The kitchen is quiet. The sun hasn’t yet risen. I hoisted the 18 pound turkey off the fridge’s bottom shelf. This bird is much too big for us. I should have gotten a turkey breast or even a duck but then that wouldn’t be a real holiday. I peeled off the plastic covering. The raw turkey smelt of death and ice. I plunged into the neck opening, I plunged into the body for heart, liver, and neck for homemade gravy. I remembered my first turkey in my little cold water flat. I remembered a crowd of people coming over and finding my turkey still frozen solid. I had called my mom panicking but she was on the road to my grandma’s house. I had called my dad and he told me to get a time machine so back three days and defrost my turkey. Laughing to myself, I rubbed the cold flesh with seasoned butter. The piney and licorice smells of rosemary and sage greeted me.
I listened to my husband moving around upstairs as I spoon cornbread stuffing into the big bird. The cold bones of our house is fragrant now with celery, onions, Granny Smith apples, and chunks of cornbread. I remembered the years when I roasted the turkey in brown paper and cooking bags. I can see my youngest asking when dinner would ready every 15 minutes. I remembered teaching my oldest boy the wonders of parchment paper. I loaded the turkey into the hot oven.
Fresh cranberries popped with ginger and orange making the air sweet. The sky has turned bright with pink fingers. Amongst memories of last minute pilgrim costumes, handprint turkeys, and a cornucopia decimated by cats, we would get calls or hastily written texts from the boys wishing us Happy Thanksgiving.
I dried my hands and took off my apron. Washed and sliced, the Brussels sprouts await the cast iron frying pan. Sweet potatoes leaked their dark juices under a generous shower of nutmeg and cinnamon. I looked around and buried the turkey’s neck, giblets, and heart deep in the garbage.
I walked in the living room and collapsed on the sofa.
“Everything smells delicious.”