For the past 18 months, I’ve been one of two Writers-in-Residence for the Museum of the American Military Family. With other folks, we have crafted a book that looks at gender, religion, race, identity, culture, and ethnicity in military environments. We did ourselves proud. The book is still in press, but the cover is ready and I’ve been given permission to share. I can’t wait until this is out in the world!
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.
At my father’s funeral in March of 2016, I didn’t know what to do with my hands. It seemed wrong to take photos, but I had the camera. I was afraid to touch anyone, for fear I would break down. I just kind of wandered. Wandering still.
My boyfriend made arrangements for two pulse oximeters to be delivered to the house. For those of you without my experience, a pulse/ox is a device that measures pulse rate and blood oxygen saturation levels. It’s that thing they put on your finger at the doctor’s office.
It’s the most thoughtful gift I’ve ever received: one for me and one for my mother.
We did have a bit of excitement today. It seems that one of the pulse oxes (oxen?) doesn’t work so well. Mom’s reading came in at a 90% oxygen level and I got kind of excited. I called her doc’s office and once again he didn’t call back. I’m learning to loathe him. Finally, I called 911 and they sent EMS out to take her vitals. She’s fine — other than being sick with what is probably COVID_19.
Other than that I’ve had two naps and 12 meals. Stress makes me eat. This too shall pass.
(Connie hits “buy now” on the 40-pack of ToastChee peanut butter crackers at the Amazon.)