The RV Resort where I am wintering cancels the community pot luck lunch normally enjoyed by residents here each holiday. Instead volunteers prepare plates of traditional Thanksgiving fixins at various kitchens in their homes and groups deliver free meals to each resident/camper at their home/RV (how very nice!). At the clubhouse kitchen, I assist in this endeavor by plating the potatoes for each Styrofoam packaged meal. Happily this is a task that is easily within my limited food preparation skill level.
The modified pot luck trickles out across the park into remotely seated groups set up outside in carports and on scattered picnic tables sharing tasty treats. I receive lunch invitations from both my music friends and my 4-wheelin’ friends which is awesome! The resulting leftovers feed me for the rest of the week. I am very grateful for these invitations, each delicious morsel and the camaraderie shared at each gathering. I also acquire tips for easy future personal meals. For example, at lunch #2, Jane’s deviled eggs are so creamy that I beg her for the secret to her tasty success. We compare ingredients:
So what makes her eggs ambrosial compared to my attempts at egg devilment? The answer – she adds a dollop of sour cream to the filling mix. That addition renders a velvety texture my taste buds find to be exquisite. As a bonus, she shares her daughter’s secret preparation tip which includes squishing the filling ingredients in a Ziploc bag to mix them. Once the egg deviling is properly mixed, she cuts off a corner of the bag and uses it as a piping tool to fill the eggs.
My goodness! That is culinary genius to a cook (I am using that term loosely) like me who regularly employs my smoke detector as an oven timer. Using Jane’s tips and my super fast boiled egg cooking Instant Pot, this yummy treat may very well become my lunch “meat” of choice.
An Attempted Southern Exposure
Meanwhile back at lunch #1, I join my mid-western musical friends some of whom claim to never even have heard of “The Andy Griffin Show.” This is an educational deficit that is beyond my imagination especially for people who seem to love Bluegrass. How can they not have ever listened to “The Darling Family” sing with Andy? In an attempt to somewhat rectify their lack of exposure to the highlights of being Southern, I bake up some cornpone for my luncheon contribution.
From their suspicious expressions and tentative fork poking one might have thought I made the faux pas of serving up deep fried possum fritters (which as far as I know is NOT a Southern holiday delicacy) for Thanksgiving. I try to calm their fears of tasting my exotic dish by offering the opinion that my cornpone can be described as falling halfway between spoon bread and cornbread in composition. “What is spoon bread?” they ask. Oh my goodness, I have a lot of work to do here!
Recovering with the Birds
Feasting and napping all day Thursday leaves me in desperate need of exercise on Saturday. Eager for some fresh scenery, I take a trip to the wilderness to track down a different holiday bird. Rumor has it that the Sandhill Cranes are returning to roost at Whitewater Draw. I’d like to get a view of the mass arrival of that flight.
After an hour’s drive, I unfold out of the Jeep only to be startled by the quiet produced by the absence of any red wing blackbirds. On a previous visit with Jane to this remote water aviary last spring those crimson tattooed chorus members sheltering here produced a sonic wave of sound nearly bowling us over as soon as we opened the car doors. Today I notice only a distant cacophony of bird shrieks and screeches revealing the flock’s location.
Following the trail and sounds, I turn a corner to the amazing sight of crane covered fields. Watching these sometimes red masked stalkers reminds me of spending time with any family gathering over the holidays. There is some drinking, lots of eating, some squabbling and a lot of chatter. After my watch informs me that I have completed my requisite daily step requirement pacing the park trails, I find a bench and tranquilly enjoy the theater of aviary drama before me. Below are a few scenes from the crane clan gathering.