Sunday, November 27, 2016
Instead of a full house at Thanksgiving, we managed a small gathering with seven people- our hosts, Virginia and Cedric. Their son, Owen, is visiting Greece with his Grandma Olga, who speaks Greek and Russian. They canceled the Russian part of their trip due to the unrest in that country. I brought avocados and gumbo. Theo is the family expert on guacamole, so he immediately set to work. I find it hard to believe that he got taller than me since the last time I saw him.
Virginia put him to work, cutting the ends of the fresh green beans.
Doug claims mashed potatoes and gravy is the best part of the feast. He brought two ten pound bags of potatoes and Cedric cheerfully peeled all twenty pounds of potatoes. The first batch is ready to cook.
The second batch waits in a large kettle for space on the stove top. Doug also brought gobs of cookies-his specialty-and a to-die-for lasagna. I filled a container to bring some home and dang, it got left behind.
Traditional turkey, smaller, and cooked split down the middle and flattened. A new method. The turkey cooks quicker and more evenly with breast not drying out by the time the legs are cooked. That also meant giving up the traditional stuffing. No one seemed to miss it.
Cedric made gravy by roasting vegetables, onion, carrot, parsnips, mushrooms, and celery. The veggies were yummy and so was the gravy, mixed with the liquid from boiled giblets and de-glazed drippings from the turkey pan. I don’t think Cedric left the kitchen at all until it was time to eat.
The guests were having a good time while all this work was going on. I taught Theo how to play cribbage and he beat me in a tight finish. Doug and I played Cribbage, cutthroat style. There was a game of liars dice going around. My brother Norman watched and snacked.
Jim was waiting for his turn, a challenge issued for a four-way game, Doug and Theo, he and I. All too soon, it was time to skype Laurie, Ken and Mason. Thanksgiving in their new house was downsized as well with just the three of them. And Kristanne was alone in Las Vegas. Her boys and their father are off to Idaho visiting their other grandmother. We could only hear her on the skype. We couldn’t get an image. But, everyone will be coming to Murphys for Christmas this year, just four short weeks away.
Doug put together, “cranberry man”, which has become a tradition. He looks different every year. This is a tease because Cedric likes the old-fashioned jellied cranberry sauce over the home-made varieties most of us prefer.
Meet cranberry man 2016 with a kiwi head.
Doug traditionally carves the turkey, too.
Jim took a family picture for us. We had corn bread, gumbo, persimmon, pear and pomegranate green salad, olive rolls, stir fry garlic green beans, baked sweet potatoes, home cured olives, olive tapanade and all the aforementioned delights. I’ve probably forgotten something, but I tasted everything. For a downsized feast, it was awesome.
Cedric made one pie. He always puts a decoration made with crust on his pies. This year, with the political situation, he made a scroll that represents the constitution with We The People engraved on the crust.
Virginia made her usual pear tart. The dessert bar was overflowing with cookies, fudge brownies with plump fresh cranberries and candy.
Giving thanks for the good things of 2016, cherishing family and good health, the predominant theme around the table. Life is good.
Sunday, November 6, 2016
The Day Of The Dead is on its fourth year as a celebration in Murphys. Here is a staged family out for a ride...
I don't know quite how different it would be in Mexico, but this is America, so of course, the dog rides in the back with the kids.
One of the vacation rentals puts on displays, and this year's theme was references to Frieda Kahlo. Beautifully done.
Folklorico representing various states in Mexico with traditional dances and costuming held in Murphys Park.
Kids and adults dress up and paint their faces in sync with the celebration. This group was watching the dancers with rapt attention.
Like a statue, this little girl didn't move once during the whole set of dancers.
When this fellow came out with two, long blades, I knew we were in for something special.
Flashing blades at considerable speed, over head and under and between his legs made for quite a show. But then, a repeat with a blindfold on had me gasping.
No small feat. And with dire warnings from the MC, "don't try this at home."
Folkorico music always very fast and invigorating, the costuming beautiful. Very enjoyable. Jim attended a Day of the Dead in Mexico and said the music was deafening.
A tourist attraction, with staged displays made for a nice outing, but for some people, the celebration is very real, about the death of and remembrance of a loved one.