Kara Swanson's Brain Injury Blog

November 22, 2018

The Truth About Stuffing

Filed under: Uncategorized — karaswanson @ 11:09 am

When I was a kid, my Mom managed to prepare Thanksgiving Day feasts for a dozen or more every year with a bird that was always so big that the oven door didn’t close all the way.  We didn’t have enough chairs or matching silverware or fancy napkins or room for everyone to scrunch around that tiny table.  There weren’t microwaves yet so we turned the back patio into a an extra refrigerator for the day and everything kept warm on plugged-in hot plates tethered to every outlet.

Oh, I loved that stuffing.  While the 22 or 26 pound bird was the scene-stealer and the dinner’s highlight, it was the stuffing I waited for.  It was the stuffing I snuck in the early day when no one was looking.

You can make stuffing in a number of ways.   Sage or cornbread or cranberry walnut.  Seems everyone’s favorite is the kind they grew up on.  Mine sure is.

That first Thanksgiving after my Mom’s first stroke was my first attempt at pulling off a Thanksgiving meal.  Oh my…We don’t have to revisit some of those moments.  LOL.

My brother, Craig, and I had only a vague notion about how my Mom’s stuffing went together.  We bumbled and fumbled over each other that first year, trying our best while our Mom sat silently at the kitchen table, both laughing and crying.  We were both laughing and crying, too.

Stuffing can be traced back to all sorts of origins.   People stuffed meats and vegetables and fish.  They used everything from breads to herbs to vegetables and cheeses.

I have long-assumed that stuffing was an inexpensive meal-stretcher for those who needed a filler when maybe the meats were smaller and their families grew larger.

Over the years, I have tweaked and often failed in my attempts to get my Mom’s stuffing perfectly duplicated (Kara, put the sage down and step away)…   More than twenty-five years later, I come pretty close now.

But, while I was prepping my stuffing this morning, I was thinking about how it compliments.  How it fills.  How it stands in.  How it, maybe, makes up for.

And I realized how, in any life, we each have to keep making and keep adding stuffing to fill the holes that heartbreak and disappointment create.

Many of you know that my Dad actually died right on Thanksgiving Day.  Even after eleven years, the memories dare to darken this day each year still.

Today it occurred to me that, over these years, I have added the people and the activities and the outlets that bring joy to sadness and which bring light to darkness.

You are my stuffing.  You.

You are where I go, you are whom I choose, you are one of the many ways I fill the holes and compliment life when the meats are a little too wanting.

Thank you, all of you.   Thank you for the simple warmth, the wonderful support, the gentle smiles and even the belly laughs I enjoy on FB, through my blog, in our exchanges and from all the ways you touch my heart.   You are the ones I return to sneak from on more days than you could know.

Thank you.  Thank you for being my stuffing.

I wish you warm, wonderful moments of Thanksgiving today and always.

Love you.  Kara

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