I left my beloved hill country in Texas on July 31, 2011 in a 28-feet-long U-Haul trailer, my son driving. It took us five days, a flat tire on a lonely road in Pennsylvania, and me glued to the GPS on my iPad in abject fear. But we had a home waiting for us, a 200-year-old farmhouse on the far eastern shore of Maine that I’d owned since 1974, and then left in the care of my son’s father in 1981.
When last I’d seen this structure, it was lovely. A fully functioning kitchen (but no oven and I can’t remember why that was), a big bathroom on the first floor, two wood stoves for heat. But that had been 30 years ago. Driving into the dirt driveway on a late afternoon the first week of August, 2011, I found to my dismay the house was kitchen-less… in fact, the part of the house where the kitchen used to reside was gone, there were no walls in several rooms and the upstairs master bedroom’s ceiling was on the verge of falling in. The downstairs bath was new because…the floor caved in a couple months before while my son was attempting some renovations. He’d flown up early to see to the livability of the house… Obviously, it did not pass muster. But I was already committed. My perfect home in the Texas Hill Country was rented and my friends had said their goodbyes. So, my son fixed what he could and hoped I wouldn’t faint when I saw the rest.
The first night we left the U-Haul in the driveway untouched, borrowed air mattresses and went out to eat at a local restaurant. I’d think about my kitchen-less plight after a meal and a full night’s sleep. But damn, it was August and it was cold… and I could hear critters scuffling everywhere.
Well, life went on, and before we knew it, it was coming up Thanksgiving, and I still had no kitchen, although I had commandeered my old dining room as a makeshift one. I bought a fridge, a microwave, and there were boxes scattered around that I was sure contained pots and pans and casserole dishes. I’d set up my prized eight-feet-long antique Chinese Butcher’s table as a kitchen counter and purchased a two-burner hot plate and an electric skillet. That was my cooking area. Imagine how delighted I was the day I opened one of those boxes and found my crockpot! I was Martha Stewart and could conquer anything.
But perhaps not a Thanksgiving turkey. While my son looked on sadly because he was fond of my big holiday meals, I had no clue how I would solve this current stumbling block. But because I’m a stalwart stubborn pioneer woman…and was embarrassed to tell any of my friends back in Texas my plight, I took a deep breath, pulled out all my cookbooks and found a recipe for turkey breast in a crock pot.
Of course, I had to find a turkey breast. We’re more than a hundred miles from a Whole Foods, and Costco is completely absent in Maine. Our local market, not a supermarket by any means, had lots of huge frozen turkeys, but nary a turkey breast. The hunt began. Finally, a few days before the day, I found them…two lovely little breasts. I was so proud.
When the day came, I sat the electric skillet on one end of the antique butcher’s table, the two-burner hot plate in the middle and the crock pot at the other end and blessed my son that he’d had the foresight to find a master electrician to re-wire the house. First, I seasoned the breasts and placed them carefully in the electric skillet to brown, and thank goodness I’d remembered to thaw them. There had been years in the past when I’d forgotten that step…but we won’t go there right now. When they were nice and golden, I plopped those birds into the crockpot. I’ve got to tell you, my crock pot wasn’t that big so it took a little maneuvering to get those hunks of meat to fit. Turkey breasts are not chicken breasts! Then I began prepping the other parts of the meal.
I’ve never worked so hard to make a meal for two people as I did that day. But in the late afternoon as the light went out of the sky and snow began falling, my son and I sat down to one of the best Thanksgiving feasts I’d ever made. That day was the first time I didn’t think about my home in Austin. Maine was my home now. I could make due without a formal kitchen…for a while. And I did, until December of the next year when I got a brand-new kitchen with all the bells and whistles just a few days before Christmas. But the Thanksgiving of 2012, still kitchen-less but with new cabinets already installed, was spent at a friend’s home around a huge table seating 20…and I didn’t have to cook at all…the best kind of holiday dinner. And was I thankful!
What’s been the most memorable Thanksgiving for you? Forgot to thaw the turkey? Forgot to turn on the oven? The dogs ate it while it was cooling? The stories of cooking for the holidays are endless. Let me hear yours!
Happy Reading, ya’ll!
From a Texas transplant to the cold coast of Maine
A gift of thanks to a young girl from the Tsar more than 100 years ago… and now the Russians want it back.
Collee McCullough has a perfect life until early one morning men in suits come calling. She has something precious someone dangerous wants. Something that her great-grandmother Natasha took when she fled Russian in 1913. Too bad Buka never told anyone what she had or where she left it.
Jake Elsmore, visiting Stone Bay to sell his mother’s house, walks into The Bakery for a cup of Earl Grey tea, but gets more. There she is. Stepping out from behind the Chief of Police, a lovely, fiery haired fairy toting a shotgun while two men lay insensate on the floor of her shop. Looks like that tea will have to wait.
About the Author
Min Edwards is the pen name of Pam Headrick, owner of A Thirsty Mind Book Design. She holds advanced degrees in Anthropology with a focus on archaeology and geography as well as geology and art. She’s published five novels in two series: Stone Bay Contemporary Romance and High Tide Romantic Suspense. And in 2017, she has on her schedule two novels in her new co-authored archaeological series, as well as an historical, Natasha, a prequel to Precious Stone, her last novel in the High Tide Suspense series.
You can visit with her or contact her on her website at www.minedwards.com or her business site at www.athristymind.com. Her Amazon Author’s page lists her current titles published in digital and print format, Stone Bay, Stone Cold, Stone Heart, Stone Fall and Precious Stone.
You can also find her on her blog and on social media: