Tag Archives: thanksgiving

An absent-minded priest and a moist turkey

We’re in the middle of a very nice four-day Thanksgiving weekend, at least for me, that is. This is Mrs. Poolman’s year to work the Thanksgiving holiday and to be off for Christmas. She was at the hospital  on Thursday and today (Saturday.)

With Mrs. P taking care of babies and both our children doing the day-side of the holiday with their husband’s and girlfriend’s families, I had a quiet day to myself.  I went to 9 o’clock Mass where I was scheduled to lector. That is usually an adventure, especially when Monsignor C is celebrating. I really like the Monsignor. He is a 70+ year old Irishman with a dry sense of humor. We get along very well. However, he tends to change things and not tell the other members of his team. On Thursday, we couldn’t find any copy of a “Prayers of the Faithful” for that date. When I asked Monsignor about it, he said, “Oh, they are in a special booklet. I’ll have to give them to you at the altar.”

Oh, great, that meant a “cold read.” That’s not usually a problem unless there are some difficult names in the petitions for the deceased, sick, etc. Then Monsignor decided to skip the Creed, which is normally my cue to go to the podium to read the Prayers. As it turned out, as I walked up to the altar, our other priest, Father John, met me half way and handed me the booklet. No problem, after all.

Actually, I have been doing the lectoring long enough that I can roll with the action pretty well. Just about everything that can go wrong has done so for me at one time or another. I do become a little concerned about some of our younger lectors, many of whom are some of my former CCD students who I have recruited and coached. They are significantly less confident about handling some of Monsignor’s curve-balls.

I spent the rest of the day hanging out, working on some photos from a friend’s daughter’s wedding I shot a couple of weeks ago and finishing preps for the Thanksgiving meal. My main responsibility was the turkey. At Mrs. P’s suggestion, I tried a radically different roasting technique. I have cooked holiday turkeys more times than I can count. Usually, I roast it covered with foil at 325 for about 4-5 hours,, uncovering for the last hour and periodically basting. I may never do that again. Here is a great method that produced a fantastic, very moist bird.

1. Prepare the bird as usual, seasoning it and placing an apple, celery and a bay leaf in the cavity.

2. Place in a covered roasting pan and put it into a cold oven.

3. Turn the oven to 450 degrees and when it pre-heats to that temperature (about 15 minutes) set your timer for one hour.

4. When the timer goes off, turn the oven off and just let it sit for five hours. DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN!

I was a skeptic. I didn’t think it would work, but it sure did. Our turkey was a little over 15 pounds. You might need to adjust a little for a larger bird. I really don’t know. The key was the white meat was very moist, which I can’t say is always the case with my more traditional roasting technique.

Another advantage of this technique is that it would work very well to cook overnight.

The rest of the family came over in the evening and Mrs. P got home around 7:30 pm. So our holiday dinner was at 8:30 pm, but it was a great one anyway.

As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.

A longer post tomorrow, but in honor of Thanksgiving, I’d like to share this link. One of the funniest TV sitcom episodes of all time was from WKRP in the late 1970s. One season, their Thanksgiving episode featured a promotion of releasing life turkeys from a helicopter. The result was a true TV classic, and one of the great lines of TV comedy. “As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.”

If you don’t have the patience to watch the entire episode, wade through the initial commercials and then fast-forward to around 22 minutes or so.  Great stuff!

http://www.hulu.com/watch/322

Family, food and football — a very nice Thanksgiving weekend!

It’s Sunday evening of the Thanksgiving weekend, and Mrs. Poolman and I are just “chillin.’”

We had a very nice weekend. My sister, brother in law and recent-law-school-grad nephew came down from Greenville, South Carolina for the weekend, and we all had a great time.  Maggie is the middle of my three younger sisters, and the only of my sibs within a reasonable driving distance.

Mrs. P and I both took Wednesday off to shop, clean and generally get ready for the weekend. Company arrived on Thursday. Both our children and their significant others came over and contributed to the feast. We spent the day “visiting” and watching a little football. Dinner was all the usual – turkey, gravy, dressing, mashed potatoes, vegetables, etc. Son-in-law made the pies. Poolboy contributed about 20 pounds of mashed potatoes. Yummy!

We have two adult children, both of whom also have other family commitments. It’s interesting that we have absolutely no problem coordinating holiday schedules with one of the families. With the other, it’s nearly impossible. Every holiday becomes a minor drama. I think the major issue is the other family cannot organize their own lives, which makes it impossible to coordinate with someone else.  A while back, we got frustrated with the whole deal. Now, we stake out our meal time and plans well in advance and just let it be known, so they can work around it, or not, as they will.

On Friday, we drove downtown and walked around River Street and the historic district.

The World War II memorial in Savannah's River Street

We stopped into one antique-salvage-junk store. My sister and both bought an interesting looking old window frame.

We'll see what I can do with this.

I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it. I may print up some individual family photographs and mount them behind the glass in each frame. I’m not a really “craftsy” person, so we’ll have to see how it turns out.

For Friday dinner, we cooked a low country boil (shrimp, potatoes, sausage and corn.) It broke up the non-stop turkey and turkey and ham sandwiches.

On Saturday, we watched football from lunch time to bed time. In our group, we had alums of Penn State, South Carolina and, of course, Florida. We were one for three on the day. How the Gators held FSU to less than 100 yards of total offense, and still managed to lose by two touchdowns is just amazing.

The Steelers are on Sunday Night Football. Maybe they will bring our weekend effort up to .500.

Back to work tomorrow. It hasn’t been the most exciting of weekends, but it was a very good one all the same.

Where did the time go?

Christmas looks to be fairly quiet for us this year. Both our children have jobs and other family obligations (in-laws and GF’s family). We’ll do a Christmas dinner at our house on Christmas evening, but it will probably be just the six of us, plus maybe just one or two additional guests. Nothing like the major family gatherings or “widows and orphans” holiday gatherings of years past.

For years, Mrs. P’s family got together for at least one, if not both, of the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. However, both her parents are now deceased. All the nieces and nephews are grown and have jobs and other obligations. We are past the time when the kids were out of school for two weeks and we could throw them in the car for a holiday trip.

It dawned on Mrs. P and me a couple of years ago – we are now at the stage in life that her parents were when we were first married. Then her parents were the gathering point for holiday celebrations. Now, the generations have move up one notch, and we are the center for our children and, eventually and hopefully, grandchildren.

Life moves on.

A good holiday weekend

A four day weekend is always great to rest the body and mind.

We had quiet Thanksgiving yesterday. Rather I should say I had a quiet Thanksgiving. Mrs. Poolman spent 12 hours at the hospital, caring for critically ill babies. I felt pretty good that I got my assigned tasks accomplished, but it doesn’t hold a candle to her productivity of the day.

I started with Thanksgiving Day mass. Monsignor C was quite impressed with the “crowd” at mass and said so. Actually, it was a very nice way to start the day. I saw and talked with several people I know. A brother-sister team of former and current students were the altar servers, and I talked with them. Monsignor C set a perfect tone and preached a good homily. Plus, he kept the whole thing short. We have so much for which to be thankful, it doesn’t hurt to start off the day on the right note.

I spent most of the rest of the day on my own. I cleaned the house, updated and balanced the checkbook and, of course, prepared Thanksgiving dinner.

Unlike most of our holiday meals, this was a small gathering. We had no out-of-town company. Of our friends, everyone was doing their own thing this year. Among family and friends, most of the kids are in their mid to late 20s with jobs, formal or informal “in-laws,” etc. It is very difficult to organize holiday gatherings with multiple family groups.

We had dinner scheduled for 8 p.m. since Mrs. P wasn’t scheduled to be home until 7:30. Writer Princess, Son-in-Law and Poolboy all contributed to the meal and joined us. (Poolboy’s girlfriend “GF” was off in Orlando with her family.) We thought we were going to have one “holiday orphan,” but he got a better offer at the last minute.

I was fairly happy with the way things turned out. Although I cooked only the turkey, green beans and rolls, I still had to coordinate all the other dishes through two ovens. Poolboy made the mashed potatoes. Writer princess fixed the dressing. Mrs. P pre-prepared a squash casserole and an artichoke dip for an appetizer. She also made the gravy when she got home. (I never have gotten the knack of making gravy.) SIL baked pumpkin and pecan pies.

So it was just the five of us until a couple of our friends/neighbors wandered down for dessert. Much quieter than typical Casa Poolman holidays, but very nice all the same.  Most of the rest of the weekend will be devoted to eating leftovers and watching football. Maybe a little shopping thrown in. Should be good!

It’s a holiday week!

I have been totally uninspired to write for the past couple of weeks. We certainly have been busy, but it’s been all the normal, not-all-that-interesting stuff.

It’s been a disappointing college football season. Our Florida Gators have flip-flopped back and forth from looking like world-beaters (not very often) to impersonating Sister Mary’s School for the Deaf and Blind.  There is one game left, against rival Florida State. We’ll see who come to play.

The newest addition to the Poolman family, Penny the Kitten, is doing very well. It took her about a week to figure out the other members of our animal sub-culture were pretty harmless. (You can get stomped by a large dog, but it won’t be intentional.)  She and Sid the Tailless have become tight.

Penny & Sid taking a "cat nap."

Sid gets in on a little grooming of his little sister.

She and Sammy, the younger, smaller dog, have hit it off big-time. They actively tease and play with each other, and Penny is holding her own just fine. Penny has actually gone up to a resting Sammy and curled up with her. I have tried to get a picture, but every time I start to point a camera at them, Sammy gets up and walks away. It’s like she is ashamed to be caught snuggling with a cat. Very weird.

Planning Thanksgiving has been a challenge this year. Mrs. Poolman is working Thanksgiving day, which means we won’t be eating the holiday meal until after 8 in the evening. You would think that would make it very easy to plan around our children, their in-laws, potential in-laws, etc., but you would be wrong. As of this afternoon, we got word that Writer Princess’s in-laws would not be coming. Her MIL is undergoing radiation treatment and doesn’t want to even leave the house. Quite understandable. WP and SIL will be heading out to their place early in the day and preparing a Thanksgiving meal there.

There are still a bunch of “maybes”. Poolboy’s girl friend’s parents are thinking about going to Disney World for the weekend. Maybe they will; maybe they won’t. Maybe GF will go along; maybe she won’t. As of this morning, we still weren’t sure whether to set places for five or 14.  Oh well. We’ll either have the right amount of food, or a ton of leftovers. Either way is OK.

These odd holiday schedules are nothing new for us. Mrs. P works either Thanksgiving or Christmas every year and alternates. I pretty much have the holiday meal preparation down to a science. I also get lots of help from others who prepare side dishes.

No CCD this week because of Thanksgiving. The break comes at a very good time.

Lots of great football this weekend — might as well enjoy it because the end is in sight.

Wedding pictures, a good bit of history and an old acquaintence

It’s been a busy, if not particularly interesting or exciting week.

Aside from running a few errands, I spent most all of Saturday and Sunday working on my niece’s wedding pictures and wedding album. The wedding was last September, so I don’t think I am rushing things any. I took more than a thousand photos, which I narrowed down to around 450 I cropped and touched-up all 450 and posted them on Snapfish.com. Then I created an album through Snapfish.com with about 200 of them. It was fun, but very time consuming.

Earlier this week, I got a call from the boss (who was out of town) that I needed to make a quick overnight trip to Atlanta to sit in for him in a legislative committee hearing. The trip was uneventful and I wasn’t called on to answer any questions, which is a good thing. The best part was an audio book I picked up at the library and listened to for the drive — “A Voyage Long and Strange” by Tony Horowitz. (Fortunately, the title did not also describe my drive.) I love most history anyway, so this was a no-brainer for me. Horowitz examines the “lost century” most Americans never learn much about in school, from Columbus’s discovery in 1492 to the founding of Jamestown in 1607. He tells of the various Spanish explorers who visited America long before the English showed up.  He tells the tales of Columbus’s ill-fated later voyages, Coronado’s expedition through the American Southwest, DeSoto’s “burnt earth” march through the Southeast, and more.

For the second non-fiction read in a row, I encountered someone I know, or knew, or at least met once. Michael Gannon was the Catholic chaplain at the University of Florida when I was a student there. I was not a very good practicing Catholic at the time, but then-Father Gannon was a very prominent character on campus. I remember being very impressed by Gannon celebrating a very well attended outdoor Mass  in the spring of my senior year. To this day, I cannot hear the Youngbloods’ song,”Get Together” (“Come on people, now, smile on your brother…) without thinking of the Mass on the Grass.

From Florida Trend Magazine

Since then, Gannon retired from the priesthood and settled down as a historian and history professor at UF. His books on the World War II U-boat war, “Operation Drumbeat” and “Black May” are both outstanding. In this book he is profiled as “The Grinch Who Stole Thanksgiving.” In the 1980s, he was quoted in a newspaper article describing a Thanksgiving-style meal between the Spaniards at St Augustine and the local Native Americans that preceded the Pilgrim’s feast by something like 50 years.

In any case, if you have any interest in some well written American history that is missing from most texts, this book is worth the effort.

Happy Thanksgiving!

We’ve been off of work for two days and it’s been busy.

Wednesday was mostly filled with preps for having a house full of folks for Thanksgiving the next day.

It works!

One project on my list was to repair our front post lamp. As I have mentioned before, I am not the handiest of homeowners. (I could really have used “More Than an Electrician” for this.)  Anyway, I figured if I could take it apart, I could see what was broken, buy a part and put it back together the way I found it. Well, it wasn’t as easy as that, but I got it to work all the same. The connections to the ceramic “socket” were rusted out and came disconnected. It wasn’t helped by the fact that the “floor” of the lamp housing was full of the remnants of about a zillion dead gnats, mosquitoes and other bugs. There is no need for a blow by blow description of the project. Suffice it to say, that courtesy of the guy at Ace Hardware, I found a replacement part, although not the exact same thing, and with a little improvisation, I managed to put it back together. When I turned on the power, the bulb lit up and it didn’t smoke, spark or catch fire. I call that a success.

Late in the afternoon, we took our lab to the vet.

Casey the Lab

He is getting older, although since he was a rescue adoption, we don’t know exactly how old he is. He has been moving very stiffly, and in the past day has seriously favored his back right leg. The vet reported he probably has arthritis, but he also has a torn ligament in the knee of his back leg. We are faced with a tough decision. There is surgery available to repair the ligament, but it is very involved, would be very painful for the dog, not to mention quite expensive. Given his age, I think we are going to treat the arthritis with medication and see how he does with the leg. We had a similar experience with our previous lab, and were very unhappy about the outcome. We allowed her to be opened up to remove a tumor. It turned out she had extensive cancer. They just closed her back up and sent her home. She died a few weeks later, but it would have been much more comfortable for her, if she hadn’t also had to recover from a major surgical incision.

Thursday dawned bright and sunny. I got up and went to 9 am mass. We have so many blessings, I really felt the need to give thanks “in person.”

After mass, I cleaned up the back yard, since I knew our Thanksgiving gathering would overflow to the courtyard and patio.

The courtyard

The patio

Mrs. Poolman did most of the cooking for this event. It is unusual for me not to be more involved, but I was occupied with the back yard, vacuuming the house, and so on.

The official “kick off” was to be at 4 pm, but our son and girlfriend (Poolboy and GF), and daughter and husband (Writer Princess and SIL) came a little early. We were joined by our friends/neighbors the W’s, Fran who works with Mrs. P, and SIL’s brother and wife who were holiday orphaned this year. We had one “holiday widower” in the group. Mark’s wife is a nurse who works with Mrs. P. She had the holiday duty, so Mark came over with their adult daughter. All told, we had 15 people for dinner. We almost always have a joint holiday celebration with the W’s. They contributed a fried turkey and various side dishes to the menu, to go along with our roasted turkey, baked ham and about a ton of other stuff.

The "spread"

As expected, we had more food than you could say grace over, and everyone seemed to have a good time. At least, if they didn’t enjoy it, they faked it real well.

It was a good day and I suspect we’ll be eating leftovers for awhile. Love those turkey sandwiches!

Thanksgiving week

It hasn’t been the most exciting week, but here are a few updates.

Mrs. Poolman’s shrimp and grits turned out great! Being a “born and raised” Yankee, this is a dish that I should not be inclined to like. When I first heard about it, I thought it sounded disgusting.  At the time, I could tolerate grits, but wasn’t real excited about them. And shrimp in some sort of gravy on top of them just sounded gross.

Oh my, has my mind been changed. I had them a year or two ago at a restaurant and fell in love. Mrs. P’s dish is even better. She sauted the shrimp with some blackening spice and then made a spicy creamy sauce to go with it. The leftovers are dinner again tonight. As soon as I can get Mrs. P to write down the recipe, I’ll post it.

Our barrier island boony stomping expedition last week produced fruit today. Reporter Mary Landers wrote a nice article on the project and her editors put it on the front page of the Savannah Morning News. If you are interested, you can see it here.

Mrs. P and I are both off work through the weekend. No CCD class tomorrow night, so we’ll just be kicking back until heading down to Gainesville for the Gator season finale on Saturday.

We are staying home for Thanksgiving. We’ve managed to juggle schedules so that both our kids (Poolboy and Writer Princess), Son-in-Law and Poolboy’s GF will be able to join us for dinner. Some of our good friends, the W’s will also be here. Like us, they have no family in town, so we almost always do our holidays together.

We also keep an eye out for holiday “widows and orphans,” a practice Mrs. P and I have done since the early days of our marriage when we were moving around the country and never had family close. I know one nurse from Mrs P’s unit will be here. We might pick up another widow or orphan before it’s over.

Saturday’s Florida-FSU game should be a good one. FSU is a traditional rival. Also, it’s Senior Day, which means it’s the last home game for Tim Tebow and a pretty great group of seniors. When they introduce Tim T, the applause may register on the Richter Scale.

And finally, Gator fans can breath easy. Urban Meyer put the issue to rest; he is not going to leave UF to go to Notre Dame. I never thought he would, but the rumor persisted. He’s got a great thing going where he is. The grass isn’t always greener. As a matter of fact, in February in Indiana, it isn’t green at all. Ha!

We have much for which to give thanks. Life is great!