Author Topic: Life in Quarantine: One man's reflections  (Read 38400 times)

J. Thomas Shelley

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Re: Life in Quarantine: One man's reflections
« Reply #240 on: November 26, 2020, 07:36:06 PM »
I've always thought it terribly ironic that the descendants of those Pilgrims morphed into some of the groups that strayed farthest from orthodox Christianity--the Unitarians, of course, and what is today the UCC (which, we used to joke, means "Unitarians Considering Christ").

And so tragic that the Germanic Evangelical and Reformed Church merged with them.  The voices of Nevin and Schaff have all but been silenced.   Thankfully Schaff's translation of the Ante and Post Nicean Fathers remain the gold standard for English Patristic study.
Greek Orthodox-Ecumenical Patriarchate

Baptized, Confirmed, and Ordained United Methodist.
Served as a Lutheran Pastor October 31, 1989 - October 31, 2014.
Charter member of the first chapter of the Society of the Holy Trinity.

Chrismated Antiochian Orthodox, eve of Mary of Egypt Sunday, A.D. 2015

Charles Austin

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Re: Life in Quarantine: One man's reflections
« Reply #241 on: November 26, 2020, 10:31:22 PM »
More reflections on Thanksgiving in Quarantine:
The fine food service in our facility delivered the meal in three segments: appetizer (salad, cheese, cold cuts, shrimp cocktail), then main course (turkey, et al.) and finally desserts (several kinds of pies, ice cream, a chocolate torte.
The kids delivering were professional and polite and masked. The meals were on "real" plates, which they brought in and set on our table.
Not quite the colorful spread of earlier Thanksgivings and, of course, we were alone. But there it was.
Late in the afternoon we drove by the home of our daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren. Parked outside, they came out in yard for a picture and with packages of leftovers from their table. We kept apart, of course, no hugs, no close conversations. At the time it was fine; in retrospect it was a little sad.
We look ahead now, to see how to make Christmas a Christmas, that is, an observance that is true to all aspects of the festival. Isolation restrictions may ease by then.
But all is uncertain.
And so to bed.
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Back home from Sioux City after three days and a pleasant reunion of the East High School class of - can you believe it! - 1959.

James S. Rustad

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Re: Life in Quarantine: One man's reflections
« Reply #242 on: November 27, 2020, 11:51:47 AM »
Yesterday my beautiful wife, handsome son, and I celebrated Thanksgiving by spending most of the day preparing Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings.  I was awake first but waited quietly for my wife to arise.  She began by baking a few batches of cookies.  I started by stuffing celery.  When our son was up, he helped his mother with the cookies.  After that first batch of work we all took a break.

Later on our son and I went outside to prepare the turkey as it's easier to hose off the patio than it is to clean the kitchen.  Why is it that turkeys today come with at least a quart of water in the package?  I don't remember that from helping my mother.  Anyway, after getting rid of the extra water we spatchcocked the turkey, removing it's backbone and flattening it for grilling (we saved all the loose parts to use for gravy later).  We started up the grill, seasoned the bird, and flew it onto the grill.  While I tended to the bird our son returned inside to help his mom.  He made the dressing and helped with a few other things that needed doing.

When the turkey was ready, I carved it with our son's help (I don't walk much these days).  It had nice brown skin and juicy meat.  I've spatchcocked a turkey and grilled it twice now and it is now my standard turkey recipe.  The turkey cooks much more evenly and is done in less than three hours for a twenty-pound bird.

Our son said grace and we dug in.  All-in-all, a pretty normal Thanksgiving given that we did not want to travel.  We've celebrated Thanksgiving this way other years when not wanting to travel for various reasons.  Other years we have driven north to meet my family for dinner at the bar run by my godmother (it's a gathering place near where my family hunts).  A few times we have travelled to be with my wife's family in Minnesota.  Corona may be keeping us isolated, but we're dealing with it OK so far.

D. Engebretson

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Re: Life in Quarantine: One man's reflections
« Reply #243 on: November 27, 2020, 12:04:00 PM »
It was different, of course, not being with most of my children this Thanksgiving. I spent much of the day hunting (no luck; saw only three does all day).  The upside was that my wife and youngest daughter spent much of the day working together on the evening meal.  It's been some years since we did that at our house, and although much more food was produced that we could hope to consume, the time my wife and daughter spent in the kitchen together was a priceless gift of the holiday.  We watched a newer Christmas classic on TV, and enjoyed our time simply.  That may be the upshot of this 'new normal' this year.  Simpler.  That's not all bad.  In fact, it's good. We complicate our lives with too much this time of year.  Maybe the pandemic has given us a chance to reset our lives and go back to basics and enjoy time together as we once did. 
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

James S. Rustad

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Re: Life in Quarantine: One man's reflections
« Reply #244 on: November 27, 2020, 12:32:26 PM »
I agree.  Simple is good.

I spent much of the day hunting (no luck; saw only three does all day).

Where my family hunts that would have been considered a successful hunt, with up to three deer harvested.  My family hunts in an area that is nearly always considered to be overpopulated with each hunter issued a doe tag and encouraged to purchase additional doe tags.  We are blessed indeed with meat for the freezer.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2020, 12:34:21 PM by James S. Rustad »

Julio

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Re: Life in Quarantine: One man's reflections
« Reply #245 on: November 27, 2020, 12:32:47 PM »
This year we remembered the Thanksgiving, thirty something years ago, months after our fifty something year old sainted mother was received to glory.

We attended a Thanksgiving Eve service the evening before, Thanksgiving Day service (yes, in the day when they were indeed two separate and distinct services), followed by a family Thanksgiving meal, and a 400 mile round trip to friends for yet another Thanksgiving meal and we were gifted a small black and white fur ball puppy 🐶

Julio

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Re: Life in Quarantine: One man's reflections
« Reply #246 on: November 27, 2020, 07:47:33 PM »

We started up the grill, seasoned the bird, and flew it onto the grill.
<snip>
 The turkey cooks much more evenly and is done in less than three hours for a twenty-pound bird.
Interested ... our 22 lb turkey roasted 6 hrs @ 325 in the oven ... curious what type of grill you used that roasted 20 lb bird in 3 hrs.

Dan Fienen

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Re: Life in Quarantine: One man's reflections
« Reply #247 on: November 27, 2020, 07:53:17 PM »
In years past I'd do our turkey for about 18 hours in the smoker. I'd do it a couple of weeks ahead of time (need half way good weather for smoking on the back deck) completely debone it and into the freezer. At the proper time we'd then take it to church for our Thanksgiving pot luck. Not this year though. We haven't eaten together as a congregation since March.
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

James S. Rustad

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Re: Life in Quarantine: One man's reflections
« Reply #248 on: November 27, 2020, 08:34:48 PM »

We started up the grill, seasoned the bird, and flew it onto the grill.
<snip>
 The turkey cooks much more evenly and is done in less than three hours for a twenty-pound bird.
Interested ... our 22 lb turkey roasted 6 hrs @ 325 in the oven ... curious what type of grill you used that roasted 20 lb bird in 3 hrs.

The grill is nothing special, just a standard propane grill.  The key is that by spatchcocking the turkey you are converting the turkey from a large lump of meat to a thinner, more even layer with roughly twice the surface area exposed to the heat.  This allows it to cook more quickly and evenly.

One recipe for spatchcocked turkey says:
Spatchcock turkey cooks quickly. An 11 pound bird takes about 1 hour and 10 minutes to cook through. Larger birds may take a little longer and smaller birds may take less time. Remove the turkey from the oven when the meat from the thickest part of the breast reaches 165 degrees F.

That recipe includes some pictures of how to do it.  It shows using a shears to remove the backbone, but I've found that doesn't work on larger turkeys.  I needed to use a stout knife and a rubber mallet (yeah, it's abusing the knife, but I don't have a cleaver - go slow and use just enough force to cut one bone at a time and it should be fine).

Once the turkey is done, the leg quarters are easily removed and can then be carved further.  The breasts come off pretty easily as well by just following the bones with a knife.  You can then slice each breast crosswise to finish the job.

Because this cooks so much more quickly I expect we will have turkey more often.  It's not much more work than any other meal.

peterm

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Re: Life in Quarantine: One man's reflections
« Reply #249 on: November 30, 2020, 10:52:53 AM »
Thanksgiving alone: Breaking the myths. The Year of the Pandemic

In this pandemic year, Beloved Spouse and I will eat Thanksgiving dinner alone, the meal brought to our door in three courses. Over on another thread, Peter says Thanksgiving is “aspirational.” I would say the favored “pictures” of the holiday are mythological.
   Childhood Thanksgiving was filled with mythology. The Puritans’ “noble” quest for religious freedom. The cozy Pilgrim-Indian friendship. Norman Rockwell paintings, which we had in abundance. The family of several generations happily gathered. Even the wonderful deliciousness of the food. All myths. But we inserted our families into the myths and acted them out.
   Post-war years in Iowa, the Thanksgiving family was my parents, me, my maternal grandmother and a divorced aunt with three children. Sometimes that meant a “children’s table”. That grandmother died when I was 9; the aunt remarried and moved far away. In another part of Sioux City, a different covey of Austins gathered with paternal grandparents. Since we had moved across town, my parents and I were not really part of that sometimes tumultuous “family,” except on Christmas Eve when we made the 40-minute streetcar ride to the grandmother’s house. I don’t think I ever heard Grandpa Austin speak a word. He sat in his chair, smoking a pipe, generally ignoring everyone. He died when I was about 13.
   That year, I gained a “brother,” as we took in a 7-year old cousin, whose mother had died and whose father was unable to care for him.
   Most houses in my neighborhood had only one child. A few went “over the river and through the woods” to be with older relatives, but most stayed home. We kids would sometimes get together after Thanksgiving dinner, taking our sleds to a nearby hill if there was snow.
   Television arrived, with Thanksgiving specials, if we could get a picture that did not look like ghosts dancing in a snowstorm. When reception improved, it was the Macy’s Parade and – for some – football. We were adding to the myths of thanksgiving.
   I remember one, maybe two, larger Thanksgivings at our house with distant relatives visiting Sioux City. One of my mother’s sisters, a heavy drinker on her second marriage (there would be three). Two families from my father’s side who lived in Mason City (considered far away in pre-Interstate days). My piano teacher next-door neighbor, living alone in the house where her parents had died that year.
   In college years I had to connect with the family of the woman who would become Beloved Spouse. Not easy. No realized Norman Rockwell paintings there. And I was the interloper plotting to steal away the treasured First Grandchild.
   Thanksgivings the first 10 married years were “just us,” maybe another couple (we couldn’t afford to feed a crowd.) No continuity, no stability. Seminary. Internship in Kingston, NY. Back to Chicago. First parish. Big move from Iowa to New York.
   In New York, we assimilated the myths of longer-term friends, including a married couple, both Methodist clergy, the husband a journalist like me. Those Thanksgivings meant outstanding southern cooking (they were from Georgia and Tennessee), guests who were journalists, authors, and Methodist church executives. We were the only family with children. These were great times. But the husband finally came to terms with being gay; after an amicable divorce, the wife became a bishop’s assistant in Tennessee.
   The myths were set aside in Europe. It wasn’t a holiday. Americans would get together on the fourth Saturday in November for the Turkey fest, arranging for the consulate in Geneva to supply us with cranberry sauce.
   In the 1980s in New Jersey, Beloved Spouse and I became the host family. The number of chairs around the table varied, usually including the lesbian couple next door, our children (until Glenda went to Minneapolis for college), sometimes a girlfriend attached to our son, the divorced Methodist journalist, a older married couple with grown children, and one or two single schoolteachers. These, too, were very good years, and I truly miss the heavy work required to put it all together. (I know at least four ways to peel chestnuts; and all are difficult.)
   One of these years, I had to be in the newsroom by 1 pm and work until 11, so the dinner went on without me (as did the dinner in the homes of the 100 or so other people putting out the newspaper.) I spent a good part of that day cold and wet at the scene of a fire, and the rest of it calling cops to see if any of the domestic disputes had resulted in an arrest or fatality.
   Most of our friends “celebrated” similar Thanksgivings as changing, varied-myth festivals. Generally, the food remained, but little else. Furthermore, things in “the world,” civil unrest, political turmoil, church controversies, job insecurity, potentially fatal sicknesses and children of friends going through tough times were almost always present and intrusive to what was supposed to be a warm, cozy holiday.
    Then came Minneapolis two years ago. 
    Daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren always spent Thanksgiving three hours from Minneapolis with his family, so – reducing and changing the myths – we joined the table of a brother-in-law who had remarried some years after the sister of Beloved Spouse died. 
   And now The Year of the Pandemic. We will watch what's left of the Macy's Parade on television. The kids are nearby, as the family-gathering myth of our son-in-law has collapsed. But we can’t be with them. We will do a late-afternoon drive-by to pick up some of their leftovers.
    The myths of Thanksgiving. What a set of memories, experiences, changing locations, different faces around the table!
   And each year, we find things for which to be thankful. I suppose we’ll do that this Year of the Pandemic.
   -0-

I began my first Call in October of 1994, in Upstate NY (Elmira)  That first Thanksgiving was interesting for me because I was by myself with no family close by.  In my growing up years everyone used to gather at our farm for Thanksgiving where we were a riotous bunch and we would spend the weekend with cousins playing games, cutting and stacking wood and singing songs.  The older couple that were my neighbors in Elmira hosted what they called a "Strays" thanksgiving.  They collected all of us that they knew were alone, gave us each an assigned dish to bring, and we had a great time.  As a new pastor in a new community far from home I appreciated that gathering and those folks.  We continued that tradition for many years.
Rev. Peter Morlock- ELCA pastor serving two congregations in WIS

Charles Austin

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Re: Life in Quarantine: One man's reflections
« Reply #250 on: December 10, 2020, 05:52:29 AM »
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Back home from Sioux City after three days and a pleasant reunion of the East High School class of - can you believe it! - 1959.

Donald_Kirchner

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Re: Life in Quarantine: One man's reflections
« Reply #251 on: December 10, 2020, 08:20:11 AM »
Well done!
Don Kirchner

"Heaven's OK, but it’s not the end of the world." Jeff Gibbs

Dave Benke

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Re: Life in Quarantine: One man's reflections
« Reply #252 on: December 10, 2020, 08:43:21 AM »
This is great, Charles - thanks for your continued vocation as writer/author, especially this Christmas!

Dave Benke

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peter_speckhard

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Re: Life in Quarantine: One man's reflections
« Reply #254 on: December 10, 2020, 09:19:08 AM »
Have yourself a merry little Christmas! We don't plan to do things very much differently at our house. I have four Christmas Eve services and a houseful waiting to unwrap gifts. But there will be some inevitable differences from other years. The services won't be the same--masks, no passing candles, etc. and we aren't sure yet about grandparents being there. But whatever size it is, there is no getting around the need for it.