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Published: Wednesday, November 23, 2011, 12:01 a.m.

Herald readers share their Thanksgiving memories, funny and touching

  • Erin Elizabeth Schiffner-Fullerton arrived on Friday to celebrate Thanksgiving with her family and parents Katherine Schiffner and Bryan Fullerton.

    Erin Elizabeth Schiffner-Fullerton arrived on Friday to celebrate Thanksgiving with her family and parents Katherine Schiffner and Bryan Fullerton.

  • Illustration by Judy Stanley

Thanksgiving is a time of year when folks gather around tables and share stories.
I asked readers to tell me what they might be talking about Thursday at their house. They told me about poignant memories and silly times.
Erin Elizabeth Schiffner-Fullerton arrived in time to be passed around the table by her parents, Katherine Schiffner and Bryan Fullerton. Erin was born Friday and weighed 7 pounds, 4 ounces.
Isn't she the cutest?
Katherine worked for The Herald, and other newspapers, before becoming a spokeswoman for Everett Community College. She will celebrate Thanksgiving with family, including her parents from Spokane, Karen and John Schiffner, who will meet their first grandchild.
"When I was working as a reporter for The Wenatchee World, I was unable to go to Spokane for Thanksgiving because I had to work the day before and day after the holiday, so my family decided to come to me," Katherine said. "I was so grateful. It would have been hard to celebrate without them."
They shared a great dinner and were playing Monopoly when Katherine got word of an airplane that had crashed on its way to Wenatchee, killing all five people on board.
"It was a very somber end to the holiday," she said. "It reminded me of the many reasons I have to be thankful, especially being able to spend time with my family."

Mark Hinricksen, who owned Del's Nursery in Marysville, said there was drama one Thanksgiving in the early 1980s.
"The power went out, after the turkey was in the oven for several hours at my folk's home in Marysville," Hinricksen said. "We had to run down to the nursery and finish cooking the turkey in an oven that hadn't been used in years."
He said it was pure kismet that the only place in Marysville that had power was about three square blocks on the north end of town.
"Divine intervention. If I remember right, the power was out for a couple of days."

Sharon Szekely of Camano Island said she has been thinking about how much things have changed about holiday meals around her house.
"No more going to grandma's house, everyone sitting around the same table and eating until you can't move," Szekely said. "I used to go to a movie with my daughter every year. She grew up and moved away."
Szekely still cooks a turkey and she loves the leftovers.
"To remember my mom I make her dilled carrot recipe. Always a favorite. And I make a pie, usually pumpkin. In the good old days the pie was blackberry."

RaeJean Hasenoehrl of Stanwood said as a teenager, her domestic skills contributed toward the toxic waste problem within the United States.
"Once I was married and living hundreds of miles away from my family, I realized that, with Thanksgiving a few short weeks away, it might be wise for me to do a practice run in making a proper holiday meal," Hasenoehrl said. "Without my mother's capable hands to rescue the meal, I was forced to pay attention to the culinary details of seasoning the turkey, cooking the potatoes to fork-tender perfection and thickening the gravy without turning it into sludge."
She cooked the turkey in a baking dish, removed the turkey, and placed the dish with tasty drippings on the stove. She measured in the flour, just as she'd seen her mother do a hundred times.
All at once, gunshots sounded.
"I took the duck-and-cover position on the kitchen floor. My heart pounded as I waited for more gunshots to sound. And the phone to call the police -- heaven help me -- it was in the other room. A couple of minutes passed by. No more gunshots. And I realized the burner of the stove was still on. 'I must rescue the gravy!' I thought."
As she struggled to her feet, she realized there was broken glass all around. The gunshots must have come through the apartment's window.
"Heart pounding, I reached to turn off the stove burner. More glass, scattered all over the stove. And it was covered with my beautiful gravy. Vaguely, I recalled the words of my mother: 'Never place a Pyrex baking dish on a hot burner or the glass will explode.' "
The only police that needed to be called were the kitchen police, Hasenoehrl said.

Marcie Cameron of Gold Bar said her favorite part of Thanksgiving is hands around the table.
"There are 20 people there, and we all say what we are thankful for that year," Cameron said. "I love hearing about my families lives and what the year held for everyone."

Dr. Jim Weisenbach of Marysville said to remember that a balanced diet on Thanksgiving is turkey, cranberry sauce and stuffing sandwiches, one in each hand.
Pie is an acceptable substitute, too, he said.

Patti Knutson of Everett said her family shares a story about her favorite food every Thanksgiving.
"Plum pudding, carefully steamed and it took all day," Knutson said. "It was great to give the history of plum pudding to my guests and family at the Christmas dinner table after Christmas dinner."
For the presentation of her pudding, the recipe suggested that she soak sugar cubes in lemon flavoring, which has an alcohol base. After soaking, put a circle of the sugar cubes around the pudding on your dish and light them for a beautiful dramatic presentation.
"Well I lit them and watched in horror when the flames got bigger and bigger. You could feel the heat on your face from a distance at the table. Concern grew on everyone's face as we discussed what to do about the fire."
Panic set in and eyes grew larger as a couple of them decided to take it outside to burn.
"I carefully lifted it off the table, careful not to burn my face and hair, and put it onto a baking dish that someone else retrieved from the kitchen and off we went to the yard," Knutson said. "We placed the flaming pudding in a secured spot to burn."
To her relief, they didn't burn down the house.
They even retrieved the pudding, added a cream sauce and ate it.
"Yummy. It was very good but very scary. Ha. We tell this story just about every year."

Sue and Bob Strickland of Everett like to spend holidays together reminiscing about the different places they have been, talking about the places they would like to see, and being thankful for their multitude of blessings.
"We are looking forward to a day of enjoyment by eating ourselves silly with wonderful stuffing and giblet gravy, our favorite Thanksgiving fare, at one of our local eateries, then taking in a new movie," Sue Strickland said. "We wish all of our friends a very happy Thanksgiving."

My friend, Patti Wright of Lynnwood, said the first time her sister, Cheryl, made the mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving, she didn't mince the garlic.
"So people started biting into big cloves," Wright said.
Patti and her husband Les will have dinner Thursday with Cheryl Dixon-Mauri and Robert Mauri in Seattle. Patti gets in the door if she brings her famous deviled eggs.
"My brother-in-law is a 'foodie' and in addition to turkey, we get to sample such things as rabbit and squab," Patti said. "Everything on the table is made from scratch including the stuffing, gravy and whipped cream for the pumpkin pie."

Sandy Ward of Lynnwood said they talk about the Thanksgiving she flew from Seattle to Salt Lake City with luggage full of tools.
"Instead of turkey dinner, we worked around the clock Thanksgiving Day until the Sunday to plumb, frame, sheetrock and finish a bathroom in the basement of my brother's house near Salt Lake City," Ward said. "My nephew, who was 14 at the time, had been diagnosed with lymphoma and was undergoing chemotherapy and they were in desperate need of an additional bathroom."
It was the most significant Thanksgiving of our lives, she said.
And thankfully, her nephew, Robert, is now 29 years old.

Kristi O'Harran: 425-339-3451; oharran@heraldnet.com.
Story tags » Customs & TraditionsCookingFoodThanksgiving

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