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Please pass the gravy

(Note: This is a rerun, written several years ago, in Massachusetts, where the Hahns celebrate the Saturday before Thanksgiving. It has nothing to do with San Pancho, obviously, but I thought you'd enjoy it.)

We’re off to Athol today. Athol, of all places. It’s just that you can’t get there from here.

You have to go through the Quabbin or around it. The former is impossible, so the first conversation of the trip is…take the scenic route? Or Routes 91 and 2?

We’ll get there by noon, either route, just in time to join all of the other Hahns, who are celebrating Thanksgiving today.

This family that I married into can make three turkeys disappear in less than an hour. And that’s only a couple dozen people. Three turkeys.

Niece Cindy, who for some reason volunteers to host the other Hahns each year, and Nephew Murray, who may have joined the family by marriage but eats like a true Hahn and who would probably much rather be on the golf course today, no matter what the weather, reminded us of how much food everyone is assigned to bring.

Including those three turkeys. Cindy will do two in her good old fashioned turkey roasters and our son, Chris, will set the backyard on fire boiling another in hot oil, southern style. His cousins will, once again, chide him for buying what they call a cheapo propane burner, which is why the fire won’t light. But, by dinnertime, bird three will be done.

Of course, by dinnertime, several dozen appetizers will disappear. Cindy complained that she didn’t get any last year. She’ll have to talk to her brothers and cousins about that, as I thought Curt and I took enough for 75 or 80 people.

"We appreciate any contributions of food, drink, manpower and brainpower you are willing to make," Cindy wrote. "Here is the list of what I anticipate is needed for the Hungry Hahns! I have included last year's menu and who contributed each item."

Those turkeys and stuffing headed the list. Then, squash. Hey, David, Cindy said there wasn’t any left last year. Maybe you should bring more.

Gravy. The Hahn family’s favorite beverage. No matter how much is made there’s never enough. "And yes," Cindy wrote, "I already have bought extra flour so I don't have to run to my neighbor's and borrow some at the last minute. Do we need gravy master?"

They never let me make the gravy, for which I am eternally thankful. And so are they. I have no idea what gravy master is. All I know that any gravy I attempt has to be put through a strainer.

Don’t forget the potatoes, Dave. Last year you brought 50 pounds. One casserole dish of potatoes was left over. And, Dave, your sister hopes you will bring your gas burner and pressure cooker to cook them. Then you get to mash them.

I think, Dave, you should tell your sister you’re doing enough. Making the gravy, bringing the squash, and doing the potatoes.

Evie, Cindy’s mother, is assigned the cranberry sauce. (I hope she brings the one with the orange rind and nuts in it.) Evie also brings the green bean casserole each year.

Last year only one dozen dinner rolls disappeared. I think I ate most of them. They were invented by another Hahn, Patti Wong Hahn, who works at Pillsbury.

Jonathon, Cathy, Chris and Jen brought the beer and wine. There was some wine leftover but all the beer was gone, Cindy wrote. I don’t think she knew about the Stoli at the bar. That was all gone, too.

We have to have dessert. No one wants to go home hungry, after all. So, to put under the ice cream, Peggy and Tracy made nine pies. Chocolate, pecan, apple, mince, all the favorites.

There’s also the Slovak kolache that Evie brings to round out the dessert table.

Sammie and Jessie will do table favors and place cards. Billy will help, if they let him. I guess Aidan’s the only one without a job. But he’s only three.

Cindy will say grace.

It’s really our annual Hahn family gathering, as well as our Thanksgiving.

And I’m thankful for the opportunity to share a meal with the people I love.

I hope your Thanksgiving is full of love, as well.


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