Here we are and it’s Friday again, and time is a-flying! I had to go into town today to get a few things, ha! It was crazily busy, you would think that Christmas is just around the corner. Oh wait, it is.
Still, lots to get done before Christmas arrives, starting with this follow-up to Nicky’s guest post. It’s a bit difficult for him to get on my blog and reply to you all individually at the moment due to certain logistics so he has asked me to thank you all so very much on his behalf and to let you all know that he has read every single comment and continues to be utterly blown away by all the love, support and encouragement.
Thank you all again, so very much from me too, you really are so very lovely and I too have been so blessed by the very great kindness shown by so many of you. Nicky and I will certainly keep you all updated with his progress as and when – watch this space!
It’s coincidental and perhaps that much more appropriate that the last couple of posts have been about my son since November is his birthday month. Also that this really is a time to be so thankful. Next week, I will be posting my ‘Thanksgiving’ blog so more on that later.
What does comes to mind at this time of year for me, however, are strong memories of Grandma and Grandpa. That is, my one-time in-laws, both passed on now. My associations with America and my life there revolved around the time when I was a young mum with young children and visits with their grandparents either in Los Angeles, where they lived, or when they would come and visit us. So many warm, happy times.
There is one memory in particular. It isn’t actually about Thanksgiving but very much about one turkey, a huge amount of home-made stuffing and one ‘crazy’ Grandma.
My eldest son didn’t meet his American grandparents until we moved back there when he was three-years sold. His father had gone ahead of us to start his new job with the Department of Corrections and we, son and I, joined him several weeks later. It was a blisteringly hot August day when he picked us up at LAX in his parent’s old Buick LeSabre with the shocks that were so shot to pieces that it felt as if we were travelling not in a car but in a boat on very choppy water.
We were tired and jet lagged but before he took us to the apartment in Glendale where we would be staying for the foreseeable future, he took us to his boyhood home where Grandma and Grandpa still lived as they couldn’t wait to meet us.
So there we were, a couple of bedraggled travellers, my little boy and I, stepping out of the old Buick and walking up the steps at the side of the tiny clapboard house somewhere in sprawling Los Angeles to meet our new family. My son was their first grandchild so you can just imagine their delight!
Such joy and love and laughter and there was my little ‘English’ boy regaling them with stories of ‘Thomas The Tank Engine‘, his then obsession, and an unknown to his grandparents at that time. I remember my son calling his new uncle, who was also there, a ‘galloping sausage’ after he was teased about something and everyone thought this was hilarious, saying it as he did in his very English accent!
(Thomas, the Tank Engine, had insulted Gordon, a larger engine, by calling him a ‘galloping sausage’ and so of course my son thought this would be very funny to repeat. In case you were wondering.)
Soon it was time to eat, even though our bodies were telling us that it was the small hours of the morning and not afternoon at all and we weren’t very hungry. Bearing in mind that it was also unbearably hot in the little house, well up into the 90s outside and no air conditioning inside.
Also, and we laughed about this for years to come, Grandma had got into her mind that to welcome us to America she would make us a turkey dinner, with all the trimmings. Which meant that the oven had been on for hours. Even though it was the middle of August. It was a lovely thought.
Bless her. We didn’t call her crazy Grandma for nothing!
Grandma was so excited and we chatted and laughed until at last she went to the oven to get the turkey out. We carried on talking and, from the living room, we all heard it. First, a dull thud, a loud clatter and then an ever louder scream. Grandpa rushed into the kitchen and we all craned our necks, only for my eyes to meet the biggest turkey I had ever seen in my life, lying upside down on the kitchen floor with massive dollops of stuffing all around it, as if providing a bizarre garnish.
She told me later that she had dropped it when taking it out of the oven because she was so excited that her hands were shaking!
Then came the laughter, soft at first, then great peels of it, then positively raucous so that we could hardly hold our sides in and stop them from splitting wide open.
Grandma managed to retrieve something of the turkey but not the stuffing. The thing is, the stuffing that she made was from an old recipe that her mother always used and she had made it from scratch that very morning. After that, she gave me the recipe which I still have, handwritten on a scrap of paper.
I have used it nearly every Christmas ever since.
Grandma never made turkey again after that. She did used to make tacos now and then, and let me tell you, they were the best. The kids would always ask her to make them. ‘Grandma, can we have your tacos for dinner, oh please, pretty please?’ She would start them early in the morning, fine-chopping every single ingredient for hours and she also made the best salsa and guacamole too. She didn’t do it very often but when she did, oh boy, watch out!
I really miss you crazy Grandma (and you would be so proud of your grandchildren now). This one’s for you 🙂