The Day After the Feast

The day after the feast –
everyone’s gone now –
on the way back to their homes
and here we are –
left with a turkey carcass,
empty pie plates, the energy
sucked out the front door
with a hug and a wave
and a smile. It’s still and quiet.
The cat has curled up in
the newly-emptied comfy
chair – still warm from the last
human to sit in it. The dog
is stretched out on the sofa.
They look drowsy and content.
I have a sudden memory of my
mother standing at the door
of the old homestead as we
drove away those past
Thanksgivings – her eyes
straining for a last glimpse
of us as we turned onto the
highway. I understand now.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

 

Grateful for…

I am grateful for family and friends;
a home full of love,
and memories without end;
Clara Kitty, Sparky, and Superdog Sam;
and the challenges
that have helped make me who I am;
clothing and shoes;
a fire in the stove;
the times I win and the times I lose;
potatoes and pies;
otters, deer
and butter-dragonflies;
picas and marmots;
university and public school;
cameras and words
and all the other tools
we have for sharing the
world’s beauty and joy
with each other;
baby animals and young
people and older people;
and laughter;
people with a sense of humor;
and the rainbow that comes after;
people who wave from the train;
people who smile back;
mountains to climb
and trails to backpack;
food in the pantry; laptops,
cellphones, the internet;
water, toilets, electricity;
and books newly-met;
blue skies, puffy clouds,
rainbows, sunrises and sunsets;
music; flowers; malty autumn
leaves and sparkly snow;
the intuition that tells me
which way to go;
the First Amendment
and Democracy;
courage, honesty, and generosity;
walks along the briny bay;
and waking every morning
to a fresh day;
Truth; Life, and Love never-ending,
always new;
and I am really grateful to know YOU.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

Happy Thanksgiving!
(Photos by Karen Molenaar Terrell)

Grandmozzy’s Blue Sweater

Warmth and peace, gentle
laughter and playful exchanges
father mother son daughter
niece nephew brother sister
friend grandpa nestled around
the dining room table in
a cozy glow of love and
grandmozzy’s blue sweater
on the back of a chair adding
to the sweetness of this
Thanksgiving.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

moz blue sweater

In the Kitchen with Karen

First, I will don my way cool apron that my friend from Canada sent me, and that has the Canadian word “Eh?” written on it in really flamboyant letters.  Of course, putting on the apron isn’t going to actually keep me from having flour all over me by the end of my culinary adventure – but I think I look sort of cute in it. And that’s the important thing.048

Next I will haul the turkey out of the fridge, where it’s been thawing since Sunday. I will dice home-grown onion and garlic, apples from our orchard (yes, apples – using apples in turkey stuffing is a Karen tradition – because I, traditionally and invariably, FORGET TO BUY CELERY!!! and then I find myself scrambling around the kitchen, looking for something crunchy I can throw in the dressing… and… yeah… well… apples …and, true to tradition, I just realized that I, once again, FORGOT THE CELERY!!!), and toasted Dave’s Killer Whole Grain Bread (the bread will be toasted, not Dave).  I’ll sprinkle sage and rosemary over everything that’s within arm’s reach (this includes the dog, the cats, and the sons). Then I will yank out the turkey’s innerds, and replace it with toasted Dave, and put the whole shebang in a pre-heated 325 degree oven.

Pie-making comes next. I love making pies. There’s something kind of comforting about pie-making. I especially love making pies when there’s rain pounding against the windows, and a fire in the woodstove – the rain adds a certain ambiance, and it looks like we might be getting a lot of ambiance today.  I’ll combine the flour (2 cups), and butter (2 tbs, plus 2/3 cup) and water (6 tbs) in a bowl, and then grab half of it and roll it out on a floured cutting board, and lay it in the bottom of my glass pie plate. The bottom crust will be a picture of perfection – it will be seamless and smooth. Next, I’ll put the frozen blackberries that I picked last summer into the pie shell. I’ll add 4 or 5 tbs of flour, and 6 tbs of sugar, and loosely mix the pie’s filling.  Now it’s time to roll out the top crust and place it on top of the pie. The top crust is the crust that everyone will see. It will have holes and tears in it. That is another Karen tradition. Once I’ve got my holey crust attached to the pie, I’ll lightly sprinkle sugar over the top, to make the pie look sort of sparkly when it’s done.

By the time we sit down for our feast, our plates will be full of turkey, stuffing, mashed sweet potatoes with butter and cinnamon, and cranberry sauce, and we’ll be half-way through dinner before someone – probably one of the sons – will ask me about the dinner rolls. And they will either be burning in the oven, or still sitting in the cupboard. It is another Karen tradition.

May your holidays be filled with a feast of love and laughter.  And don’t forget the dinner rolls.

– Excerpt from The Madcap Christian Scientist’s Christmas Book

The Thanksgiving Sunflower

I was hoping I’d find some sunflowers to bring into our home for Thanksgiving – there’s something so cheery and wholesome about sunflowers – they instantly light up a room with their sunshiney faces. But, alas, there were no sunflowers to be found in any of the local supermarkets, and my last sunflowers had died off in the freeze a week ago.

Or so I thought…

A few weeks ago I’d leaned a sunflower stalk that had blown down in the wind against the corner of our house. I’d clipped off the sunflowers that were in bloom and put them in a vase in the breakfast nook – but had tossed the flowers out a week ago when they died.

So today, after I gave up on finding sunflowers in a store, I was wandering around the yard looking for something – anything – that might still be flowering that I could bring into the house for Thanksgiving. And as I walked past the sunflower stalk I’d leaned against the house weeks ago I saw there was one little sunflower beaming its happy little face up at me!

It’s amazing how much joy it gave me to find that little sunflower waiting for me right there – at the corner of our house! She’s now shining her golden beauty from the windowsill in my kitchen.

I got a sunflower for Thanksgiving, after all!
glowing sunflower 3 this one

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Better than Christmas.
Better than Easter. Better than Halloween.
It’s pies made from berries I picked myself, and golden
squash Scott grew in the garden, and healthy food smells
filling the kitchen. It’s family and friends and love
and laughter over old memories and memories in-the-
making. It’s Aunt Junie’s china and Aunt Elsie’s teacups
out of Grandma’s old maple china cabinet. It’s the sons
playing music on the piano I learned to play on fifty years
ago. It’s improv in the living room, and board games
on the dining room table after the food’s been cleared.
It’s wearing Moz’s sweater and feeling her arms around me
and Dad watching football while he eats his pie
with ice cream on top. It’s a fire in the woodstove and a cozy
room filled with amber light as it grows dark and cold outside.
It’s being filled up with gratitude so rich I want to cry
with the joy of it.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

When Moz Was Here

A comforting ritual – baking
the annual Thanksgiving pies
connects me to Thanksgivings
past – decades of home and love,
laughter, food, memories of those
who’ve newly-arrived, and those
departed. This year will be
the first Thanksgiving without
Moz. And as I pour blackberries
into the pie I realize these berries
were ones I picked the summer
after she passed, and I wonder
if I might have a left-over bag
of blackberries I picked during
the summer before –  when Moz
was still moving amongst us.
I go to the freezer in the garage
and root amongst the frozen bags,
digging, searching – and there!
I find a bag of berries marked
2016! And now a part of the world
that still held Moz in it is in
this year’s Thanksgiving pie.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell