Stories: Who We Have Lost

Like It Just Happened Yesterday

Who did you lose to Covid 19? LaVern Terry

The kitchen light tends to blink when we all gather for the holidays. I’m not one for superstition, but my sister always points it out and says it’s mom just dropping by to visit and say howdy. I think it gives us comfort knowing she’s in a better place and visiting us before we take on her role of cooking the turkey with all the fixin’s. We especially miss her lumpy mashed potatoes, her broccoli casserole filled with commodity cheese, and the one dish that was mentioned the most this year, her stuffing. It wasn’t anything special and came from a Stove-Top box or whatever Save-A-Lot sold. Maybe it was the consistency, with its crusty top and soft, gooey inside or maybe it’s just memories that were decades in the making.

Since I was a kid, Mom always made two stuffings for both sides of the turkey. The stuffing on the tail end was mixed with celery and onions while around the front had none of that. The front side stuffing was mainly for eight-year-old me as I didn’t care for onions and celery. I also thought that eating stuffing out of an animal’s butt was gross. Little did I know “my stuffing” would become the running joke for the next twenty-five years as mom would tell family members about it every year like it just happened yesterday. Her other reminder was jabbing at “my stuffing” and saying “here’s my baby’s” in a low patronizing voice. Well, she’s wasn’t wrong.

As we all inevitably got older and took our shots at holiday turkeys and dishes, we always surprised Mom with our cooking and prepping approaches. One example that comes to mind is when my partner and I were at my parents cooking a turkey for Friendsgiving celebration. Now, you got to understand that my folks are more old-fashioned and until she picked up a roaster, she simply stuffed the bird, threw it in a bag, and put it in the oven. Here we were, stuffing our brined turkey with vegetables and fruits followed by a butter and herb rub. Mom was just perplexed by our approach, exclaiming, “well, that’s the first time I’ve seen that.” She also wanted to smell the herb mix we concocted and the smell liked to have knocked her backwards. Again, she wasn’t used to our fancy approach to cooking a turkey.

After we visit her at our local cemetery and check on her Christmas decorations that adorn her grave, I hope to see the kitchen lights blink to let us know she’s visiting us back. We miss her every day and especially around the holidays but we also cherish those memories and talk about them like they just happened yesterday.

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