Thanksgiving: Imagine if you will …

By Patricia Ann Speelman - [email protected]

SIDNEY — Imagine, if you will …

It’s Thanksgiving. The table is set for the 10 to 15 family members who will arrive any time now. There’s a cheese ball appetizer to appease until dinner is ready. Scalloped potatoes are warming, there’s a dish of green beans and ham and a kale, lettuce and spinach salad with just enough tomato, onion and cucumber.

On the sideboard rest pies, all ready for dessert.

The family come in with hugs to share and find their places for the meal. They say grace and eagerly anticipate the arrival of their hostess from a kitchen that has been putting out tantalizing aromas since this morning. The door swings open and here she comes. Oohs and ahhs fill the room as eyes widen and smiles grow broad. She proudly enters, bearing into the dining room a platter so big it takes both her hands to carefully carry it. It’s the day’s main course, what everyone has been waiting for, a large dish of — lasagna?

Not everyone will have turkey on this most American of holidays.

Tammy VanHook, of Sidney, her 90-year-old mother, Marge Davis, and their family are some who won’t.

“Last year, we didn’t do a whole lot of anything,” VanHook said. “I wanted to do something for (Mommy’s) Thanksgiving, but I’m doing what I want. I’m not a very good cook, and I don’t like turkey. We’re going Italiano, Hawaiian and southern. We’re going everywhere we can go with this dinner.”

“That about blows my mind,” Davis laughed. “She told me what she’s making. I just grabbed my head and wanted to run away, but I couldn’t do that in my wheelchair.”

Besides the lasagna, potaotes, beans and salad, on the menu are chicken parmesan, shrimp scampi, garlic toast, Velveta dip and cole slaw, the latter to be made by VanHook’s brother, Lee Brown.

“I won’t know if it’s edible until he makes it,” VanHook said.

She’ll make the potatoes in her slow cooker. The lasagna will be purchased frozen and then heated. Davis is responsible for the cheese ball and vegetable crudites. The pies will come from the Spot, “because no one beats the Spot’s pies ever,” VanHook said. She will, however, attempt to bake one dessert, her mother’s beloved luau cake. And she’s fixing enough food that there will be lots of leftovers for people to take home.

In earlier years, before Davis became ill and turned over hostessing duties to others, she would prepare a traditional Thanksgiving meal.

“I always fixed my own Thanksgiving and baked my own pies. And I served turkey,” she said, emphatically.

VanHook doesn’t care and laughs it off. She knows she’s breaking many traditions. But her efforts are more to give her mother a reason to celebrate than to follow popular “rules.” And it will accomplish what most holiday get-togethers strive to do.

“It’s not quite (a usual) Thanksgiving, but it’s going to bring the family together,” she said.

By Patricia Ann Speelman

[email protected]

Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.