took me a few years to understand that it wasn't turkey that he disliked, but rather, the way he had experienced turkey in the past.

A photographic image of Herbert G. and Abbie Mae Neal.

Grandma Abbie and Grandpa Herbie at their Kansas farm. [Photographer: Morris Webb, Sr.]

For him, the holidays always involved trips to his grandparents' farm. His Grandpa Herbie and Grandma Abbie lived in the same two-bedroom farmhouse in which they had brought up four children. Originally, that house had not featured running water or indoor plumbing. Although they had added those features later, I often suspected that Grandma Abbie never became accustomed to other modern conveniences. She probably used the same cooking techniques with her gas stove that she had acquired when dealing with a wood stove. At best, her attempts at roasting turkey made the meat dry. At worst, it came out burned as well.

Whatever the reason, my husband's father - Morris, Sr. - learned to say that he didn't eat poultry. Everyone already knew that he didn't like chicken, so the turkey story was easy to believe. My husband - Morris, Jr. - followed suit and agreed that he didn't like turkey, either.

A photographic image of a holiday dinner at Herbert G. and Abbie Mae Neal's farm in 1968.

Morris Webb, Jr. (wearing a plaid shirt) partakes in a holiday dinner with his extended family at his grandparents' Kansas farm. [Photographer: Morris Webb, Sr.]

Through the years, I learned that my dear husband thought that "turkey" was synonymous with "dry". Over time, I introduced him to the joys of seasoned turkey bubbling inside a cooking bag, and to boneless turkey roast simmering in its own juices in a slow cooker. He came to look forward to such meals so that I forgot his earlier association with turkey. However, he never did.

While clipping coupons out of the Sunday newspaper near the holidays one year, I came across a coupon for a candle bearing the scents of homemade baked goods. It purported to evoke the memories of Grandmother's home cooking. I found it interesting that instead of encouraging customers to create those scents through baking, the manufacturer encouraged modern women to simulate them with a candle.

I showed the advertisement to my husband because I thought he would see the irony of it. However, his reaction was different to mine.

"I wonder how they would create the smell of burned turkey for a candle," he mused. "That's what I remember about my grandmother's cooking!"

A photographic image of a holiday dinner at Herbert G. and Abbie Mae Neal's farm in 1968.

Young Morris Webb, Jr. stands with his parents (left) and grandparents (front) at the farm before he married Mary Hunt. [Photographer: Agner Hanson.]

As Thanksgiving approaches this year, we pray that you will be able to give thanks for moist meat that is thoroughly cooked but not burned, smooth mashed potatoes, gravy that is not lumpy, vegetables that are not scorched, bread that is to your liking, relatives that don't argue, pets that don't get to the holiday table before you do, air travel that operates on schedule, cars that run as they should, and appliances that work as they are supposed to do.

Most of all, we pray that you remember to thank God for the blessings that He has given you. And if, in spite of our prayers, things don't go the way that you would like, please bear in mind that imperfect holidays are the ones that you will always recall and will tell your grandchildren about.

Perfect holidays don't create lasting memories.

1 Chronicles 16:34 "Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever." (New King James Version)

1 Crónicas 16:34 "Aclamad a Jehová, porque él es bueno; Porque su misericordia es eterna."

A photographic image of a holiday pumpkin with the words, 'Count your Blessings', written on it.

Forget your aggravations so that you can remember your blessings! [Photographer: Mary Hunt Webb.]

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