(I wrote this 5 years ago for my Aunt Onie)
I have a confession. I'm
35, 36, 37, 38, 39 years old, and I've never cooked a turkey. It looks like I'm not going to start this year either. I was never really the one to get up early on Thanksgiving morning and help my Mom with the bird - that was my sister, who now cooks a bird for her family. Then again, I sometimes feel like I'm missing out on something special.
I have a confession. I'm
The older I get, the more I feel I've become more like my favorite Aunt Onie. She is an amazing woman, but to my knowledge, has never cooked turkey on Thanksgiving. At least not for me. Aunt Onie and her family always came to our house for Thanksgiving and always made things fun. Her contribution was to buy the turkey (for my Mom to cook), bring the olives, a chocolate khaluah cake, and the Jack Daniels. Thanksgiving dinner was always early afternoon and always planned around football.
One Thanksgiving when I was about ten, my sister asked my Mom (in front of my Aunt) why we didn't go to my Aunt's house for Thanksgiving. I chimed in loudly and said, "Because everyone knows Aunt Onie can't cook!" Little did I know what a jab to her pride that was, being from the South and all! That year, we had Christmas dinner at Aunt Onie's house where she made an amazing roast and put out any ideas in my head that she couldn't cook. My sister and I decided it was easier to have everyone at our house (so we could play with our toys) and that was the last time we ever had a holiday at Aunt Onie's. Even now when my Aunt Onie sends me a card, she always writes beneath her signature, "and everyone knows I can't cook!"
So, while fearing that I've become a failure in life for never having the honor of cooking the bird, in my infinite wisdom I realized that I am now my Aunt Onie. I'm somewhat proud of this distinction because she is someone I admire so much. She taught me love, loyalty (she is to this day a die hard Rams fan, much like I love my Angels) and how to be a working woman in a man's world. I recently asked her if she was still a Rams fan, and she replied, "I'm still breathing aren't I?"
The most important lesson I think she may have inadvertently taught me is that it is not important to be the one to cook a turkey on Thanksgiving. We can add to the day with the dishes we bring, the spirits we share and the knowledge that we could make the damn meal if we really had to! And the ultimate secret that no one brags about is that when you aren't the cook, you can enjoy the day and still go home to a clean kitchen!
So, I am my Aunt Onie, and I can take pride in the fact that I have never cooked a turkey. Heaven help us all the day I do!