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Thanksgiving stories from The Den

I threw it out there to my people of the dining room, “I need your favorite Thanksgiving stories for my article!”

All eyes were on me. No one offered me the slightest bit of a story. Hmphf, now what?

Thoughts ran through my head about how I was stuck writing about one of my favorite stories, but how was I going to put my Nell the goat story together?

Thankfully, one brave soul approached me with a hot tip.

“I was born on Thanksgiving,” Dot offered. She relayed that Dr. Hatcher made the drive over late in the day in his little Ford almost 88 years ago and her Grandma attended the birth. We giggled over Dr. Hatcher’s name. Get it? Hatch-er.

I wandered the dining room and threatened, “If you don’t give me your favorite stories, I will make them up and put your name in them.”

The folks in the room roared and I could feel the fear.

As I continued to wander, I heard a voice call my name. Barb motioned me over; she had a story for me.

In a cozy kitchen in Espanola, N.M., in the 1960s, Barb’s dad was preparing the turkey. This year, he decided he should cook the turkey in the microwave. And he popped that frozen turkey in, gizzard and all.

Seven hungry family members sat around the dining table anxiously awaiting the Thanksgiving meal. The bird came out of the microwave at its designated time, white (no browning going on there) and still frozen in the center. An alternative meal was served. I’m not so sure Barb’s family was thankful for the microwave.

I plopped myself down at another table and listened to Jerry, who grew up all over Colorado. His story takes place in Fort Morgan.

“Yeah, we killed a turkey. Mother raised lots of turkeys and the neighbor wanted the blood for blood pudding,” Jerry explained. As a borderline vegetarian, I was a tad bit grossed out.

On to the next story.

Our anonymous story donor shares with me that she was nine years old in Hollywood, Calif., at the time of this tale. Grandma brought out a quart jar of her home-pickled figs and the passing of the jar commenced. Placing a fig on his plate, Uncle would pass the jar to Brother-in-law and he, too, would place a fig on his plate. The key here is that the fig did not stay on the plate, nor was it ever consumed. The others at the table began to catch on and they, too, put a fig on their plate then removed it. Meanwhile, Grandma sees the jar is empty, with an, “Oh my gosh, I better get more,” off she goes to get another jar. While Grandma is gone, the empty quart jar is now working its way around the table again with the pickled figs winding up back in it.

Little did Grandma know, no one liked those pickled figs. As she was washing the dishes she commented to Uncle that she needed to double her recipe next year. Somehow Uncle and Brother-in-law spilled the beans (or should I say figs?) letting her know no one liked the pickled figs. Next year, they passed around a jar of apricot jam that Grandma made.

Now for my story.

I had everything organized. The turkey was in the oven, the aroma of a delightful meal filled the air, the pies were done and the relish tray was placed on the coffee table in the living room waiting for us to partake. Dan and I had quickly gone upstairs to review football scores on the computer when we heard a strange rustling from below. I curiously peered over the ledge. Screaming and laughing I flew down the stairs to chase my favorite goat, Nell, out of the relish tray. My sweet girl had cleaned out the carrots and was moving on to the next tasty treat.

We have French doors leading out to our patio. Miss Nell had mastered the handle with her mouth, allowing herself in to enjoy Thanksgiving Day as well. Nell disagreed with me as I shooed her out the door, which now stays locked at all times. Especially on cooking holidays.

I wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving full of great memories and laughter (thank you, Nell).

Keeping track

The U.S. Administration on Aging through our SHIP office has provided the Senior Center with copies of Personal Health Care Journal as part of the SMP project. Protect, Detect and Report. These journals are designed to help you with the following:

Protect your personal information:

• Treat your Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security numbers like a credit card number.

• Remember, Medicare will not call you or visit you to sell you anything.

• Save Medicare Summary Notices (MSN) and Part D (Rx plan) explanations of Benefits (EOB), but shred them when they are no longer useful. The senior center has a shredder for your use.

Detect errors, fraud and abuse:

• Always review your Medicare Summary Notice and Part D Explanation of Benefits for mistakes.

• Compare them to prescription drug receipts and your record in this Personal Health Care Journal.

• Visit to access your Medicare account online. Make sure to look for: charges for something you didn’t get, billing for the same thing twice and services that were not ordered by your doctor.

Report mistakes or ask question.s

• If you suspect errors, fraud or abuse, report it immediately! Call your provider or plan first. If you are not satisfied with their response, call your local SMP (the Senior Center).

Take the journal to all your appointments.

Ask yourself these questions before your health care appointment:

• Is this appointment going to be covered by Medicare or my other insurance?

• What are my symptoms? When did they start? What makes them better or worse?

•?What over-the-counter or prescription medications am I taking?

Write down the answer to these questions, as well as what happens during your visit, in this journal.

• Make sure that you understand what your physician is telling you before leaving your appointment. If you don’t, ask them to try to explain what they are telling you in a different way.

Take the journal with you when you travel, in case of emergency.

Use the journal when checking your Medicare and healthcare paperwork for accuracy.

Upcoming special events

Representatives of the Archuleta County Sheriff’s Department will be here on Wednesday, Nov. 30, at 12:30 p.m, to share with you how to “Protect yourself from burglary.”

Movie and popcorn

The 2009 Oscar-winning film “Avatar” takes us to a spectacular world beyond imagination, where a reluctant hero embarks on an epic adventure, ultimately fighting to save the alien world he has learned to call home. Enjoy this great film in our lounge on Wednesday, Nov. 30, at 1 p.m. Voted number-one pick of the month by senior center staff members.

Transportation service

Not driving anymore? Car in the shop? Get to where you need to go; available Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday to seniors age 60-plus. Suggested donation is $2 per day. Call for details, 264-2167.

Weekly Activities at The Den

Friday, Nov. 25 — Closed for Thanksgiving.

Monday, Nov. 28 — 12:30 p.m. Gym Walk; 1 p.m. Canasta.

Tuesday, Nov. 29 — 12:30 p.m. Gym Walk; 1 p.m. Meditation for Healing.

Wednesday, Nov. 30 — 12:30 p.m. Norm Frazier, “Protect Yourself from Burglary.”

Thursday, Dec. 1 — Closed for administrative day.

Friday, Dec. 2 — 9 a.m. Geezers; 10 a.m. Stitchin’ in the Kitchen; 10:30 a.m. Book Club; 12:30 p.m. Gym Walk

This week’s menu

Suggested donation for older adults age 60-plus is $3, kids 12 and under and guests $6. Our meal program is partially funded through the Older Americans Act via the San Juan Basin Area Agency on Aging, United Way, Archuleta County, Town of Pagosa Springs and other donations and grants. These funds help support the cost of the meal which is approximately $11.51. Please note our menu is subject to change. The salad bar opens at 11:30 a.m. with lunch served from noon to 12:30 p.m.

Friday, Nov. 25 — Closed for Thanksgiving.

Monday, Nov. 28 — Porcupine meatballs with brown gravy, whipped potatoes, almond peaches, peas and carrots, whole wheat bread, tossed salad.

Tuesday, Nov. 29 — Honey barbecue chicken, oven-browned potatoes, spinach, fresh apple, pumpkin muffin.

Wednesday, Nov. 30 — Spinach lasagna, Italian vegetables, salad, strawberry whip with sliced banana, Italian bread.

Thursday, Dec. 1 — Closed, administrative day.

Friday, Dec. 2 — Hamburger on whole wheat bun, lettuce and tomato, potato salad, baked beans, fruit salad.

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