Been There, Done That: Thanksgiving 23

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Story by Jon Stalnaker AKA The Studebaker Dude

It was a Hubbel Thanksgiving this year. My daughter Jillian and her husband Tim are the ones that convinced us to make the move from California to Oklahoma two years ago. They finally found their dream farm in Gypsy and have been having fun transforming their multi-acre property into a proper farm with dogs and chickens and goats along with appropriate farm equipment. They are living out a dream that I had when I was much younger. It never came to be in my life, and I came to my senses before I bought large acreage in Oklahoma myself. I was looking that direction until I came to my senses, realizing that I’m way too old for that. My half acre is much more suitable to my senior lifestyle and seeing what they are going through, I am so glad I came to my senses before it was too late.

Jillian and Tim were blessed with having both of their daughters flying in to celebrate with them, and we were delighted to join in. Their oldest daughter Sydney flew all the way from Scotland, where she is now a citizen. Younger daughter Alyssa flew out from California with her beau. Sydney’s fiancé planned to come but couldn’t get the time off work. We were looking forward to meeting him. Maybe next time. Since they raise eatin’ chickens and not turkeys, we cooked two chickens instead. I like eating turkey, but the chickens were fine. We can cook a turkey for Christmas instead this year.

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Alyssa didn’t make it until after Thanksgiving, so we celebrated a day early and a day late. Wednesday at our house and Friday at the farm, catching up with Alyssa. Wednesday’s Thanksgiving feast was delicious, and it was great to spend some time with Sydney, catching up with her new life in a foreign country. It was heartwarming to hear about the new life facing her as she prepares for a big wedding in the near future. Too bad we didn’t get to meet her fiancé, Paul. But I remember what it was like being new on the job and having to sacrifice time off more often than not. We had a great feast, but Sydney was not satisfied with that. Living in Scotland, the cuisine is a little on the bland side. I related to that and reminisced about when I was stationed in England back in 1973. It was even worse back then. Can you imagine no McDonald’s or Taco Bell and no pizza? Chinese food and fish and chips was the only take-out we could get. That’s what I experienced. At least they have more fast-food establishments now. I remember when I was stationed there, I had a strong hankerin’ for a hamburger. I finally ran across a place in the Soho district in London that claimed to have a great American hamburger. I stepped up to the counter and ordered a cheeseburger with bacon. When they handed it to me, I opened it up to look inside, only to find that the cheese was not even American cheese, but the worst thing was the bacon. It was Canadian bacon; why they call it bacon escapes me when it is clearly ham. So, Sydney was pining for some food she couldn’t get back home. Sushi was what she missed most, and we would take care of that hankerin’ before she flew back to Scotland. 

Saturday night, I took Jillian and Sydney to Sydney’s favorite Japanese restaurant in Tulsa, Fuji’s. Carlene had to stay home with her momma, and Tim had to drive Alyssa and Jacob to Oklahoma City to catch their plane back to California. We stuffed Sydney up with as much sushi as she could handle. It could be a while before she gets to experience great sushi again.

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We have many children and grandchildren, but Tim and Jillian are the only other ones that live in Oklahoma. So, we don’t have big family reunions. Getting to spend it with the Hubbels and both of their children was a blessing. I hope all y’all had a great Thanksgiving as well.