Saturday, November 24, 2012

Fire Station 15's Favorite

I need to finish blogging about our trip.  I've been meaning to since we've been back.  But my mind is in other places.  So, for now,  I'll just let my mind be.  Someday I'll finish up my travel notes and daily life will be interspersed with snippets from Italy.

But not today.  Today I'm thinking about my Grandmother.  I've got a little project in mind and asked my mother to send some of my Grandmother's handwritten recipes.  They arrived this afternoon.

My favorite recipe is one written on plain paper.  It's a recipe for green bean casserole, the kind found in just about every household on Thanksgiving; two cans of string beans, a can of cream of mushroom soup, a 1/4 can water chestnuts and a can of french fried onions.

I remember this recipe well.  My grandmother made it, my mother made it, I make it.  I've altered it a bit.  I add a squeeze of lemon (I think my mom does too) and I use the whole can of water chestnuts.

But what touched me today was not the recipe itself but the title "Station 15's Favorite."  You see my Grandfather was a fireman.  I suspect he spent many a Thanksgiving serving his community. And I can just picture my Grandmother delivering her casserole to the firehouse; a little something special for the men working the holiday.

I, too, had to work on Thanksgiving.  And I realize that, though our service is different, I am following in my Grandfather's footsteps with my holiday schedule.

At my Grandparent's house we always celebrated Thanksgiving on the Saturday after the actual day.  My Grandfather was retired by that time so I don't really know why Thanksgiving was scheduled as such.  But I do know it was special; family, food, gathering.  The day didn't matter.  The act did.

This recipe reminded me of two things.  First -- it is gratifying to serve.  Though I might moan and groan, working the holiday is good for our community.  Pets do not get sick on schedule and they need medical care.  I'm glad I was there to help them.

And second --Thanksgiving is important.  Gathering friends and family.  Taking time to be grateful and enjoy each other's company.  Solidifying memories for generations to come.  The day doesn't matter.  The gathering does.

This year our Thanksgiving was quiet.  The five of us around our table (a rarity indeed).  And yes -- I served green bean casserole.  I'm glad I took the time to cook and to gather my family. My Grandparents were at the table with us, their spirits wrapped up in green beans and soup.  You see it's not just a simple casserole.  It's family and community.  It's the past, present and future.  It's everything there ever was and everything ever to be.

Oh the humble green bean.

Happy Thanksgiving!


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