The week of Thanksgiving in 1997, Keith had an emergency appendectomy, his appendix ruptured, and he got peritonitis, so his recovery took longer than usual! Keith was an amazing Chef, and he was, in fact, the only one who could cook in the house! In 1989, after I cooked my first meal for him, (we were already married a year) he had threatened to put crime scene tape around the kitchen after our new puppy would not even touch it! That was perfectly fine with me!
So you can imagine we were in a little panic as to how we were going to have Thanksgiving Dinner, our absolute favorite holiday, with Keith unable to get off the couch!!! So I told Keith, ok we can still do this, you can talk me through it, and Justin, who was about 16, and had worked with his father on catering events, was even more prepared than I was to help make this glorious meal! It would truly be a bonding experience for Justin and me!
The day before, we prepped all the food, even Kellie, who was only 5 at the time, was cleaning vegetables and setting the table! Then the day of truth, the Jaret household was a buzz of screaming and yelling, “You’re not doing it right” to, “damn I burned the carrots.” Keith who was laying on the couch listening, smiling saying this is music to my ears! We did not want him to get off the couch so each time we needed Keith to check the turkey, we would bring it to him! We would carry it from the kitchen to the living room, Justin holding one side me the other, for Keith to touch it to say, needs more time – or perfect, we probably carried it back and forth about 6 or 7 times (we were thrilled when he gave a thumbs up and said perfect)! Also as a tradition in our house, at 12:00, the radio played Arlo Guthrie’s Alice’s Restaurant! In all the years of living with this man, I never understood the thrill of Alice’s Restaurant, but even this particular year when he was NOT the chef, we all had to listen to it!
When my brother Sean heard that we were still having Thanksgiving Dinner and that I was cooking it, he said, well if Maureen is making dinner, then I will make pies (he never made pies before)!
When we finally sat down for Dinner, we all laughed and ate and had a truly wonderful time! It was the first and only time that Keith did not make the dinner. Truth be told, Justin was truly the hero in this, he had a more understanding of how to do this, he stepped up to the plate and we had a wonderful meal! Sean’s pies were amazing too! Keith always said that it was his all-time favorite Thanksgiving, watching his son and wife bond in the kitchen, he said it was the best meal he ever ate!
So with this being my first Thanksgiving with him, realizing that I will never again have a Thanksgiving Dinner, that Keith makes. I will learn to love the holiday again, I hope! But someone will still have to make the dinner! I am getting ready to listen to Arlo singing Alice’s Restaurant and bask in the wonderful memories that I have! Happy Thanksgiving Everyone, I am grateful for all of your support!