Thanksgiving with Unexpected Family


It didn’t take long after moving into the hotel to discover the kindness of the owner, Robert. Each morning he makes coffee for the house then picks up fresh bagels for everyone. There are certain staples, he keeps stocked in the kitchen, such as butter and half and half. On Mondays, he takes a large cooking pot to Paul’s Pancake House. They fill it with spaghetti. I never even knew Paul’s, a breakfast favorite since 1963, made spaghetti. It’s delicious, reminds me of my mamas.
As December rent came due, Robert wrote us all a message on the community white board, “Merry Christmas, take $100 off this month’s rent.” It brought tears to me eyes. A few months later, his message read, “It’s my brother’s birthday month, take $50 off rent.”
I’ve discovered, if one needs to discuss anything with Robert it is best to catch him in the morning. He leaves around noon each day for his poker game. He is not a drinker but late afternoon he enjoys smoking a little weed, a man of habit. Over the past few months I’ve had an opportunity to learn about more of his habits and some of the reasons for them. More on that later.
When Charles asked if I’d roast the turkey for Thanksgiving, I got the word out and everyone planned what they would cook and contribute to the meal. Robert’s request was green bean casserole with cream of mushroom soup and canned fried onions on top. We had stuffing, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, Chris brought pies. It was a feast and festive. If I say so myself, I did a damn good job with the turkey. It was luck. I think this is the recipe I used; easy no-fuss turkey. I remember stuffing it with lemon and onions. Letting it rest for 30 minutes before carving is key.
Robert loved it. He remarked, “this is like the ole days at the hotel, we used to gather regularly.” He looked at me smiling, “who knew you would be the mother of the house?!”
This Thanksgiving we are working on a repeat. The potluck list has started on the white board. And green bean casserole made the list again.
Thanks for reading. May your Thanksgiving be peaceful.


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