Substitute turkey

December 23rd, 2014
Substitute turkey

Our oven died. Again.

It seems that holidays take a toll on our poor old oven. Last year it died halfway through roasting the Thanksgiving turkey, which was supposed to serve 24 guests. This year it took a header a couple of days before Thanksgiving. Long enough ahead that we found out there are no replacement parts for 33 year-old ovens, but not long enough so we could get a replacement oven installed in time for this Thanksgiving.

Luckily, our daughter, Ellen, has an oven. She volunteered hers to do the deed. Thank you, Ellen! Our hero.

Ellen called Thanksgiving morning. Her oven died.

I did mention in my last blog that not all Thanksgivings go as well as most. As it happened, Ellen’s oven finally failed late the night before Thanksgiving in the middle of baking pies. She had to call early (5:15) to head off the turkey stuffing. You don’t want stuffing sitting around inside the bird for several hours waiting to find an oven! And you don’t want to call on folks for a substitute oven at 5:15 in the morning either.

What are the odds? Two ovens dying in a row! That really hits the bottom. What a pain. One new oven installation coming up and an oven repair. The shopping time. The cost. The time. The effort.

But wait. Is that necessarily bad?

Of course not! We hit a double header and we won in overtime, to boot.  Let’s count this up again.

• We had a great turkey after all. Even though we had to go with a substitute turkey on the table for a while (my sister donated the one in the picture), we found another oven. The star attraction was cooked, thanks to one of Ellen’s friends, in time for this year’s guests.

• We have a funny story to tell. How many people do you know who kill off ovens two at a time

And for bonus points: The entire extended family is waiting for next year to see 1) if we can break even more ovens or 2) if the oven that cooked the turkey this year will die next year!

Ellen and her husband Gary are still the heroes here. They invite their friends to join us for Thanksgiving dinner and have done so for several years. It was one of those families who stepped up to the plate and volunteered the third oven just after sunrise. (And believe me, we’re looking into what kind of oven that is because it did a great job! Since we have to get an oven anyway...)

So, we learned yet another lesson about Thanksgiving to go along with all the other ones stretching back through the years: Intergenerational events are important. I can’t speak for the entire older generation of folks, but I like hearing and need to hear the raucous noise attendant to a house full of kids. I like to hear laughter. I like to see the play and feel the joy. I want the children who show up at my house to know that we are safe for them, that our generation is safe for them. I’m not a fuddy-duddy. Neither are many of the people my age that I know. 

Besides, Crys and I get to visit and play with younger adults. I view this part as critical because upon occasion my daughter proudly announces that it will fall on her to pick my nursing home! I reluctantly admit (privately, anyway) that I may very well need her attention to my care at some point. Down the road (a good long way, I hope) she, her husband, and their friends may also become the larger part of my social contacts.

I also view these interactions with the second and third generations as an integral part of the contract we make with the universe. We’re here to pass the baton, not just to run with it. How are we to get that done unless we interact? I’m thankful for my daughter’s friends. They’re good people. Their kids are growing up to be good people. I’m happy to spend time with them.

But enough of the serious implications. Aren’t you curious to find out how many ovens die next year? I am.

Until next time. How is your retirement going? Any interesting Thanksgiving stories at your place? How many ovens did you kill this year?

Ed Zinkiewicz

...the retired guy

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