Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Now that the holidays are over ...

Now that the holidays are over and we’re tired of leftover turkey (okay, I still have a zipper bag in the freezer), it’s time to move onto broader culinary delights.

We had to wonderful meals this year. Turkey and all the fixin’s for Thanksgiving and lamb for Christmas. Both meals were roasted to perfection on the Webber kettle barbecue.

Tradition was the watch word last month for a large family Thanksgiving. With some 20 in attendance, the Karoly-Enriquez clan enjoyed a meal that was repeated in thousands of homes across this great land. Mashed potatoes, stuffing with rustic mushrooms, giblet gravy and German red cabbage complimented a 15-pound roasted tom turkey and honey-baked ham.

Thanksgiving has been my favorite holiday since childhood. As a kid it was mostly about the food. We always had oven-roasted turkey. Over the years, Dad roasted the heavy bird (always in the 20- to 22-pound range) on his no-name, non-descript barbecue rotisserie (you know, the kind with a half-dome hood that held the spit and motor).

Karoly Thanksgivings have rarely been used as R&D sessions. Mom prepared mashed potatoes, stuffing and gravy from the same family-tested recipes year after year. Good food was always placed on the table through my 18 years of home life.

One family custom always bothered me. In later years, each person at the table was asked to express what he or she’s thankful for. I don’t remember when this annual ritual started. Knowing my mother, it goes back to the 1950s or my grandmother’s table.

I have much to be thankful for -- a beautiful wife, three children who love the Lord, a son-in-law who loves my daughter and the most beautiful granddaughter on earth. The though of expressing all this in front of my siblings sent terror through my veins. I’d usually mutter, “I’m thankful for my life and please pass the gravy.”

As I said to the family this year before the blessing, I have a lot to be thankful for -- prime among that is my salvation in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. A wife who is a “fellow heir of the grace of life” (1 Peter 3:7); children who, after much discipline and instruction (Ephesians 6:1-4), have named the name of Jesus; and a 2 year old granddaughter who can recite “Jesus Loves Me” in toddlereeze all bring tears to my eyes. There’s much more -- like home and job -- all of which can be lost at a moment’s notice.

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