Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Turkey Sandwich

When I was about ten years old, my parents decided that my family needed to split up for a couple of days so that we could visit both sets of my grandparents over the Thanksgiving break.  We drove the 400 miles to my mom's parents' house, spent the night, and then my mom and my two younger sisters stayed there while my dad, our yellow lab Dobie, and I continued down the highway 300 miles more to get to his parents' house.  

When we got there, my granddad was in the kitchen, with food cooking on the stove and in the oven and in all stages of completion all over the kitchen.  He was the big-time cook in the family; he loved cooking and was very good at it.  As usual, he let me sit on a tall stool and help him stir, measure, and pour, which thrilled me.  The kitchen was filled with conversation and great smells as we prepared and then ate the Thanksgiving dinner.

The next day, Grandmom had to work, but Granddad, my dad, and I stood in line so that Dad and I could ride the merry-go-round that their town sponsored every holiday season.  We ran a few errands and then ended back at my grandparents' house where we sat on the front porch and ate leftover turkey sandwiches that my grandfather had made.  I remember the taste of the sandwiches like it was yesterday; each one was cut into two perfect rectangle halves, on soft white bread and with the turkey chopped and mixed with a little bit of mayo and very finely sliced celery.  It was just the way I liked it.

Two days later, my dad woke me up before the sun was up, and we loaded our suitcases and Dobie into the station wagon for our trip back to my other grandparents' house.  As we hugged my grandparents, my granddad handed my dad a brown grocery sack and said, "Four turkey sandwiches for the road!"  We thanked him, with Dobie lying down in the "way back" of the car, we got into the front seat, and set out on on way.

A few hours later, Dad commented that he was hungry.  The thought of the perfect turkey sandwich was making my mouth water too, and so I climbed over the seat to get the bag of food.  I noticed that the top of the sack was opened, and when I reached inside, I discovered the only thing left in there was shredded plastic wrap.  Evidently, Dobie had helped herself to all four sandwiches as we drove down the highway.  

Dad and I were so disappointed.  We ended up stopping at a truck stop for lunch, which of course wasn't nearly as good.  To this day, I think the best part of the Thanksgiving dinner is eating a leftover turkey sandwich, cut into two perfect rectangle halves, on soft white bread and with the turkey chopped and mixed with a little bit of mayo and very finely sliced celery.  I attempt to recreate Granddad's version every year, but to date I have yet to eat one that is as good as Dad and I thought those sandwiches in the brown paper sack were going to be that day.  Maybe this year ...

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