My Grandma Kincaid (my mom's mom) passed away in the early morning hours this past Monday. This week has been already been filled with family, friends, and arrangements as we prepare to celebrate the life she lived and the eternity she now enjoys. (Info about service times here.) This week has also been filled with memories.
Yesterday afternoon as I prepared a turkey to cook and serve to my immediate family and some of my extended family, I remembered the first Thanksgiving dinner I prepared and served. It was five years ago, when Chance and I first moved to Athens. I was cooking for my in-laws, but realized I had never made a turkey before. I discussed my lack of know-how with my mother, and she suggested I ask my grandmother to help. My grandma lived here, just outside of town.
The day before she was to come help me cook, Grandma sent me am email. Now, you might be impressed that my (at that time) 87-year-old grandmother used email, but you probably shouldn't be, as she typed the entire message in the subject line.
The gist of the long-subjected email was, "I'll be over tomorrow to help with the turkey, but I wanted to be sure you had enough Oleo before I came. Love you, Grandma."
I had already done all of my grocery shopping, so I began to panic. "Oleo?" For the turkey? What on earth is that? Can I get that in Athens at Village Market? I really don't want to make another 30-minute trip to town. Was there something that could be substituted for this "Oleo"?!
So I did what any first-time-Thanksgiving host would do; I called my mom. Again.
My mom explained to me that Oleo was an older name for margarine. I believe she had helped me make my grocery list, and she was able to reassure me that I had enough.
Grandma came over and helped me prepare my turkey the next day. I remember watching with disgust as she pulled the neck out from the inside cavity. I also remember watching her rub Oleo all over the bird before placing it into the oven. Before she left, she kissed me goodbye and wished me a happy Thanksgiving.
These days, I make some darn good turkey. I prepare it with an entirely different marinade (since we now know all about how bad for you that Oleo stuff is for you!). I cook the bird in a completely different method, but I absolutely still cringe with disgust every time I remove a neck from a turkey's chest cavity.
In the past few years, each time I made turkey, I would bring a serving to share with my grandmother as her health declined and cooking became more difficult. I'll probably never be able to prepare a turkey again without thinking of my grandma. In fact, I hope I never prepare a turkey again without thinking of my grandma.
This weekend we will gather to lay my grandmother's earthly body to rest, but we will share and cherish the memories of her that will live on forever. We'll also celebrate her new life and body which has been restored. We'll thank God for her faithful influence during her time here on earth, and we'll share memories that will allow her legacy to be passed down to future generations.
We'll eat leftover turkey, and I'll remember how she first taught me to cook a turkey on Thanksgiving five years ago. We'll cherish the memories of my Grandma Kincaid.