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I’ve missed a couple of days for my #30DaysofThanks posts.

I’ll admit…the emotions of my very, very good news on Wednesday sort of carried me through the holiday.  Our Thanksgiving was spent at my mom’s house.  In years past, it’s included my grandmother, my aunts and most of my cousins.  There’s usually a bit of drama in some form or other, as well as really good food and not a little alcohol.  We laugh, and tell stories and there are usually a few tears, as well.

This year, my grandmother is gone, cousins and aunts are living far away and our family gathering was reduced to my parents, my Aunt Cookie, her son and granddaughter, and his girlfriend, with Dave, the kids and I.  One of the benefits of such a small gathering is that there’s no heated talk of politics, nobody gets their nose out of joint, and things stay very low-key.  It was sad not to have everyone with us…for all of the chaos, I have some very cool, interesting, funny people in my family; but, the trade-off of getting to spend time really talking with the people who were there was wonderful.

Our biggest laughs came over the number of cans of black olives we still had on hand.  Typically, we must count at least two cans per branch of the family tree.  I’m pretty sure that an olive on a toothpick should be included in our family crest.  We also laughed over my “first Thanksgiving” story.

The first Thanksgiving after Dave & I bought our house, we decided to have our own Thanksgiving.  I’d never made a turkey or stuffing, so I needed to ask someone.

For years, I had insisted that I didn’t like stuffing.  The last time that I’d eaten it had been as a kid at my grandmother’s house.  But, when you have turkey, you’re supposed to have stuffing.  I knew the basics of our family’s recipe:  bread, bacon, celery, onions, sage, etc.  What I wasn’t sure of was how much vermouth to add.

That’s right.  Vermouth.

I called my grandmother and after chatting for a few minutes, I asked her about her stuffing recipe.  She ticked off the items and I checked them against my list.  When she moved on to the directions, I stopped her.

“What about the vermouth?”

“What?” she asked.

“The vermouth.  How much vermouth do I add?”

“There’s no vermouth in stuffing!”

“But… I have seen you put vermouth in stuffing!”


“Don’t you remember?  The time we all had Thanksgiving at your house, and everyone was so rowdy?  I remember somebody – maybe Boppy –  was making martinis and you were making the stuffing and told us all to get out of the kitchen.”

Silence, and then she erupted in laughter.

You could have heard that woman laughing in the farthest reaches of the planet.

My grandmother could hardly stop laughing to speak.  Apparently, I HADN’T remembered it wrong…that year, there WAS vermouth in the stuffing.  A little for the martinis, a little for the stuffing, a little more in the martinis…

After a few more chuckles, my grandmother walked me through the rest of the recipe, and I went on to make a passable version.

And, no.  Traditional stuffing does not have vermouth.  It’s just that, in our family, we prefer a very dry stuffing, baked, not stirred.

(I like mine without, thank you.)

I’m grateful for time with family, and the memories that I treasure of my grandmother.

I’m participating in #30daysofThanks, inspired by my friend, Amanda, over at www.memydogsmylife.com. We are finding one thing each day in November to be grateful for. Join in! Just use the tag #30daysofThanks and blog or Tweet your daily item.

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