I had been twenty-one years old for twenty-five days when I married Ray in 1974. I joined him in Lexington, Kentucky, where he was working on his Masters in history. We were about four hours away from my folks and about five from Ray’s. The company where I worked gave us one day for Thanksgiving; I had to be back at work on Friday. So, what should we do?
I certainly had never cooked a Thanksgiving dinner. I felt too young. Thanksgiving dinners are what grandmothers cook, not twenty-one year olds. But what could I do? I bought a turkey, called my grandmother to find out how to cook it and how to make dressing, and we invited friends to our house for Thanksgiving dinner. I’ve been cooking turkeys ever since–but not without mishap.
A few years later, while we were living in Mississippi, some older ladies in our congregation invited me to attend a Home Demonstration Club meeting. This club and others like it across the country taught women how to cook and do crafts and other homemaking skills. That day they were teaching a new way to cook turkeys. The instructions said to oil a brown paper grocery bag, put the turkey inside, close the bag with something like staples or paperclips, and bake the turkey upside down for a specific period of time. The result was to be a moist turkey.
Getting a brown paper grocery bag back then was no problem because that’s how I always brought my groceries home from the store. A store usually had specially-purchased paper bags with its name and logo printed on one side. If the store used any plastic bags, they were just for something wet or frozen. I remember when even special bags for ice cream were made from layers of brown paper.
At Thanksgiving, I got out one of my grocery bags, oiled it, slipped my turkey inside, and put it in the oven upside down. After the specified time, I got it out of the oven and pulled out my turkey. It was beautiful and moist and delicious and right there on its lower side was the store logo! Oops! Should have used a plain paper bag!
Then there was the year that I got the turkey out of the oven and promptly dropped it on the kitchen floor. You know what I did then? That’s right! I picked it up, put it on the platter, and served it! Do you have any turkey stories? I’d love to hear them!
I guess it would have been nice in some ways always to have cooked the perfect turkey, but who would want to hear those stories? That’s no fun. Trying to have the perfect homeschool? Give it up. Give your kids some good stories to tell–on you!
For of His fullness we have all received,
and grace upon grace.
John 1:16, NASB
We need it!