• Last modified 925 days ago (Nov. 25, 2020)


Another Day in the Country

Quit complaining

© Another Day in the Country

There’s a day coming up, Thanksgiving, which is a traditional time of year to count your blessings. Some of us even write them down on little pieces of paper, or take turns going ’round the table telling our loved ones what we are thankful for — right at the dinner table.

I hear people complaining, “I just want this to be over!”

Don’t we all? But it isn’t over ’till it’s over and wearing masks helps. Get with the program! Wear a mask, for Pete’s sake. It’s not that much to ask. One day you may even be thankful that I reminded you!

I’m suggesting you start early, making your list of things to be thankful for because this would be a very good year for the list to be long, almost endless, as we recite all the ways that we are grateful for our family, for our health, for our freedom, and for our food!

Each of those things that I mentioned above largely depends on other people to do their part.

Let’s take food, for instance. Is there anything going to be on your Thanksgiving table that you grew yourself? Potatoes? Carrots? Do you still have tomatoes from your garden wrapped up in your pantry? Are there things you canned? Did you butcher the meat?

If the answer is “Yes,” and you list the items, rejoice at your table, giving thanks for the strength to garden, your plot of land, and the fact that you are living in the country.

I’ll tell you what’s going to be on my table, and none of it was I able to grow. Items from my garden have been gone for more than a month. Now I’m dependent upon the grocery store owner, his employees (who risk getting sick every day, coming to work to serve us — hopefully with masks on), the truckers who haul it to Marion County, and the dock workers — the list can go on and on to some farm in California, Mexico or Brazil where the food was grown and harvested by other hands. I give thanks for all of them!

We always have Grandma Ehrhardt’s style of sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving — even if we are visiting cousins in Lawrence. Gramm would bake the potatoes, quarter them and fry them in butter, put them in a casserole while she added cream to the frying pan, and cook it down to thicken a bit with a little brown sugar to give it a caramel flavor. You pour that cream over the sweet potatoes and heat in the oven until it bubbles. It’s wonderful.

My sweet potatoes were grown in Georgia. Thank you! And I give thanks for Gramm’s recipes. There’s more than one of her concoctions at our table.

It’s just Jess and me this year but we still indulge in our favorites and set the table elaborately as if we were entertaining royalty.

I give thanks for my sister. Not everyone gets to live beside their sister for 20 years. I’m so blessed.

Cream often is the magic ingredient for Gramm’s recipes, and here’s the next one. Pineapple grape salad — a luscious concoction with equal parts pineapple bits, tiny marshmallows, and halved red grapes all folded into pineapple juice infused whipped cream. You make it the night before and let it all bond into this light and airy salad. Yummmm!

Thanks Gramm, thank you dairy farmers who got up early, thank you cows for sharing your abundance, and thank you Weight Watchers for helping me lose weight so I could indulge again in a small helping of this outrageously delicious food.

Turkey is on the menu. I got a turkey breast. I’m picky and really only eat white meat, so thank you to all the people who eat the rest so it doesn’t go to waste.

We have to have mashed potatoes and gravy. My potatoes came from Idaho, and the gravy is Mom’s recipe for sour cream gravy, which you render down into butter cracklings, adding potato water and seasoning. Thanks, Mom, for teaching me how to make it, and thanks for the house you had us build in Ramona — we’re cooking here today.

The table we eat at is my Aunt Anna’s old table, wobbly legged and splintered on top, but like her, I like its size (big enough) and shape (round); so, I just cover the splinters with a table pad and the pad with a variety of table clothes.

Thank you to the people who make those colorful, round, cheap table coverings from India, and I even give thanks for Amazon, even though they are getting incredibly wealthy with all this sheltering in place during a pandemic. I’m still giving thanks for the ease of ordering what we need, and those friendly guys who deliver it — even to Ramona. Thank you postal deliverymen.

We’re having our own frozen corn for Thanksgiving which means Jirak Bothers Produce grew it, and I shucked and froze it. Thank you Jiraks, and thanks for hiring all those kids I know to help you in the fields. Planting, producing and harvesting food is hard, grueling work. Thank you for picking it at just the right time. 

I’m thankful to the TC Telco guy who came by the other day and fixed my Internet service, so that on Thanksgiving afternoon we can watch some new show on Netflix, which reminds me to thank all the movie makers and technicians who are offering us things to laugh at so that we remain sane through quarantine. 

I give thanks for each of you, safe in your homes today, reading this, and thank you to all the folks at the Record who work odd hours to keep us informed, well, and happy on another day in the country.

Last modified Nov. 25, 2020