I spent half my life living in Chicago and the suburbs, meaning I lived half my life in Cook County, Illinois. Just an interesting side note.
My stepfather, Tex, was a good cook, and since he had experience cooking for a crowd, he usually cooked on the holidays. He was a master of the Weber kettle. That’s a charcoal grill with a vented lid, making it an oven when it had to be. On the big holidays, that’s where he’d cook the meat: turkey on Thanksgiving, prime rib on Christmas, leg of lamb on Easter, and ham just about anytime during the year, sometimes in addition to or instead of the holiday meat. Didn’t matter if it was ten below and snowing, he cooked outside.
Mom was one who, if you didn’t have a place to go on the holidays, she’d insist you join us. For that matter, if you didn’t want to eat alone on a given night, she’d invite you. “We’re just having chicken and a vegetable,” she’d say, “come on over around six.” It was easy to wrangle an invitation to our house.
Sundays were for “the usual crowd,” which would be Grandma Holton and her sister Florence and Mom’s Aunt Cash. Tex would drive down to Rogers Park and pick them up in the early afternoon and they’d spend the day with us. When Tex took them home, they’d have “care packages” of some of the leftovers. We always cooked for an army, so there was plenty for everyone.
Tex had a nickname for the old ladies, “The Lavender Hill Mob,” after the movie with Alec Guinness. Eventually they all passed away, and with that went my Sundays. By then, of course, I was married and living in Atlanta, but it was a loss.
I wish I could have just one more dinner with them.
Stream of Consciousness Saturday is sponsored by Linda Hill.