A Butler Thanksgiving

I finally do have to tell one food story about my own family, the Butlers. My mom was a practical, hearty, and delicious home cookin’ cook, and over Thanksgiving when I was in high school, we would have as many as 20 friends staying over for the last weekend of deer season in Vermont. All would culminate with the Thanksgiving feast that was served immediately after dark on Sunday, the final day of the season. However, these family friends would often begin wandering in anytime from 1 PM onward, depending on whether or not they really thought they would see a deer or not. This particular Sunday began with a cold freezing drizzle that kept up all day, so by 1 PM, everyone was back in the house, eagerly awaiting a suddenly speeded-up meal. Mom was making pies, sort of assembly line, from scratch, and was rolling out crusts to the 10 or 12 pies we would have. One of the guests insisted on stealing a little soft pie crust as Mom was rolling it, then another, as she tried to shoo them away. This attracted more people and the kitchen soon filled, until my gentle 94-pound, 4’10” mother suddenly had enough. She picked up a big ball of crust and winged it like a baseball at the original perpetrator. He partially ducked, and half the crust smashed into the top of his head and hung down around his ears and neck, while the other half sprayed 2 or 3 other people with pieces. He reached for the chunk, but she had grabbed a second ball and hit another thief. This kept up for a full 10 minutes until the kitchen and the people were layered with the crust to a dozen pies. I remember running in on hearing all the excitement and catching a chunk right across the bridge of my nose. No one had mercy — hair, necks, shirts, down the back…to 16-year old me, it was awesome. We had pudding for Thanksgiving dessert.

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