Thanksgiving 2003. The race was on, deep-fat-fried turkey vs. oven-baked. My son, Skylar, and the men outside crowded around the sizzling pot with coats and beer in hand to ward off the autumn chill.
The rest of the cooks inside stirred the pots keeping an eye on the oven. I, the master sergeant, blasted out comments of how "Toots" used to do it. This eventually made my daughter-in-law run from the kitchen in tears over the gravy recipe. When I went to apologize, my son Fletcher's words of wisdom taught me a great lesson: "Toots is gone, make room for new family members."
We still argue about which turkey tasted the best. I now just stick to making desserts and playing with grandchildren. I did not know this was Fletcher's last Thanksgiving with us, but he made it a special day.