Thankful Day (With a Recipe)

Thanksgiving is the hardest time to be an orphan. Harder than Christmas, even. Mr. C and I have shared 8 Thanksgivings as orphans and even though I've gotten used to it, I don't like it and never will.

Since getting married eons ago, we alternated Thanksgiving and Christmas between the family on the bayou and the family on the prairie. Best of both worlds. And then the 5 years of hell began, 2 months after we moved from New Orleans to Kansas.

There were so many deaths - a sister-in-law's shocking and untimely death, followed 3 months later by my mother-in-law, then a year later my beloved father died, followed less than a year later by my father-in-law. My mother's cancer returned, she had a bone marrow transplant and never truly recovered. She passed away 6 months later. It was nothing like the "pretty" deaths they show in the movies.
We had to put 2 of our precious pets to sleep during this horrible stretch. There was no break from the grieving.

Then there was the lightening strike which set our house on fire around the time my mom died, (which thankfully only destroyed part of our roof and caused
some water damage inside our home) and the lawsuit we were forced to file on our neighborhood association, who tried to force us to replace the wood roof (that was hit by lightening, duh) with another wood roof. At least we won the right to put a fire-resistant roof on, not just for us, but for our entire part of the county.

And then, less than a month after our house was finally repaired from the fire, we were robbed. And then a month later, my parents' house caught on fire due to a careless roofer. My brothers had a falling out. Some friendships could not withstand the turmoil we were going through. There were days I just wanted to drive my car off a cliff - the only saving grace was that there are no cliffs in Kansas.

But through all of the grief and shock and fear and frustration and every other bad
emotion you can name, I survived. Mr. C survived. Our relationship survived. My family survived. There was a marriage, 3 births, reunions, new fur-babies, a new home, a new church, new friends. Hearts were healed.

So on Thanksgiving, I remember how much I have to grateful for. If I had not lived through those tragic years, I would not have become the person I am today. I wouldn't have so many of the blessings I have been given. And I have been given a wonderful gift: gratitude for what we do have. Gratitude for each day there isn't loss and pain. Gratitude for the people and pets I can still hug and tell "I love you."

Thank you all for taking the time out of your days to visit my blog, and for sharing your own wonderful lives at your own blogs. I hope you all have a day filled with love, wonderful food and knitting!

Mr. C's uncle and aunt take pity on the poor orphans and have invited us to join their large and exuberant family for Thanksgiving for the past few years. We have a great time and all I have to bring are the sweet potatoes. But not just any sweet potatoes. I am commanded to bring my praline-topped sweet potato souffle. It's a very easy and sinfully delicious taste of home.

Praline Sweet Potato Souffle

2 large cans yams (sweet potatoes)
3/4 c white sugar
1/2 c evaporated milk
1/2 c melted butter
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 c egg beaters (or 2 large eggs, beaten)
4 T good bourbon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350. Butter a large casserole dish. Drain the cans of sweet potatoes and put in large mixing bowl.

Mash sweet potatoes. Add all ingredients and beat with mixer until smooth.

2 c golden brown sugar
2/3 c all-purpose flour
1 c chopped pecans

2/3 c melted butter

Spoon over top of sweet potato mixture. Bake for 1 1/2 hour, or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean. If topping starts to brown too much, lightly cover with foil.

(Sorry I forgot to take a picture of the souffle after it came out of the oven. And now there's none left. They practically licked the bowl clean.)


Channon said...

I don't enjoy being a holiday orphan either. My inlaws happened to stay in town this year, so it was the five of us - my inlaws, the Knight and me, and Anne.

Faren said...

Oh, wow, those 5 years sound like hell. Glad you made it through. Thank you for sharing with us.

Dianne said...

Wow, I can't believe you came through that period with any sanity at all left intact.

Lots of [[[hugs]]] to you and yours.

P.S. That recipe sounds scrumptious!!!

Sonya said...

As horrible and unfair things have been for you, it is because of those very things that you are the person you are. Caring, compassinate,empathetic, loving and genuine in your thoughts and words.
The path you had to walk sucks!

But I like you very much.

Violiknit said...

Wow, you've been through so much; you must be an incredibly strong person. Thanks for sharing the souffle recipe; sounds extremely yummy :)

Life's a Stitch said...

Holy! Thank goodness for the good times.