Uncle Arnold saves Thanksgiving

My mom died in the spring of 1975. That Thanksgiving my Dad thought he would do Thanksgiving as we always had done. He invited my Uncle Arnold who was my Mom's divorced brother and my husband and myself. I had been married maybe two years at this time. I have to give my Dad credit that he was trying to keep the holidays the happy festive family time they always had been. He was going to do Thanksgiving for us all, all by himself.

It should be noted that my Dad came from a different time and place than men do now, He brought home the paycheck and my Mom took care of all the household duties. Their husband/wife division of duties was very clear cut and very traditional. When my Mom passed my Dad had no clue how to even boil water. I gave him a recipe for stovetop chili. My Uncle Arnold lived in Dallas Texas but his ex wife and kids were in Minnesota so between places he would often swing by our house. He told me once "please teach that man another dish!. All he eats is chili. The pot stays on the stove constantly and he just keeps adding more stuff to it! If I never again have chili it will be too soon!"

Thanksgiving was a good 6 months after Mom's death and Dad seemed so proud and confident of his abilities. "I don't need any help he said proudly." As we arrived I saw potatoes and veggies simmering on the stove, buns and stuffing ready to go into the oven. Pretty impressive for a guy who half a year ago had no clue how to turn on the burners. "I don't smell the turkey yet" said my Uncle Arnold who snuck a peek into the oven. "Mel,,,,this turkey is raw! How long have you been cooking it?"  "20 minutes" said my Dad confidently, "just like the instructions said." Uncle Arnold just looked at him incredulously, "20 minutes a pound is what it said and this turkey must weigh 18 to 20 pounds!".

Well, Uncle Arnold put the veggies on hold and reset the oven. We had our Thanksgiving later than expected but we all had a good time laughing over Dad's cooking ability and reminiscing about all the great family Thanksgivings we had in the past with Mom and those future holidays which may be different but also promised to be good in their own way.

1973 Mom and her brother, My Uncle Arnold