“Stuffing was your favorite dish at Thanksgiving dinner.
But only made a certain way, with lots of butter and only celery – no onions or mushrooms.
In fact, I remember every time Mom finished making the stuffing, you would immediately grab a little bowl, and fill it with a few steaming hot spoonfuls. You couldn’t wait for everyone else to sit down and get plates, you needed to taste it right away.
As years went by and I took over cooking Thanksgiving dinner, you would text me on those Thursday mornings, reminding me how to prepare the stuffing and to make one pan exactly the way you liked it. Just like Mom’s.
Lots of butter. Only celery. No onions or mushrooms.
‘If I taste even one mushroom, I’ll never forgive you and my whole day will be ruined,’ you’d say to me.
As annoying as your lack of confidence in my cooking skills was, I’d get the warmest feeling inside, and feel the biggest smile grow wide, watching you take the first bite, knowing I succeeded.
It was one of life’s simplest gifts for you.
That first taste of stuffing every year.
Something you could count on and look forward to.
Well, my sweet seester, this year is our first Thanksgiving without you.
And I feel that vast void deep down in my soul, my heart breaking with the realization I won’t get that text from you Thursday morning.
But I’m still making your stuffing.
With lots of butter, only celery, and with no onions or mushrooms.
Even though nobody else in our family has such specific, irritating culinary requests.
Because I couldn’t imagine our Thanksgiving dinner any other way.
And when I take that first bite of stuffing, fresh out of the oven, I’m going to get the warmest feeling inside and feel the biggest smile grow, knowing that you’re up there somewhere watching me.
That you’ll be with me.
With all of us.
Thanksgiving stuffing is one of life’s simplest gifts.
Something I can count on and look forward to.
Because every year, it will bring me back to you.”
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