My neighbors Parker and Patty are always telling me how proud they are to be a part of Port O’Connor, Texas. They say it is a great community and so friendly. Parker grew up in the country, a farm boy familiar with butchering his own Thanksgiving turkey. Patty was a city girl who never even cooked a turkey before the first time she ever tried after marrying Parker in 1951. She was unfamiliar with giblets, had no idea about cavities and carcasses, and really didn’t want to know.

Parker brought home a big old turkey from his daddy’s flock and encouraged Patty to plan the dinner. He wanted it traditional, so she planned it all. Potatoes and yams, beans and bread, turkey and dressing, gravy and cranberries were on the menu. A cookbook borrowed from a close friend was meant to guide her to the perfect dinner. But, you don’t know what you don’t know.

Despite reading and preparing and trying to follow the recipes exactly, Patty never really understood buttering the cavity, blanching the vegetables or some of the other cookbook language. So, as she prepared the dinner she missed a few steps.

When Parker and his invited guests sat down to dinner they found undercooked turkey, soupy dressing, over salted gravy and undercooked potatoes beautifully served in her best wedding china. The meal was basically uneatable but they all tried to choke it down. Finally in laughter filled tears, Patty brought bread and butter, sliced ham and pickles to the table for everyone to make a sandwich. They ate and laughed and planned next year’s dinner.

After years shared and life lived, thanks to Parker Patty has learned to cook almost anything well, because he has brought it all home. Squirrel and rabbit, hogs and venison, game and fin fish, elk and moose and she always figures it out. Still, it never fails that in this 67th year of marriage they still laugh about that first Thanksgiving dinner and the many tasty and delicious ones they have shared in the years since.

With great grands around the table, Patty will ask Parker to carve the perfectly roasted bird, they will bow and give thanks and celebrate another year together. But, if you ask Parker what his favorite dinner is, he just might say a ham and butter sandwich. It is not about what you eat or even where you eat it you know. Life’s not all about getting what you want, but wanting and being grateful for what you’ve got he says. Happy Thanksgiving!

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