Turkey Stuffing Almost Like My Dad Used to Make

Step One: Using the lid of the turkey roasting pan that you lusted after for years and you finally inherited from your dad – the lid that is never used in turkey roasting because the pan never was tall enough to hold a 20lb turkey with it on — pour the two bags of the seasoned bread cubes you bought at the Kroger — Pepperidge Farm Sage & Onion, because you can’t find Brownberry Ovens any longer.

Step Two: Chop up two huge onions into cubes roughly the same size as the bread cubes. Use the knife you got as a wedding present for your failed marriage and the cutting board you inherited from your dead lover.

Step Three: Using the knife, sweep the chopped onion into the roasting pan lid on top of the bread cubes.

Step Four: Still using the knife and the cutting board, chop two bunches of celery into slices roughly a quarter in thick. If the stalks are wide, cut them in half vertically first.

Step Five: Using the knife yet again, sweep the celery from your dead lover’s cutting board to the lid of your dad’s turkey roasting pan.

Step Six: Using the wooden spoon like the old one your great-grandmother gave you years and years ago for your abruptly ended engagement six weeks before the wedding, stir the onion, celery, and bread cubes together.

Step Seven: Eat a handful of bread cubes, raw onion, and celery, remembering how you used to sneak it when your dad wasn’t looking.  Not that he would of cared.

Step Eight: Using the wooden spoon and your fingers, stuff as much of the bread cube mixture as you can into the cavity of the turkey. Remember the time you forgot to remove the giblets and neck before stuffing into the turkey. Laugh.

Step Nine: Put the heavily buttered, salted, peppered, and stuffed turkey into the oven.  Don’t forget to preheat the oven.

Step Ten: Fish around for the large glass baking dish from who-knows-where..

Step Eleven: Pour the remaining bread cube mixture into the glass baking dish. Wonder what happened to the blue and white Corningware one your dad used.

Step Twelve: Dot with butter (real) and moisten with giblet/neck broth you have simmering on the stove with a bay leaf. Laugh again about the year you didn’t take them out of the turkey before stuffing.

Step Thirteen: Cover the dish with tin foil and set aside until the turkey is done. (Sneak a handful of moistened bread cube mixture first.)

Step Fourteen: Gather the dirty utensils – the knife, the cutting board, the wooden spoon. Remember your wedding and the photograph of you pretending to stab your new husband with the cake knife.

Step Fifteen: Remember your dad asking, “Punkin, is this what you want?” just before he walked you down the aisle.

Step Sixteen: Stare out the window and wipe the tears.

Sacre` Bleu! Minoan Blue Monkey Frescoes

NOTE: A million years ago when I was young, attractive and a middle-aged student at Marshall University, I wrote a paper that captured my imagination and secured my love of Cultural Anthropology. I had enormous fun writing this paper. Beware: it’s long — something like 33 pages long. I am posting it to archive it. You’re free to read it, of course, those who do report not only being interested, but amused.

NOTE #2: I sometimes refer to myself as once the world’s foremost authority on Minoan blue monkey frescoes. I would hope someone has cleared up the question as to why an ancient people in what is now Greece were drawing blue monkeys on their walls.

Sacre` Bleu!: Minoan Blue Monkey Frescoes

What ultimately gives a culture its character is its thought,

and that– in a prehistoric context– is the most elusive characteristic of all….

Nevertheless, the Minoans left thousands of clues to guide us.

[Castleden, 1993, p. 123]

Introduction

This paper began as an attempt to sate my curiosity as to why a prehistoric people on an island in the Mediterranean felt compelled to paint monkeys – an animal not native to the area – and, moreover, why they chose to do so with blue paint. The paper ends with the development of my own, apparently unique, theory.

These prehistoric people, the Minoans, are generally believed to have developed a sophisticated culture on the island of Crete. Minoan or Minoan-influenced settlements, some argued to be colonies, are also found on the islands of Thera, Kythera, Rhodes, Naxos, Karpathos, Kea, and Melos, and on the Anatolian coast [Castleden, 1993, p. 117]. The differences between Neolithic assemblages and Early Minoan ones are sufficientlydissimilar as to suggest the Minoans were immigrants to the island, although Watrous discusses internal factors that may account for the cultural breaks [Watrous, 1994, pp. 703-704]. The material evidence of the Greek mainland during the Bronze Age suggests the Cretan Minoans were not the ancestors of the people who became the Classical Greeks [MacKendrick, 1981, p. 61]. Sometime after the volcanic eruption on Thera, the Minoan civilization began to dissipate, eventually to be replaced by the Mycenaean culture of the Grecian mainland.   Their origin and demise is mysterious, but they left enough artifacts on Thera alone that “[e]ven if [Doumas] had the money- which he does not – to pay more restorers, the sheer weight of the archaeological evidence would occupy hundreds of people for decades.” [Ellis, 1998, p. 187.]

In “sound-bite” descriptions of Minoans, the bull leaping, polychromatic art/architecture, and undeciphered Linear A script are almost invariably mentioned as is speculation about status of the women. Yet, one does not have to delve very far into the literature to find mention of the blue monkey frescoes on the walls of a “palace” and other structures. They are held as examples of trade connections, serve as examples of the Minoans use of color, and have been used as evidence of Minoan colonization.

Continue reading

The garden that grief and anger built

Grief stole the garden that grief and anger built. 

I want it back.

As Doug was dying, he sat in the daybed by the bay window and watched me build the garden. He was so sick, and I had taken off work to be his caretaker. Sick though he was, I had many hours left to myself. 

I sat in my family room and looked at my bare backyard.  I had always planned a grand garden back there.  Over the years I had made periodic attempts at it but my midlife career as a full-time employee and full time college student didn’t let much happen. 

Now, I had time.  And, miraculously, I had money.

I began the garden.  I built a circular retaining wall to house daffodils, peonies, vinca and ivy.  I bought a water fountain — a very modern design — so unusual for me.  I planted dozens and dozens of white petunias and white double impatiens — I wanted the garden to glow in the moonlight.  I tended to the wisteria and brought it back from the brink. 

The white roses were pruned and fed.  The furniture painted.  New cushions procured.

As Doug lay dying, I poured my grief and anger into building the garden.

It was nearly complete, as complete as gardens get, when he was hospitalized for that last time.  Three weeks or so at the hospital.  The grass and weeds grew.

The night after he died, his daughter and I sat in the overgrown garden drinking wine and telling stories about him.  Tears flowed freely. 

The fireflies darted about the weeds and brush.  Music played softly.  The windchimes provided needed baritone to the cascading of the fountain.

It was such a lovely evening for such a cruel event.

As I took care of Doug’s estate and caught up with work, the garden was abandoned.  So much to do – the garden didn’t seem like a necessity.

Soon it was an overgrown mess.  I couldn’t catch my breath Couldn’t summon the energy to reclaim a garden on the edge of a forest from going wild.

I vowed to tend it as I realized what a necessity it was.

My dad died suddenly.  The day of his funeral, I cleared an area near the fountain and planted 13 Madonna lilies — a flower of significance to him. 

As I actively grieved him, I reclaimed the garden.  Dozens of petunias, impatiens and a white Mandevilla.  The Japanese climbing hydrangea bloomed for the first time.  I found solace in the garden.

And then my best friend died. 

And along with her, the garden. 

I lost my will to bring life out of death.

It is still neglected though it provides the sudden bloom now and again — mock orange, Peruvian daffodils, lily of the valley.

During the pandemic, I vowed to reclaim it.  But then I broke my foot.  And then I contracted COVID.

Oh, how I long to get back to the garden.  I dedicate it now to me.  I need its life force to revive mine.  It is now a necessity again.

Angela Talbot’s Old Lady

Some time before 2010 Angela Talbot created a piece of art – a sculpture. I can’t find Ms. Talbot and I don’t know the piece’s proper name, but in the few web instances where I can find the image she is called “Old Lady.’

I love this old woman.

I came across the photo on March 1, 2010 and nicked it to use to illustrate a blog post about how I hate to paint.

I was young, I was foolish. I know better now. I don’t steal images from the internet any longer. (I use Creative Commons and the like and use them legally.)

Along about 2019, someone nicked the photo from me and posted it to Pinterest making that post of mine my all-time most popular knocking off the pedestal the one about negligees.

You would not believe how many hits I get off of that photo. Daily. Every day. I get excited at the stats and go look, but nope, it’s just Angela’s artwork gathering viewers. It really is quite the piece.

I do wish folks would stay around and read a bit.

I lied. I’m going to steal one more photo. This from AngelaTalbotCreations on My Space. The Old Lady in all her glory. If you know how to contact Angela, please let me know.

Angela Talbot’s Old Lady