Monday, November 23, 2009

Over the River and Through the Woods


So tomorrow I take off for South Texas to spend Thanksgiving with my sons and their significant others. Only we’re not going back “home” (where we used to live). Instead, we’re heading for Fredericksburg—a Hill Country town not unlike my very own mythical Konigsburg (except for no Toleffsons). A few years ago we started having Thanksgiving at a Fredericksburg bed and breakfast (there are a lot of them—it’s like the capitol of Texas bed and breakfasts). We knew just the place we wanted to rent. We’d stayed there in the summer, and it was light and airy with a creek running through the live oaks and pecans out back. Perfect.

Only the name of the place was very similar to the name of another bed and breakfast in Fredericksburg. And I was frustrated when I made the reservations because the online service wasn’t working right. And…well…I reserved the wrong cabin.

We didn’t realize this until we’d gotten to Fredericksburg after dark, mind you. Then we had to frantically phone our sons, who were driving up in their own cars. I saw the outside of the cabin and told myself (repeatedly) that everything would be okay. It was, after all, a historic house, even though it had no creek, no live oaks, and no pecans except for the pie I’d brought. But it was Thanksgiving. And we’d all have a great time fixing dinner and eating it.

Once I saw the inside of the place, my Pollyanna genes had to start working overtime. The owner had decorated it with “antiques,” which meant she’d stuffed every room in the place with junk. “Vintage” clothes hung over the doors, sort of like someone had just dropped by and left their undies behind (my older son was particularly taken by the black one-piece and rubber swimming cap with floppy flowers that were hanging in the bathroom). My sons, who both inherited my sarcastic tendencies, began referring to the place as the Bates Motel, expecting to find Norman’s mom reclining in a rocker somewhere underneath the detritus.

Then I heard my daughter-in-law whisper to my older son, “There’s no oven.” I looked around the meager kitchen and realized she was right. Hotplate. Microwave. Coffeepot. No oven. I had a smoked turkey breast, a couple of bags of stuffing mix, and a bag of sweet potatoes. And no oven in which to cook them. That was the point at which my husband took my arm, handed me a glass of wine, and ushered me into what would be our living room for the next three days (although it was also the room where our younger son was sleeping—maybe a little more togetherness than I’d planned on).

We made it. On Thanksgiving day we went down to our friendly neighborhood HEB (South Texas’s fantastic grocery chain) and bought the biggest toaster oven they had. We cooked in shifts in the tiny kitchen and washed dishes whenever the counters got overloaded. And afterward we played Trivial Pursuit and got royally plastered.

This is the point at which I should draw a moral and say that Despite All Our Difficulties, It Was The Best Thanksgiving Ever. Except it wasn’t. It was pretty much a disaster. But the next year (and all the years since, including this one), I managed to reserve the right cabin. And it’s been smooth sailing ever since. The sound you hear is me, knocking wood. Happy Thanksgiving all!

9 comments:

Brenda said...

I feel for you..Thanksgiving 2007 my turkey would not get done...New house, new stove, been cooking on and in for 8 mos so what was wrong?? Just kept adding more cooking time..LOL.. Finally my best friend, guy, said I know the stove is new and you have been using daily, but it could be a problem with the elements.. Your temp is not correct for some reason. Low and behold we later found that to be true when we got temp to put in oven and check it out.LOL It was a strange Thanksgiving that year.

Meg Benjamin said...

Ah, but the strange ones are the memorable ones, right?

PG Forte said...

I've cooked a few toaster oven Thanksgiving dinners. Like you say, the strange ones are memorable. :) Happy Thanksgiving!

Kelly Jamieson said...

Oh Meg! When things go wrong like that, it's not funny at the time, but it makes a great story later. Much later! Hope this year's Thanksgiving is memorable for all the RIGHT reasons!

Meg Benjamin said...

Oh me too. But that's what happens when you have Thanksgiving away from home--you get drama along with the mashed potatoes.

Kinsey Holley said...

Oh well - one bad Thanksgiving every decade or so isn't too bad. At least ya'll like each other, and could get drunk.

Gawker is running a contest for the worst Thanksgiving horror story. If you think YOU'VE had some bad holidays:

http://www.gawker.com/5411153/give-us-your-best-thanksgiving-horror-stories

Pauline Allan said...

This was my first year to host a huge family holiday. The turkey was moist, the ham was tasty and the mashed potatoes creamy. Everyone had a wonderful time and I was so thankful for the smooth sailing afternoon. Now...it's back to the grind! Hope everyone had a wonderful day. Much to be thankful for this year.

Meg Benjamin said...

Congrats on having a glitch-free Thanksgiving. Many happy returns of the day!

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