|Hal's last Thanksgiving.|
|Michael: Hey, where is everybody with the food?|
Hal’s heart finally gave out just before our second Thanksgiving on the beach. He’d phoned to assure me that he was bringing his famous cranberry sauce. He added that he was having some problems with a new heart medicine. “I hope I don’t drop dead at the table,” he said. But he didn’t make it to the Thanksgiving table. He died that night. We learned from his sister, when she came to town to manage his affairs, that he’d told her several times about how much he cherished Thanksgiving on the beach, and about how much he was looking forward to our next Thanksgiving. And that’s why we call it the Hal Walsh Memorial Thanksgiving at the Beach.
|Rocky, Mom, Paula, Merle, June|
Through the years we’ve had quite an assortment of people at the Hal Walsh Thanksgiving at the Beach party. A regular part of the gathering was Rosie Jones and her daughter Aja. They came because Rosie’s husband Michael, the singer, always worked on Thanksgiving. Now that he’s a senior staff member, he gets Thanksgivings off. And prefers to have his turkey at home with his little family. My mother joined us a few times, too. One year she yelled at one of our guests, an oncologist, because her sisters had both died of cancer. Many of our guests have come and gone from Key West, that is they've moved on to other places and other things. Mom is with Hal now, in the great beyond.
|Thea's last Jersey blizzard!!|
Our summertime neighbor Thea, a teacher retired at last and finally ready to live forevermore in her Key West house, just arrived in town. It’s so good to have her back because there’s nothing gloomier than an empty conch house except perhaps the sad e-mails that come from the homesick owner of said house, stranded in New Jersey trying to sell the house she owns there. This will be her first Thanksgiving on the beach.
I just made the cranberry sauce. Here’s the recipe: 2 cups whole raw cranberries, washed. 1 small onion. 3/4 cup sour cream. 1/2 cup sugar. 2 tablespoons horseradish from a jar. Grind the raw berries and onion together in a food processor. You want it chunky. Not pureed. In a bowl combine this raw mix with everything else. Put it in a plastic container and put it into your freezer. On Thanksgiving eve take it out of the freezer and place it into your refrigerator to thaw. Serve it cold or at room temperature. The relish will be creamy and bright pink and absurdly delicious with turkey and also good on turkey sandwiches the next day.
Today, as I was grinding cranberries, I wondered what Mom and Hal, my favorite rebels, might be doing for Thanksgiving this year. I had a vision of the two of them, in a Chinese restaurant, sipping martinis and enjoying the air conditioning.
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