Parts is Parts

Sometimes it’s a problem that turkeys only have two legs, especially if you have many at the table. This year that won’t be a problem here. We have plenty of parts.This year we are having the best Thanksgiving ever (the best of many best, of course) and it’s largely because of the company we keep.

We are having no family this year. None. Not a child, a parent, a sister or nephew or brother-in-law. Sad, our first year here in our new home in Chicago, yes? No. Everybody will be here for Christmas and I’m already playing musical beds in my head but tomorrow we will dine with my oldest friends, forever.

I met Pete and Julie when we lived kitty corner from each other in small little "village" townhouses when we were still students. The village, originally built to house munitions workers moving up from Kentucky to work in Willow Run during the war, was cozy home to many students and young families- a step up from regular student housing and worth the bus trip to campus. Solid, very compact, attractive two bedroom units, each had a little basement and, amazingly, someone had the foresight to plan wide open common green spaces in the middle of each block.

Pete was in law school, Julie had completed nursing school and was working at the hospital and I was in graduate school. They already had a head start on a family with a baby and a toddler. We quickly became friends as their children attached themselves to my cats. That was 34 years ago.

We all finished school, raised our families and attended the milestones of each others lives. Julie and I flew Red Cross flights to rescue orphaned children at the end of the Vietnam War. Their daughter was my flower girl, Julie was my matron of honor. Julie was a pediatric nurse practitioner by the time I had Dan and she nursed me through post partum depression and the trials and tribulations of- nursing. We went to the same church and I still have one of those clear visual memories of the day my daughter was christened. When my marriage dissolved Peter had the good grace to not be my lawyer. We bought homes, sold homes, sent children to college.

Since this is the time in life, and we are the "sandwich" generation, the four of us know what it’s like to tend both parents and children simultaneously. This past year has been a challenge for us all in our own way. They have helped with a grandson born desperately ill and cared for an aging mother. Peter lost a sister to cancer right around the time that my mother died.

How does it happen, then, that the four of us are without children for this holiday? Partly divine intervention, I think-family is going to other family- and partly because we were all ready for a cozy grown-up weekend without family.
Tomorrow they come on the train and Rich will pick them up while I put the finishing touches on a light lunch. The weather is predicted to be glorious- sunny and 52!- so we’ll walk up to the zoo and along the lakeshore to work up an appetite for the main event. Friday, I’m guessing we lose the guys to football for at least part of the day so Julie and I will go shopping for yarn and tea. Then we’ll head downtown for the lighting of the tree in Daley Plaza and check out the Chriskindlmarket
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I love to cook and I cook a lot, even here in Chicago where it’s easy to get sidetracked by great restaurants on every corner. I use my food processor almost every single day for one thing or another. Tomorrow I’ll use it to make a curry dip for lunch and later to slice onions into small strings to be fried and top the green beans. I’ll use it to whip cream and knead the dough for rolls and so forth.

When we moved, the process of unpacking into a much smaller space helped me figure out exactly where everything was. In all that move and transition, only two things got lost: the dough blade and the blade stem to my Cuisinart. In the past three months there hasn’t been a day gone by that I haven’t searched all over again, certain that they are here somewhere. I’ve been thinking lately that they went out with the same color moving paper everything was wrapped in but I was so careful about checking all that for small items.

About three weeks ago I was really feeling handicapped with just the main blade and decided I had to stop looking and replace them before the holidays. I could have gone on the web site for Cuisinart replacement parts- I actually looked there-but I’m so cheap I decided to look on eBay. Yea! I found them. "Ship quickly, ship quickly!" I implored. Seeing as this was only the third transaction for this seller and I later determine him to be about 13 years old, he incorrectly listed the machines they would match. Wrong parts. Ah, well, only 12.00 down the drain. I could afford to bid again. I found more parts. "Priority mail, Priority mail!" I begged. This seller just out righted lied about what machines the parts would fit- and the problem is, they all look alike in the photos- they vary with only a minor internal misfit. They got here fast and they don’t work on my machine. Four days ago, at the point where I was down more money than if I had just bought the parts new, I desperately bid on a blade stem but no dough blade and paid the new price because she promised to ship overnight. That means the blade stem should arrive in today’s mail. We’ll see.

About an hour ago, I went down and pulled out the giant kettle that I only use for Thanksgiving mashed potatoes and Super Bowl Etouffee. And, of course…Parts

So, the glass is half empty and I’ve spent 50.00 unnecessarily on miscellaneous parts. And yet, the glass is more than half full because now I have all these parts plus spare parts. And I can cook Thanksgiving dinner in style. If you have a Cuisinart and you need or want extra parts, drop me a line. I have parts for the DC8 and DC10 and I’ll send them to you, snail mail, gratis. 
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Gratis. Gratitude.That’s the thing. It’s been a trying year. For me, for some of my good friends, my family- maybe for you. And yet. When I think about what I have to be thankful about I get that same overwhelming feeling I get when I look up at a really good night sky.

Bud will be sharing a smoked turkey I sent up with his next door neighbors and when I talked to him yesterday he ended the conversation by saying, "Well, this is going to be hard without mama. I sure do miss her. But you know, I’ll be with you and your sisters and brother and Max at Christmas and Thursday I’ll have Donna and Ray and a smoked turkey. And these goddamn cats- Robert, get offa there! So it will be okay."

It will be okay. He’s got that right. We’ll be at the table with friends and the company of good memories and prayers for a world where everyone is fed to full and nourished by love. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

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14 responses to “Parts is Parts

  1. Vicki, you are the first person I have ever known that cuts and fries her own onion crisps to put on top of the green beans! Now I feel SO much shame…. I just get the canned ones. (Hiding face in hands)

    This has been a rough year for you, but your Thanksgiving plans sound marvelous. Even the shopping thing on Friday, although I avoid any type of shopping in stores like the plague that day.

    I am thankful that I’ve met a friend like you, who through trouble and sadness is able to show us, not only the raw emotion, but the hope that remains. Everyone of us needs that.

    I am thankful for life. I am thankful that God controls my life to His purpose and because of that I no longer fear death. It makes the uncertainty of my life bearable.

    I am thankful for a daughter, most of the time. If you hadn’t coined the word “Snarl” for Abby at times, it would be a perfect fit for Nyssa, at times.

    I should probably save some of this for my Thanksgiving post, right? 🙂 So, enjoy your ADULT days with your long time friends. You deserve to have loads of fun.

    PS: I think I have a Cuisinart, but it is SOMEWHERE in storage…. so I think I’m in the same boat as you were…. I have no idea of where I’ve put what now or what model it is. In reality, I didn’t use it enough to know what the blades were for. It is sort of like the Nordic Track; required a lot of practice to get it right.

    PPSS: Mr. Rhett would like to send his most sincere regards to Miss Sophie and hopes that she will have a wonderful Thanksgiving. (Note that he has now added the official “Southern” prefix of “Miss” to her name. This relationship is getting serious!)

  2. We turned down invitations to Thanksgiving dinner (told little white lies, how embarrassing is that?), so that Roger and I could just spend the day together, as we have in the past, just the two of us. If we had family nearby, or dear old friends, we would spend the day with them, but we like our self-imposed isolation up here on the peninsula. We’ve got the herons and bobcats for company. I like how you are going to spend your day, Vicki. It sounds delicious and delightful. Old friends around the table, a lot of history, and still more history to be made. A great holiday to you and yours.

  3. A grown-up Thanksgiving with old friends sounds heavenly. I’m glad that Bud is doing ok.

    Happy Thanksgiving, Vicki. I’m glad I know you.

  4. The Thanksgiving sounds marvelous, and so does the Cuisinart. (which I don’t have, and I would probably lose the blades without moving) Bud’s philosophy is inspiring. It’ll be okay indeed.

  5. Your parts look just like my parts; I think mine is the DC-8, but I don’t need new ones. Couldn’t you turn around and sell yours on Ebay too?

    I love this post, Vicki. Sometimes a holiday spent with friends can make you realize just how much you love your family (not that you need that lesson). Thanks for the update on Bud. I hope that you and your guests have a wonderful Thanksgiving (and I wish I was there to go to the zoo with you)!!

  6. Wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving with dear friends, Vicki.

  7. Vicki, what a wonderful post. I just sit here boo-hooing. It is a wonderrful day to reflect on the good things, even through the tough times. Happy Thanksgiving.

  8. Happy Thanksgiving.

  9. I hope your day was WONDERFUL, Vicki dear. Absolutely, positively wonderful. Just like you.

  10. I miss you, hope that all goes well this weekend. See you soon.

  11. Yes indeed…it will be okay. Thank God for the wisdom of Bud 🙂

  12. Nice post. I hope your Thanksgiving was delightful.
    Take care.

  13. It has been simply great to “spend the year” with you, Vicki. Too bad I don’t have all my parts…..

    Merry Thanksgiving to you and your Dad and your Rich and your Abby and your Dan, and anybody else who’s in your life.

  14. You asked for more pumpkins.

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