There were dirty pans and bowls and silverware everywhere!! How on earth did I get myself into this! We are not talking about anything that took so much as a shred of culinary skill. Stuffing and Broccoli salad are about as uncomplicated as food preparation can get, but it seemed like a monumental accomplishment to this very reluctant cook.

The plan for Thanksgiving seemed so simple.  There would be nothing resembling cooking.  Ribs, chopped pork and brisket along with a side dish would be picked up from the ToGo counter at the newly opened Famous Dave’s Barbecue nearby.  Our Son, Daughter-in-Law and Granddaughter are coming from Kansas City, an hour away, to join us for a while on Thanksgiving.  We will celebrate Granddaughter Chloe’s eleventh birthday at the same time.  The actual day was a week ago.

When we were at the grocery two days ago getting some odds and ends, Mary Ann’s feet hit the floor bringing the wheelchair to an immediate stop.  By the way, the pain that translates into my forearm (I push the chair with one hand and pull the grocery cart with the other) whenever those rubber soles so much as touch the tile floor is memorable.  The chair stopped in front of the bags of Pepperidge Farm seasoned stuffing 0n display.

I reminded Mary Ann what the plans for Thanksgiving, did not include turkey and trimmings this year.  We went on to get some other food items.  For some reason we had to double back and pass by the same display.  Those feet hit the floor again. We will have ribs and dressing tomorrow.

She wanted dressing, so we will have dressing.  At times like this, Mary Ann just moves back to a time when she was still cooking and needs to prepare food as she did before or early in the Parkinson’s.   Now, I am the one who needs to bring her intentions into a reality.  With Mary Ann in the kitchen, I made the dressing.  There were onions to be chopped along with celery.  They were cooked in butter for a few minutes, followed by the addition of the Pepperidge Farm dressing and liquid (chicken broth in a box) to the pan.  Then an apple needed to be cut into small pieces,  pecans chopped, a few handfuls of raisins, dried Cranberries, cut up apricots and dried blueberries put in the measuring cup.  All of them were added, folded in and the final product was put in baking dish, ready to for the oven tomorrow.

Then came the Broccoli salad prep.  Out of the blue yesterday afternoon, Mary Ann decided we needed to make broccoli salad.  After the stuffing was in the fridge, the broccoli heads needed to be transformed into very small pieces of broccoli.  Another onion, this time chopped into very tiny pieces, more raisins, dried cranberries and dried blueberries were all mixed together.  We happened to have in the freezer the requisite bacon bits to mix in also.  A bottle of salad dressing was added to the mixture, which then went into the fridge to marinate.  Tomorrow a cup of sunflower seeds will be tossed in just before serving.

At this point, with stuffing, broccoli salad, Cranberry celebration from the deli counter at the grocery, a Copper Oven pumpkin pie and a second pumpkin pie from Mary, along with Cool Whip for the pie, we may as well have gotten a smoked turkey, made mashed potatoes and had a traditional Thanksgiving meal. As it is, it will be a very interesting Thanksgiving meal.

I was, of course, ambivalent about tackling even those simply made dishes.  My first reaction to Mary Ann’s suggestions included a twinge of resentment that I would be the one required to do that actual preparation.  I realized it would be a good thing to do that food preparation because Mary Ann would be pleased having the items at the table as the food she brought to the meal.  It would give us some time during which we would both be focused on the preparation task.

Both food items are now prepared and in the fridge.  As the day wore on a supper meal also had to be prepared.  More onions, some bratwurst that had been browned, sliced apples and Bavarian style sauerkraut all cooked together to flavor one another served as supper.

I have no idea how it is possible to end up with so many dirty pans and utensils, cutting boards, bowls, measuring cups, and dishes — and these were simple dishes to make.

When the time came to decide what we would do about the evening Thanksgiving service tonight, Mary Ann had used up her day’s energy.  She was in bed before the Service would have concluded.  In years past we attended the Thanksgiving Day morning service, which was discontinued this year.  It was a smaller group, making it easier for us to negotiate, and it was at a time of day that was easier for us to manage.

Mary Ann did pretty well today.  There was no nap, but she is still having a little trouble settling.  Hopefully she will sleep most of the rest of the night. Tomorrow is a big day.

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