I hope your Thanksgiving was as good as ours.
The missing element to this year’s celebration was that we were not able to be with our family – we would have loved to be in South Carolina or south Texas to be with fam. We missed you guys!
I remember family gatherings at the house in Premont, Texas. We’d spend a significant chunk of our summer there, and then come back for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Time with my cousins was always cherished. We would play Nintendo, swim in the pool, turn the AC way down in the bunkhouse and have pillow fights and sleep late, drink far too much Dr. Pepper, play “Sardines” all through the property, ride horses, work cattle, invent games on the trampoline, have foot races, drive the golf cart incessantly, beg the adults to take us hunting, play “kick the can” with Uncle Ray (he was super-humanly good at that game), play pool, play football, fight, shoot each other with bb-guns (well, only once, and it wasn’t me… Luke shot Dan… and Dan still has the bb in his leg to this day),play with a new litter of puppies or kittens, eat authentic Mexican food, place horribly large orders at Dairy Queen, have mud wars, swim in huge metal irrigation tanks, murder wasps, get stung by wasps, stay up too late, and do it all again the next day. Ah, childhood nostalgia.
I always hated wearing shoes as a child. Now that I think about it, I still do. So when we played outside, I opted for bare feet.
There were several large mesquite trees in the back yard. If you’re not from Texas, you probably don’t know about mesquite trees. What I mean is, you don’t know about them with the kind of existential knowledge I possess. You see, I would regularly become one with the mesquite tree – or at least part of it – when my poor bare hoof would become the unwilling recipient of a giant mesquite thorn.
Now, I’m no botanist. But I think mesquite thorns have demon poison in them. Because when you step on one, you just want them to go ahead and amputate the whole foot. Even after the extraction, you’re just miserable for a while. And you hate mesquite trees. You hate them so much. And you slowly learn to wear shoes outside. But not before you step on at least one more…
That was Thanksgiving back in the day.
But this year, we really had a great time with some beloved friends. Our friends Jed and Jenny invited us to Jed’s parents’ house for Thanksgiving. There ended up being several families there, all of whom we have become friends with, and it was quite an affair.
My phenomenal wife made some ridiculously good homemade-from-scratch dinner rolls, which wowed everybody.
And I must take off my proverbial hat to Jed Graham, who presented the best Thanksgiving turkey I’ve ever had. He smoked it, using a very special wood.
I had brought some mesquite back from Texas. Now I can’t say for sure if this wood was from a tree that caused me agony during my childhood. But it was from our backyard, so I can definitely say it was from a tree that I had a healthy dose of respect for.
I gave Jed some of that mesquite. He smoked the turkey with it. It took me to new culinary heights. I will forever love mesquite trees.
If you get tired of roasting or frying your turkey, consider smoking it. And when you smoke it, forget about hickory: use mesquite. You won’t regret it. And if you ask nicely, I have some mesquite logs in the shed I might be willing to share.