Thursday, November 24, 2005

Thanksgiving 2005: Old standards and new delights
After offering the Holy Mass this morning at my parish, I puttered around the house doing laundry and getting ready to drive to Mom's house. As I drove into Oklahoma City, I made a brief stop at a local hospital to visit a parishioner who had been transported there last night. My parish is about 45 minutes outside of OKC and I am not often able to visit parishioners who find themselves in OKC hospitals. There just isn't enough time in the day to be driving back and forth to OKC, however, fortunately there are priest chaplains at the OKC hospitals who can attend to these needs.

After a brief stop at the hospital I continued on to Mom's. As I drove along I saw an image that warmed my heart as I was anticipating the feast to come. I noticed many homes with more than the average number of cars parked in the driveways or on the streets nearby. It was neat knowing that many people and families had gathered together for a few hours of relaxation and friendship. We don't stop enough to do this in our busy world.

Mom made the standard fare and it was delicious. She made a variation on a favorite of mine; instead of the Cream of Broccoli soup which I love, she made Cream of Asparagus and it was equally as good. There was turkey, dressing, and vegetables. I brought a couple bottles of wine to go along with the feast. And there were some new delights. As we were preparing a relish tray, Mom pulled from the refrigerator what I first viewed as a horrifyingly large jar of pickled okra. I tried to soften the blow when she asked if I liked pickled okra. Well, actually, there was no softness at all. I quickly told her while I liked okra, I didn't imagine I would care much for the pickled stuff. Well, much to my surprise, I really enjoy them. Basically, it tastes like a pickle and I do like those. Then Mom also had a new cranberry sauce recipe. She used real cranberries to cook a sauce flavored with orange zest and (and here is the new twist) fresh ginger! It was wonderful and complemented the cranberries with a clean, fresh finish. Way to go, Mom! Yes, it was a thanksgiving of old standards and new delights.

Now that I have risen from my turkey induced coma, I am headed back for some post-Thanksgiving snacks and another piece of fresh peach pie. We here at Catholic Ragemonkey hope that your Thanksgiving has been full of rich blessings from God and the blessing of family, friends, and good food. No doubt, some readers and plenty of others around the world will have had a less than ideal Thanksgiving (perhaps a loved one is very ill and in a hospital; perhaps it is the first holiday without a loved one recently deceased; perhaps it is a time so associated with home, but work keeps you far from home or perhaps disaster has taken your home away). Whatever the case, we pray that each of you has found something, however small, to be thankful for this day. May we never take for granted the good gifts of our lives -- things which we in no way deserve. And being thus undeserving, we are all the more grateful.

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