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Saturday essay: And we shall gather

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Friday, Nov. 22, 2013, 8:57 p.m.

There will be a light breakfast with hearty coffee and brisk walks with the dogs. And by the time the latter is done, the first smells of the Thanksgiving feast to come will greet the walkers as they re-enter the house.

The 20-pound turkey, stuffed with that special secret dressing, its breast layered in bacon, will go into the oven as dawn breaks and the birds and the squirrels partake of a horn of plenty at the outdoor feeders.

The warmth of the locust burning in the fireplace, lit before the turkey was dressed, quickly will attract the cat and, later, the dogs. It will burn low and slow through the morning parades and the afternoon football games.

And we shall gather.

By midday, the resting turkey will attract the nibblers, admonished in jest for spoiling their dinner. Soon it will be carved and unstuffed and all layered with thin tabs of butter. The three-day, wine-based gravy, its final reduction offering the ultimate seduction, will be boated.

The potatoes will be whipped with butter and cream and topped with fresh parsley from the greenhouse. And all will join the homemade noodles, the beans, the cranberry sauce, the deviled eggs and the rolls on the dinner table.

Thanksgiving dinner will be devoured in a fraction of the time it took to prepare. Continued good conversation will ease the tedium of the cleanup. Soon, snores will compete with the now-crackling fire while from another room the first refrains of a familiar Christmas carol will drift.

The pumpkin pie will have to wait.

— Colin McNickle

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