Monday, November 28, 2005

Most Memorable Thanksgiving (Part 3)

Yikes! And I'm not done yet! So here's part 3 of my most memorable thanksgiving:

Thursday, November 27, 2003. The church had rallied so very well. Since my aunt and cousin had arrived they had committed to bringing our family meals every other day for two weeks and they provided us with a full Thanksgiving feast. All I had to do was heat up the turkey. Somewhere in between being back and forth from the hospital to home with the kids I had remembered to take the meal out of the refrigerator but, lost in the fray, the idea of actually heating the turkey was completely otherworldly. I had the presence of mind to grab a carving knife, the kids, and the food (the knife was for the food, not the kids) before leaving to go to Charlotte for our Thanksgiving festivities. The day before I had had grand visions of streamers and decorations to fix up the hospital room where we would be feasting, but some how one seems blessed to have simply practicality when caught in such a time of flurried activity.

The third floor of Carolina’s Medical Center was completely empty on my dad’s wing, and, from what I remember, there were only two or three people on Britny’s wing. Dad’s nurses volunteered the small kitchenette/breakroom area for our family gathering (mom’s parents and my uncle had come down the day before). In my mad rush I had forgotten all manner of plates, utensils, and cups…thank God for an on site cafeteria! Nurses were volunteering left and right to go “sneak” down to the cafĂ© and get what we needed—the adventure they saw in the endeavor was almost as humorous and uplifting as their eagerness help.

Our little room was furnished somewhat sparsely with a refrigerator, a sink, inaccessible cabinets, a microwave, a folding table, and one of those hard vinyl hospital recliners that my whole family at one time or another has spent a sleepless night or three in. We wheeled both my dad and Britny down the hall and started pulling out the food to see what all we had by way of variety. After noticing small chips of ice falling from the packaging we pretty much deduced that all the food was not just cold but half frozen! I remember my bright idea of sticking the containers in the microwave for a few minutes was abruptly shot down by some member of my family saying, “What, do you want to blow us all up?! Those containers are made out of aluminum…you don’t put metal in a microwave!” I try. My uncle got to cutting on the frozen turkey with the one useful tool I did have the presence of mind to grab while the rest of us scooped out iced mashed-potatoes, slushified cranberry something-or-other, and the well chilled dressing. Plates had to go into the microwave one at a time, so by the time one person’s was warmed up they had to go ahead and eat or it would be cold again by the time the next plate was heated. What a crazy, fun mess!

My friends the Trents showed up at the tail end of the festivity to add some festivity of their own. They brought me a birthday cake. Since I had gotten home, I hadn’t really thought much about the fact that my birthday was in a couple of days, but most assuredly when I had thought about it I never pictured spending my 21st in the hospital with two of my family members...

No comments: