Saturday, November 24, 2012

I Killed It Dead

We spent Thanksgiving at my Dad's house. That's still weird, by the way. Calling it my Dad's house, and not my parents' house.

Anyway, a couple of the branches of the family agreed to meet up and cook dinner there. If we left it up to my Dad, he'd offer us saltines and grape jelly.

We all took on something. My sister jammed the turkey in the roaster in the wee hours of the morning, and kept a-bastin' all day long. My sister-in-law and I put together the many casserolly-type dishes and shoved those in the oven.  Last, she took on the sausage stuffing, and I jumped on the mashed potatoes. Ten pounds of mashed potatoes. Which turned out to be about eight pounds too many, but I have no sense of scale when it comes to these meals.

It should be noted that we weren't cooking our versions of these dishes. Our labors were not taxidermic, either. More of a tribute. My mother could cook, so her recipes, unaltered, would be tasty. I wasn't champing at the bit to mix some champignons in with the stuffing, or add a soupcon of pecans to the sweet potatoes.  That's not what Thanksgiving is about, right? Thanksgiving is all about eating the food that tastes like it did when you were eight years old and swinging your bare feet under the kitchen table, marvelling that everyone, big brothers, big sisters, parents who sometimes had to work late shifts, were all sitting there with you, at the same time, with no intention of running off the moment the cutlery clattered into the sink.

Anyway, there I am, standing in front of her stalwart Sunbeam mixer, shoving the last of the boiled potatoes into the bowl. I turned the dial to a slow, steady three-pace, and it whirred to life for the final batch.  It's an old mixer, a loved mixer. Which means that parts were a little stuck, a little warped.  The beaters, for instance, were more standoffish than usual.  Instead of kissing the bowl, there was about an half-inch gap 'twixt the them and the bowl. To ensure a thorough and even whipping of the starchy goodness, I had to use a spoon to poke potato chunks toward toward the maw of the beaters.

This was fine. Everything was fine, FINE I tell you, until...

My tornado of a daughter ran through the room, shooting toward the sink with a glass plate. She was about to hurl said plate into the depths of the sink, where it would likely shatter. Mmm.... glass-seasoned turkey, anyone?  To save the meal, I dropped the spoon to catch the plate, and it was quickly swept between the beaters.  The mixer grunted, trying to whip the unwhippable.  The motor sparked, then gave up the ghost.

I killed my dead mother's mixer. On Thanksgiving. It was as close as peeing on her grave as I can imagine.  My only consolation is that she would take great joy in knowing that I couldn't duplicate a meal she made about forty-seven times without destroying an appliance.

For those of you who have been following this blog for years, I'm sure you've wondered when my mother's passing will stop being so omnipresent in my posts.  The answer is...  I don't know.  I really don't.  I think about her every day, many times a day.  Which is weird, because I didn't think about her this frequently when she was alive. It would be wildly inauthentic if I stoppered the frequent loneliness I have for her, though, so express it I shall.  

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