Funny Guy Friday is written each week by my husband Mark. So... I married a funny guy.
I am sitting here at 5:30 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning smoking a 20 lb. turkey. I have no idea how to do this other than a five minute tutorial from my new secretary's husband. He provided the smoker, the coal chute, the coals, the thermometers, the lighter cubes (boy those things work well) and the five minute tutorial!
Seemed easy enough to him, but my guess is that he has done this before. Why, you ask, am I doing this for the first time on Thanksgiving day without a test run. Well, we need to keep our oven open for the other 20 lb. turkey to cook in the oven.
Wow! I hear you thinking... that is a lot of turkey.
Guess what... that ain't all... my nephew is smoking a 14 lb. turkey and bringing that to the dinner!
Let me start this story about two months ago. As I have written in the past, my mom is getting older and her mind has a lot of miles on it and does not always work as well as it used to. This is code for she has dementia. She has been living with us for about two years, and things have progressed. There are times of confusion and times of lucidity... but the confusion seems to be more and more frequent.
Cheryl and I host Thanksgiving every year at our home. Every other year we host my family and every other year we host Cheryl's family. We never cross pollinate families because the last time we did that, it cost Cheryl's dad thousands of dollars at our wedding! He refuses to let that happen again. That or he is still a little frosty that my brother mispronounced their name during the wedding toast.
Man, those Wanderers sure do hold a grudge!
This year is a Palumbo year and I put out a message to the family updating them on my mom's current status and suggesting that it might be a good idea if folks came for Thanksgiving this year. I figured that when we host my family, we get anywhere from thirty to forty people. So if a few more heed my call, we might get forty-five or fifty.
Cheryl and I can do that standing on our heads. Here is what we were thinking...
My oldest brother Joe, he has seven adult children (all married and located in Maryland, California, North Carolina, Virginia and Canada for goodness sake) and a slew of grandchildren. Definitely, the locals. There are three of them, probably the Virginia clan. Maybe the North Carolina contingency and no on the San Diego daughter and definitely no on the Canadians. Now, all of them have more kids that we can count but they are all cute so we want them to come.
My sister Sheree has three adult children (all married and living in Maryland). We figured all but maybe one of their kids would come.
Then there is Jeff. Four adult children (three married, two with kids and living in Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina). Two locals would come. The Virginia son travels with his work and the Carolina kid was a maybe.
Well, the wild cards were my brother Paul and my sister Michel. Paul lives in Washington state and has four adult children (Washington and Pennsylvania) and Michel lives in Texas and has five adult children (Texas, Florida and California) and a few grandchildren in Florida and Texas. We figured Michel would be a yes with her youngest daughter, Katherine, who has what can only be described as an insane Siamese twin type relationship with our daughter Grace. They are about a year apart and as long as we can remember, whenever they are together, they are by each other's side. They eat together, sit together, sleep together... just a couple of weirdos! But I think they bonded because they both were younger than most of the other grand kids so when the older ones went about their business together, they were left with each other... all alone... bitching and moaning the whole way!
In fact, one regret that I have as a youngest of six kids is that my kids are all younger than their cousins. They missed the "golden days" when twenty of the twenty seven grand kids were within about eight years of each other. Because I started having kids later than my siblings, only Grace caught the very tail end of that. Mostly spent lamenting (more accurately described in the previous paragraph) with Katherine, that she couldn't do what all her older cousins were doing. Don't ask me to explain the fact that my oldest sister, the oldest in the family, is Katherine's mother. Maybe she just felt guilty about telling me I was adopted when I was a kid and made it up to me by spitting out a kid to keep Gracie company.
Just as an FYI to Michel, thank you for Katherine but I still am seeing a psychiatrist for my multi personality disorder. Thanks for nothing Kimosabi!
Anyway, Michel, her husband and Katherine were probable. Paul and his entire family were doubtful. Long trip, oldest daughter just got married and it is a tough week to travel. Maybe their son Sam up in Philly would make it but he has a long time girlfriend and we all know how boyfriends and girlfriends can screw up family plans!
Well, Michel was the first to respond. Yes for her, her husband and Katherine. Probable for her oldest daughter and no on the other three. Jeff's family was next. Yes on the two locals, yes on the Carolina son with his wife and two boys and no on the Virginia son (traveling to the Bahamas and missing all the fun. Maybe he will find something to do in the Bahamas but I doubt it).
Sheree got into the act with two children yes and one no.
Then Joe chimed in. Yes on all but the one daughter in San Diego!
This is a bit of a game changer. Even the Canadians are coming. Turns out they don't celebrate Thanksgiving in Canada and I am not sure they even have turkeys up there so they had to come home in order to partake! This really spikes the numbers. Seriously, there are a slew of kids that come with this package. Too many to count and way too many to remember all their names. All cute as can be.
In fact, I have to say, we all make good looking children. Not a dud in the group!
Finally, Paul responded with a maybe. Maybe this... maybe that... maybe he hits the lottery, which I doubt he even plays. Maybe not! Probably not. This is a bummer because although I don't really care for Paul... he is my mom's favorite. Something that she used to deny but now freely admits to my angst as I tuck her in at night!
God I hate him!
Okay, more people than we expected but we can handle this.
But the one constant in everyone's life is change. And the changes started to roll in. Paul did not hit the lottery but he and his wife decided to come and bring along two of their Washington daughters and Sam was coming in from Philly.
Add five more to the list.
Then Michel called and her daughter from Los Angeles was making a quick trip to the east coast. Florida son still a no buuuut maybe he may get off work... but she doubted it... buuuut maybe!
Of course he got off work... and, of course, he is coming with his wife and four kids.
Add six more.
Then Sheree threw us a curve ball. She invited her son's wife's parents. Interesting twist... but all are always welcome to our Thanksgiving feast.
Hi nice to meet you. You know my sister Sheree... My name is Mark and my wife Cheryl and these seventy two people are the rest of my family. Don't worry if you don't remember all their names... I don't. Enjoy your time in our home.
These folks better bring a pie!
Cheryl and Noah started counting and the grand total is seventy five.
So, what am I thankful for.... Besides my secretary and her husband and their smoker. I am thankful for my family. I am thankful that Cheryl and I are able to care for my mom and that she has moments where all is clear. Thankful that so many have come home to see her. Thankful that we can get together and give thanks to God for a mother that was always there for us.
In one of her less lucid moments, my mom asked me if she had other kids. I told her yes, that she had six of us. She then asked if she were a good mother.
I told her that she was the best.
Today, seventy five of us will let her know exactly how good of a mother that she was.
Happy Thanksgiving to all. I hope all of you have an opportunity to spend time with your family and give thanks for all that God provides!