My dad passed away just a month before Thanksgiving, and all of us kids gathered at Mom’s that year for the holiday dinner. We were careful to prepare all the typical family recipes in our attempt to keep the holiday as normal as possible and minimize the gaping hole we knew my father‘s absence would create.
The time came, and our beautifully bronzed bird was removed from the oven. We prepared the gravy, set the food on the buffet, and place the turkey on the rosewood carving tray. My husband, Randy, now the senior statesmen of the group, was handed the carving knife. He dutifully took the knife and began the carve. He was sure he was doing it in “just like Father Fred,” when some of them moist, tender meat fell off in chunks. My brother quickly surfaced to lend his expertise. He met with little success. Soon, Marita and I were hovering over the men giving suggestions and instructions. Knowing I should’ve done the carving all along, I took the knife and set out to “do it the right way!” Much to my amazement, I had no more success than my husband or my brother. By the time we completed our butchery, we were left with a jumbled mess of big chunks and tiny slivers of meat, two whole legs, and a despicable carcass. We realized that, while dad had always carved the turkey and made it look so easy, none of us had ever carved “The Turkey.”
Dad’s absence left a huge void in our Thanksgiving and the massacred turkey was the tangible evidence of our loss. I’d like to tell you that we learned our lesson and that subsequent holiday turkeys were carved with great finesse, but the reality is we’ll never do it just like “Father Fred”!
Is there a task in your family that someone always does? Does he or she make it look easy? Take the time and extra effort to identify the task and learn how it’s done. We must first learn from our heritage before we can pass it on as a legacy.
** This is an excerpt from the book, Making The Blue Plate Special: The Joy of Family Legacies, co-written by Florence Littauer, Marita Littauer, and Lauren Littauer Briggs. Available wherever Christian books are sold.
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