The great exciting news here is that #2 daughter is home. I continue to cough and sniffle and sneeze, but it doesn’t matter, because nearly all my family is at home. There is no greater happiness, unless you can have all the family at home.

Even though tomorrow is Thanksgiving, I have almost none of the preparations done, because of the aforementioned illness. My plan to make up for this is for everyone in the family to pitch in and get it all done today. I outlined this plan to the Merry Band yesterday, croaking at them with my bright red nose and dark purple undereye circles.

“Oooh,” said #2 son with a depth of sarcasm chilling in one so young, “We get to make centerpieces.” He will probably end up having to scrub the bathrooms.

I have made Susan Stamberg’s cranberry relish. If you listen to NPR, you are familiar with this concoction of cranberries, horseradish, and sour cream. That Man and I trade off years. I made it and gave him half, and then next year he will make it and give me half. It is not to everyone’s taste, so half a recipe is plenty for each of our families. The first year that we made it, he found a tutorial online showing sock monkeys preparing it. After diligent searching, I have found this one for you. I don’t think it is the same one, but who knows? It is still cute.

Until I read about Susan Stamberg’s relish and incidentally saw her picture, I thought that she was a large African-American woman wearing Chanel suits. That’s just how her voice sounded to me.

This morning I will make Possum Pie.

Possum Pie

1 c. flour
1/2 c butter
1/2 c. chopped pecans
8 oz. cream cheese
1 c. powdered sugar
1 c. Cool Whip
2 pkg. instant chocolate pudding, mixed with 3 c.milk

Combine flour, butter, and pecans. Form crust in pie pan. Bake 10 minutes at 350 °. Cool. Mix the cream  cheese and powdered sugar and spread over the cooled crust. Pour the pudding over cream cheese mixture. Top with Cool Whip and chopped nuts.

Certainly, you could make this with actual whipped cream and a nice homemade chocolate pudding or mousse. However, #2 son loves this stuff and is convinced that the artificial ingredients are what really make it. He has been known to come with me through the grocery store aisles, making sure that I am getting the true high-fructose corn syrup and modified palm oil stuff instead of healthy alternatives. It is the Poster Queen’s recipe. She also gave me a recipe for a breakfast dish made with refrigerated crescent rolls and cream cheese and sugar. #2 son would probably like to go live with the Poster Queen.

Tonight I will do the rolls, and possibly the sweet potato casserole. #2 daughter is a fan of this dish, and has begged me not to introduce anything healthy into it. There may also be Jell-O made today. We are not big Jell-O eaters at our house, but there really is nothing as pretty for the table as a well-molded Jell-O salad. Around here, many people call these things “congealed salads,” which I find disgusting, so I just use the brand name. Jell-O fans will want to visit the Jell-O Museum and Gallery. The ambivalent will want to rush right over to the Jell-O section of the Gallery of Regrettable Foods.

#1 daughter, in the spirit of making table-decoration food, is preparing the infamous Green Bean Casserole. Son-in-law’s family apparently serves this dish every Thanksgiving, and #1 daughter is making Thanksgiving dinner for his family, so she is adding it to her menu. She says that they do not eat it, but they always make it. I have never had this dish, but it seems much worse than Jell-O. Also, since Jell-O is cheap and contains no actual food of any kind, I do not feel bad about throwing it away the next day.

Tomorrow morning will be for making pies and vegetables while ignoring the Macy’s parade on TV. My dad is bringing the turkey and dressing.

We also have a turkey in our freezer, because my husband’s company handed out turkeys before laying everyone off for the rest of the year. That Man feels that there was a sort of evil irony to that, but I am grateful. The company usually provides a ham or a second turkey at Christmas, too. In general, it is a good harbinger for the economy; when there is a ham, the economy as a whole is usually pretty good the following year. Turkey years tend to be rough. This year, the company has, by shutting down so early, avoided the whole thing, but I cannot help but think that this is a worse sign than a second turkey. In any case, my dad always brings a turkey at Thanksgiving, and we always have a second turkey dinner for New Year, courtesy of the company. We used to try to convince my dad not to bring the turkey, because we already had one, but I think he doesn’t trust me to roast a turkey properly.

The other things that have to be done today are haircuts for all and housecleaning. If you explore all the amusing links I have given you today, you could put off your housecleaning for several hours.

I did wake up in the middle of the night thinking I should make candles today, because Janalisa showed me the most charming centerpiece with autumn-tinted candles and pressed leaves, but that is the sort of impulse that can be overcome in the clear light of day, with sufficient willpower.