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[personal profile] tina_black
From 1982 until last year, I spent every Thanksgiving with John Daniel, Pati until 2006, Miranda, Bryant, John J while that marriage lasted -- and all the folks who gathered with them at the Taylor houses on Jefferson St and Wyandotte.

1982 was the first year John J and I made it to the big dinner Pati always prepared.  I was the first person she ever allowed to enter her kitchen on Thanksgiving, because she had found that I was her equal at cooking.  She could tell me "make dressing" and the results would be just what she wanted.  She also asked, that first time, if I knew how to carve a turkey.  I said yes, and that was the start of many years of carving.  So we worked together that year, and I brought the first of the pecan pies into their house.   I remember Mike Watson telling me it was better than his mother's -- and he was devoted to his mother's cooking.

That was also the day I discovered I had a slight jealous streak.  The phone rang, and John Daniel picked it up.  He sat on the steps and talked to the person who called at length.  I could tell by his face and his voice that whoever it was, he loved them very much.  Hm.  Later I asked who had called, and he said it was his mother.  That told me a lot about him, and about her.  I think I also decided permanently that being jealous was a waste of time.

After that first year, the years melted together for 10 or so -- turkey at 2, dessert at 6, and Thanksgiving most often went until 1 AM.  Games -- charades and Encore.  Cindy McEldery's pies, the brownies with caramel that even Dani Lites couldn't finish (but that John Daniel polished off for breakfast over the next few days), the cheesecake that disappeared by 3:30, consumed by those who were afraid they would miss it if they waited.  The dinner itself was Pati's sole production until the year I started cooking with her -- and even then almost all of it was a Taylor gift to the people who came.

As the years passed, more and more people were allowed into the kitchen for various tasks. 

Then Pati had a major stroke.  At the first Thanksgiving after that, all the folks who had been coming for years brought dishes and sides to their house on Wyandotte, and Pati did the turkey.  It may have been the last of the huge gatherings.  By the next year the dining room table  was gone (and the person I was married to as well), and Thanksgiving became very small 

For several years John and I made dinner for Pati, Miranda, him and me.  We kept it to turkey, potatoes, dressing, gravy, Tucker's Ruin, green beans, and two pies.  I recall Miranda making a dinner plate for Boo the dog, which made me giggle.  Finally one year, John declared that we shoulod go out for dinner.  He did this while we were   grocery shopping, and I said "OK.  Well I am still going to get turkey."  I got all the things for my part of a dinner.  On the night before Thanksgiving it snowed -- and Pati's wheelchair could not go through snow.  So I called him.  "OK,  the turkey is in the oven, the pies are baked and the potatoes are ready to go.  What can you add?"  
"Green beans?  But I don't have onions for the top,"
"I have onions.  See you after 1:00."

The next year or three we successfully went out to Nichols for their Thanksgiving dinner.  It had a set menu, and was very nice.  Eventually, Pati went into a nursing home, and John's mother moved to Kansas City, first at his house and then at Carondelet Manor.  We had dinner at the buffet on Bannister Road, with me picking up his mom  and John getting Pati.  "Three seniors and one adult."  Hmph.  They told me my turn would come.  Last year it was down to John Daniel, his mother, and me.  His mother passed away the week of Christmas last year, so last Thanksgiving was the last time I saw her.  And this year, I lost John.

But I remember Thanksgiving,


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