From our turkeys to yours…..
A most blessed and peace-filled Thanksgiving!
The Mayor and the Sheriff wish you all happiness…
The life of a Christian is to be different than the life of the unbeliever.
Like all human beings, Christians need certain things of this world to live,
but Jesus calls us to be primarily occupied with living for the kingdom.
If we do this, He promises that the things we need for life on this earth
will be given as well.
from Fulfillment of All Desire
I may have mentioned this before but my husband is an avid outdoorsman.
He’s been this way ever since he was a young boy.
Such is the predisposition of anyone having grown up in a more rural
area of the state.
And despite my having been born to a city a dwelling family, I too love the outdoors.
Now my husband has hunted and fished his whole life—
and I must say that one of the more colorful seasons of hunting is that of turkey hunting.
The other morning we were outside on the back deck, grabbing our first cup of coffee
for the day, when I heard that unmistakeable wobbling echoing from deep within the woods…
If you’ve never heard a real turkey gobbling–do a quick youtube search in order to hear
that worbbly gobbling because it really is quite humorously unique.
Being the ever-ready hunter, my husband had his turkey call mouthpiece within arms reach.
With a glint in his eye and turkey call ready to pop in his mouth, he tells
me to “listen and watch”…
My husband then proceeded to make that lovely musical sound for any and
all male turkeys…that chirping sound of a female hen looking for amore.
Sure enough—there was an echoing return, a gobbling that was louder—
and I could tell the sound was closing in.
My husband “putted” again (that’s what you call a female’s response).
The responding male, or tom turkey, was now louder and much closer.
Turkeys crack me up.
They aren’t the smartest birds in the wild.
The male gobbler, or tom, will literally come in running, puffed up, tail unfurled,
strutting his stuff, in an attempt to look as attractive as possible
for his “lady”, when he hears the call.
Sadly however during hunting season, that ‘lady’ is often a hunter looking
to put a turkey dinner on the table.
And so it is with this thought of calling in turkeys that my thoughts have turned toward
Washington D.C as our capital seems to be rife with its fair share of turkeys…
both toms and hens.
A rafter of turkeys—with a rafter being what we call a flock of turkeys.
Washington is plumb full.
It’s kind of how I feel when I see a certain youthful and prideful politician wag her finger at
the camera all the while extolling the issues as to why the opposition dislikes her.
Despite being a female, this particular politician puffs up for the camera much
like a tom turkey, with a most youthful and prideful zeal, much like that of
the tom turkey—
all the while acting more like a jake…a jake being a young male turkey who
lacks that old tom wizened wisdom.
She’s too young and too inexperienced to understand what makes wisdom what it is…
She falls prey to what she has perceived as real but in actuality is false.
Something that an old and wiser turkey would know to be false.
The older birds are not lured in as readily to an initial call as
are those younger more eogtistical birds.
Falsehoods such as a farce of some far fetched expensive new Green Deal—
or that of polarizing Socialism.
She has temper tantrums, screaming as loud as possible, popping her head back and forth
in an effort to silence what is Truth…a display indicative of a younger,
more inexperienced turkey.
The Henny Penny, the sky is falling lunacy that now besieges us…
The world will end in 12 years.
The Republicans amended the constitution to end FDR’s run.
The methane resulting from a cow’s excessive flatulence will kill us.
On and on she rants…puffing up ever grander and larger while feeling her oats
in hopes of luring in the unexpected.
But what of the other turkeys…what of those who now demand that convicted felons
should be allowed to vote–when a key component to breaking the law is to lose that
same right to vote…
a repercussion, a consequence, of not following the rules…
Yet turkeys find repercussions passe…
Just like allowing illegal aliens the right to vote in a country of which they are not citizens..
May the dead now recast their votes.
Or what of all the chatter over reparations?
What of those turkeys…turkeys who puff up all feathery for those unseen voters promising that
slave owners and businesses that profited from such, albeit it now 200 years past, must
repay those of some sort of slave heritage…
How might that ever work???
Turkey’s don’t care care how things work… not as long as they look puffy and pretty
for those luring calls
And what all turkeys must remember…someone is always patiently waiting
in the wings, waiting on having a naive turkey over for dinner.
Talk no more so very proudly, let not arrogance come from your mouth;
for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him, actions are weighed.
1 Samuel l2:3
“You must speak to Jesus, not only with your lips,
but also with your heart; actually, on certain occasions,
you should speak with only your heart.”
— St. Padre Pio
I collect sheep.
No, not real live sheep…but I kind of wish I did.
Think rather more like sheep/lamb figurines, prints, paintings…
And no, it’s not excessive or of the kitschy or silly…think more unique and even antique.
However, the latest acquiring is a bit silly but since we shared the same name, I really
had no choice.
I’ve got several of these sheep sitting on my kitchen counter above my sink.
They sit or stand, depending on the sheep, perched amongst various Icons that also
occupy this now apparently sacred space…the space above the kitchen sink.
And so it just seems natural that this particular space should be scared as it is
a space where I spend a good bit of my time…
in the kitchen and at the sink.
In some regards, I have these things here to help keep my mind on that which is greater than
as well as beyond.
Helping me to redirect my thoughts…
And it was especially important when I was still teaching and was in definite
need of redirecting.
My love of sheep goes back to the line in the confessional prayer from the Book of Common Prayer:
ALMIGHTY and most merciful Father; We have erred, and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep.
We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts.
We have offended against thy holy laws.
We have left undone those things which we ought to have done;
And we have done those things which we ought not to have done;
And there is no health in us.
But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us, miserable offenders.
Spare thou those, O God, who confess their faults.
Restore thou those who are penitent;
According to thy promises declared unto mankind In Christ Jesus our Lord.
And grant, O most merciful Father, for his sake;
That we may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life,
To the glory of thy holy Name.
For you see, I am that straying and erring sheep in need of a Shepherd.
And so, sheep have spoken to my heart ever since I first learned of our similarities.
And I keep an eye out for the unique and special during my jaunts.
So when visiting the gift shop at Andrew Jackson’s home The Hermitage, I recently added to the
collection when I picked up a ceramic sheep made by artisans at the Colonial Folk Art guild
The sheep was named “Jules”…a name that many have called me throughout my
So it was a no-brainer.
Jules the sheep now sits by another ceramic sheep.
A black sheep that is more reminiscent of soot than wool.
He is quite round with nails acting as his legs.
A sheep that I suspect is from a raku firing where the pieces are fired to a certain temp then
removed from the kiln and placed into a metal can (metal trash can) that is usually filled with straw.
The ultra hot ceramic piece causes the straw to burn and naturally darkens the clay piece.
This black sheep is stained much like a raku piece.
My aunt picked him up from an artist in North Carolina and it was actually the last gift she
ever gave me.
It was a Christmas gift a year ago this past Christmas.
My thoughts are gravitating to this little black sheep because it was a year ago this month,
on the 12th actually, that my aunt died—dying suddenly while undergoing treatment
Now granted my aunt has “gifted” me with a few other things since her death…”gifts”
that her daughter had given me following my aunt’s death.
Gifts such as a few antique wooden duck decoys, a few of my aunt’s beloved turkey collection
(think me and sheep…well she was that way with turkeys…go figure)
as well as an ancient armless rocking chair that was my grandmothers.
My aunt’s daughter, this cousin of mine, actually passed away 6 months following my aunt’s
death…so we have closed a door on that small bit of family.
All of these thoughts of sheep and gifts came to mind when I read the words offered today
by Padre Pio…
The good friar admonishes us to remember to speak not always with only words but at times,
more importantly, we are to speak with our hearts…of which I suspect is more ‘actionary’…
demonstrative in the actions of a living embodiment of the Spirit within.
A thought which actually makes me think of the importance of what it is that we leave behind…
that which we leave behind to those who follow us…
Do we leave behind merely things..things that sit around collecting dust or simply conjuring
up forlorn memories…
or do we leave behind an example of that which is so much greater than ourselves…
a polestar that points others to the One who is so much greater and everlasting…
Sometimes the heart speaks louder than the mouth…
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
“I have learned that if you must leave a place that you have lived in
and loved and where all your yesteryears are buried deep,
leave it any way except a slow way, leave it the fastest way you can.
Never turn back and never believe that an hour you remember is a better
hour because it is dead.
Passed years seem safe ones, vanquished ones,
while the future lives in a cloud, formidable from a distance.”
Our trip to West Palm Beach was long, short, sad and wrenching.
653 miles spent driving down on a Friday…
only to then turn around and drive it all back again on a Monday.
It took about 10 hours, with only one quick stop for gas.
Coupled by a constant flow of bumper to bumper traffic hurling itself,
as if lemmings on some odd unknown mission, to an unforeseen southward destination.
We drove and we drove to what seemed to be the ends of the earth…
but that would have been Key West and that would have required more time with
more stops than our backsides would allow.
The color of the sky changes when one is traveling so far south—
It goes from the more familiar north Georgia’s typical hazy blue sky,
to a faint veiled gauzy cloudy azure blue…
Maybe it’s because the land lays so flat, punctuated only by pencil thin palms
as the soil is more white sand than dirt…
and with the sun so intense, light easily reflects back upon itself.
The heat of day does not dissipate with the waning of a day as it does at home.
It doesn’t back off when the sun finally sets, providing that long awaited
respite of comfort.
There is actually a tremendous heaviness that engulfs one’s whole being…
this being due to the overtly high humidity which makes breathing nearly
And I thought our humidity was bad.
Moving from air conditioned buildings, which is essential to survival,
out to the oppressive heat and unrelenting sun leaves glasses fogged over
and skin and clothing feeling sticky and oddly wet even before one has had
proper chance to sufficiently break a true sweat.
This is the place Martha called home for the past 30 years.
A far cry from the years spent in Alexandria, Virginia during the early years of
I now understood why…for despite the apparently tropical beauty,
Martha would always protest…
“no no, let me just come up there”…
And because of that one fact, of her always wanting to come to us as she
would always prefer to venture north,
this was our first visit to West Palm Beach.
Martha would drive or fly up several times during the
year, staying for a couple of weeks at a time,
back to state she still considered home…
or more specifically near the city of her birth and raising….
I can’t really say all that I should or would like to at this point
about all of this…not yet.
Having lost three of the most important people in my life in the past six months
has simply taken its toll…
As processing the emotions, memories and feelings of such emptiness
will take some time.
One by one… the supports and shorings are now gone…
Those that helped to hold up the life I had always known…
This is part of the transition where I become the shoring to others…
a transition that denotes change, loss, growth and new…
all rolled uncomfortably into one.
My cousin, Martha’s adopted daughter,
had asked that I come to the house the day following the funeral
to see what if anything I would like to carry back home with me.
Martha was an avid antique collector…
and her collections were eclectic at best…
old antique Papier-mâché halloween decorations with a proclivity for pumpkins.
North Carolina’s famous family of folk art pottery, the Meader’s ugly jugs,
along with the primitive pottery of Georgia’s Marie Rogers.
The Ohio Longaberger baskets numbering in the hundreds…
to early vintage RCA radio dogs..
all the way down to antique turkeys of every size and shape.
I was really overwhelmed when we walked into the house and actually saw
the level to which some of the “collecting” had spiraled.
Her house not equipped for the excessive spillover.
My cousin immediately asked if I would like Martha’s sterling silver
Once was a time, long long ago, when every young bride
looked to building her proper entertaining set of silverware.
Receiving the coveted wedding gifts of silver pieces was as common
as the throwing of rice…
That being a particular pattern of sterling silver complete with
utensils and serving pieces.
Everything from teaspoons to seafood forks to butter knives….
As that now all seems to be for a time that was more civilized than
our own today.
But already having my mother’s and great aunt’s sets…and truth be told,
as my world shrinks, entertaining and cooking is now not nearly what it once was,
I tried to instill the importance of her keeping the monogramed set for both her
and her own daughter.
But when she opened the dusty old silver chest, my eyes locked immediately on the
well tarnished bundle of silver drink spoons / straws…
or what we had always referred to as sippy straws or spoons, depending on who
was using them.
While growing up, whenever we visited my grandmother,
we were always served a tall glass of icy cold
Coca Cola complete with a silver sippy straw.
Coke never tasted so good as when sipped through an elegant silver straw.
It provided a seemingly civilized air of savoring verses gulping and quaffing.
Probably Mimi’s way of getting us to slow down, enjoying and not wasting…
as she was a woman who lived during a time when waste was indeed considered sinful.
The straws were always kept in a certain drawer in my grandmother’s kitchen…
inside the 1920s small Atlanta Buckhead home.
A pale wooden light green kitchen cabinet, I can still see clearly in my mind’s eye,
was where the straws, always shiny and polished to perfection, were stored.
In 1989, when my grandmother passed away, Martha and I were the only two left to
the task of sorting and emptying the house for market.
She got the straws.
I had always wanted just one…
just one to remember.
Over the years I’d see other straws at various antique markets and silver stores,
always thinking I’d buy myself just one,
but in the end deciding it just wouldn’t be the same…
It wouldn’t be one of the straws I’d gleefully
retrieve out of the pale green drawer, delightfully anticipating plunging
it into my frosty glass of brown fizzy liquid…
as I’d gently clench the straw between my front teeth,
feeling the cold drawn liquid being pulled up into a parched waiting mouth…
So refreshing because Mimi’s house, back in those days, was not air conditioned…
an icy cold Coke, on a hot Georgia summer’s afternoon,
seemed like the greatest treat a child could have been given…
I asked my cousin if I could have the straws.
She was 10 years younger than I was and did not have the same fond memories
from time spent with our grandmother.
Being so much younger and living so far away, never afforded her much time to
bond with the long widowed woman with the poodles there in Atlanta as I had.
I had been the only grandchild for many years and we only lived 10 minutes away.
Plus Mimi was not a warm and fuzzy grandmother like others and what warmness
there was, faded with her mind as the dementia grew more and more.
My grandmother had lived a hard life.
A life that she had forged alone for herself and her two daughters during
a depression and a World War as a widowed woman…
long before it was common for women to own a business and work outside of
Both of which she did very successfully for most of her adult life.
My cousin was more than happy to give me the straws and seemed almost
sad that I really didn’t want to take much more as her task is now daunting
as she figures out what to do with years of accumulated treasured stuff.
This as I still have my own years of stuff to sort through at Dad’s.
As both cousins are now left to the task of picking through,
as well as picking up, the pieces—
all of what stays and all of what goes.
My cousin tells me that she wants to sell the house, eventually moving northward
where there are actually seasons, hills and trees…
verses living where the sky meets the ocean coupled by the
oppressive heat, humidity, and an azure blue sky….
I think I’ll polish my straws and then do something I haven’t done in years…
I’ll pour myself a Coke, a real Coke…bottle only mind you,
over a tall glass of ice…and I’ll plunge a straw deep down into the glass of
cold fizzy liquid as I draw up the memories of lives once known but always loved.
If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, “thank you,” that would suffice.
“Anything I cannot thank God for for the sake of Christ, I may not thank God for at all; to do so would be sin. … We cannot rightly acknowledge the gifts of God unless we acknowledge the Mediator for whose sake alone they are given to us.”
“Is that . . .”
A turkey in a cat litter box lined igloo cooler?
Why yes, yes it is.
And why do I have a turkey sitting in a cat litter box lined igloo cooler you ask?
Well, since I thought we could all use a good dose of humor today, I’m providing a link for the post I offered up this time last year. You know, the one about my attempts at brining a turkey. . . You remember the one. . . When I put the big bird in a brining bag, filled with the 5 gallons of solution only to have the bag split open in mid step as I began to transfer the very heavy and giant oh so wobbly bag of bird and brine to the refrigerator, only to have the entire contents of the bag, all 5 gallons worth of liquid, slosh out of said split bag, cascading onto my new kitchen rugs and all over the hardwood flooring?
You didn’t forget that little escaped did you?
Well incase you did, perhaps reliving that little holiday mishap is in order. I think by now, with all the food, all the family, all the weather, all the news we don’t want to think about, a little humor just might do us all some good!
It was the true stuff of nightmares and of legends all rolled into one. Plus it was a very cold rainy day—it’s all coming back to me. . .
And whereas Dad won’t be making the trip over this year for Thanksgiving, as they don’t feel as if they can make the drive which means they won’t get lost again, we, on the other hand, will be going over to our son and daughter-n-law’s house to share, along with all of her family, their first Thanksgiving as a married couple. I’m certain there’ll be a story to share after this event of new togetherness!!
Despite not hosting this little annual shindig, I am cooking, not only brining but preparing to take this little fowl show on the road. Two cooked birds driving in the back of my car. . .hummmmm. Should prove to be very interesting later today. . .
When it came to this year’s brining, I was ready—the strongest bag I could find in the house was a cat box litter liner. Forget those whimpy brining bags, I needed hard core.
And as for some sort of reinforcement for the liquid and bird filled bag verses sitting a bag and a bird on some flimsy little tray, a cooler was the biggest thing I could find to put the turkey in.
Is brining necessary?
I’ve cooked many a turkey without it, but when one is offering up Thanksgiving Turkeys (yes this year there are two) to one’s new in-laws. . .brining sounds impressive and will hopefully prove beneficial.
Yet before I let this day pass, basking in what I hope will be a thankfully successful meal with family, new family and fiends, I wanted to take a moment to thank you.
All of my friends in this blogoshpere of ours who stop in for visits on this little blogsite world of mine.
I want to thank you for becoming a part of my circle of friends.
For your insights, for your prayers, your wisdom, your interests, your comments, your kindness and for sharing your life with me as you allow me to share mine with you.
I am blessed and my life has been made the richer for each of you!
So on this day of thanks, may I say to you, Thank You!
Now fingers crossed the new in-laws like the turkeys (yes, plural as in there are two big birds)
While the cock with lively din, Scatters the rear of darkness thin; And to the stack, or the barn door, Stoutly struts his dames before; Oft list’ning how the hounds and horn, Cheerly rouse the slumb’ring morn”
(two different images of turkeys, strutting toms / Troup County, Georgia / Julie Cook / 2014
and contrary to popular belief, yes, this is the time for turkey activity, not November during Thanksgiving as on would believe)
A fragrant sweetness wafts lightly in the air from newly formed blossoms beaming bright in April’s first light.
Overhead, the endless blue ski beckons the aimless wanderer to come linger in its vastness,
All as the delirious breeze gently invites all to come lay down and drink in the heady scents and sounds of Spring.
Creation rejoices as both animal and insect ready themselves for the annual rituals of courtship. Neon colors, puffy shimmery feathers, shrill accented chirps, all various signs and displays of Nature’s love notes.
After the dormant silence of winter’s long slumber, the cycle of life begs to begin again.
Vibrancy and life mingle sweetly together offering tender notes of renewal and hope,
while a garish and overt Spring preens and prances before cold weary eyes.
Come dance and play is the rally cry of this season
Rise up you sleepy souls, whispers the wind, time is of the essence, Nature’s beguiling charms summons all to waste not.
Come quickly my friends, for it is now time to dance.