Columnist

Laura Zoeller is a farm wife and mother who has been blessed with a wonderful – and funny - life.

The holidays are different here at the Zoeller house. Often, it is just our nuclear family at holidays, and we’re OK with that. We don’t generally have a great feast, opting instead for something simple to make and simple to clear away. That way, we maximize the amount of time we spend with one another.

It’s our tradition, and we like it.

However, we have often been invited to spend Thanksgiving at a friend’s house, and sometimes we choose to do that instead. This year we opted to go over for a few hours, leaving early because our oldest daughter and her boyfriend were expected here for an evening dessert.

When we arrived at our friend’s house, cooking was still underway. We added our dish to the pile and began visiting with the many familiar faces.

After our initial greetings had been made, I asked the hostess how I could help. At first, she said there was nothing I could do. After a few times saying no, she finally assigned me a task.

She asked me to use the turkey baster to take some of the broth from around the turkey and add it to the pot of broth from the giblets so she could make gravy. I was happy to oblige. Rather, I should say, I tried to oblige, seeing as how I couldn’t get any broth to stay in the baster.

I’d squeeze the bulb and the tube would fill with the hot liquid, but as soon as I lifted it from the pan, it would quickly dribble back out. After several attempts, I decided to suck some up and then turn the baster upside down while I made the 18-inch move to the gravy pot. I thought it would contain it within the tube. It was a bad move.

As soon as I turned it upside down, a high-velocity stream of broth shot out of the baster and onto the underside of my friend’s cabinets and wall. I was unsure if I had inadvertently squeezed the bulb, so, like a dummy, I tried again. A second stream of turkey juice sprayed the kitchen cabinetry.

I managed to wipe it up before she returned. I told her I hadn’t been very successful, and she came up with another plan. I would tip the turkey pan while she scooped broth out with a measuring cup.

When I tipped the pan, the turkey began to slide and some broth sloshed out. With one hand, I held the pan, and the other hand I tried to hold the turkey. I nearly dropped the 20-pound bird before I finally got a manageable grip on it. Eventually we got enough broth out to make an adequate amount of gravy, and then it was time to spread out the food.

There was so much food that it took the entire table, the entire island, and parts of one counter to put it all out. And the desserts weren’t even brought out until much later!

The time flew by the way it usually does when spent with good friends. We went away with full bellies and full hearts, remembering the true meaning of gratitude and filled with thanksgiving for our family that includes many people who aren’t related to us.

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