Yesterday I was thinking of proposals. Perhaps it’s because an old friend of mine recently got married after years of being single. Her new husband proposed on one knee at a Renaissance Faire dressed as a noble lord. That’s kind of romantic. Married four times I’ve never had what I would deem a noteworthy proposal. Well, other than the one at a Halloween party years ago where my ex-boyfriend arrived unexpectedly dressed as a woman and proposed to me dressed as Minnie Mouse wearing mouse ears and whiskers. The occasion was made even more memorable by the fact we’d broken up six months prior and I’d attended the party with a man with whom I was enjoying a second date. A bit awkward. My date was dressed in full parachute gear. After the proposal he got quite drunk and we found him passed out in the back yard wrapped in his unfolded chute. Several cups of coffee later he commented he’d had some odd dates in his life but never had someone else proposed to his date while he was on it and she accepted. Ah well. I’m sure that story has been told more than once over the years since.
My first husband proposed after eleven days. This was an all time record for me. I was eighteen at the time and madly in love. Our parents did not embrace the idea as readily as we did, if at all. I was enrolled in college and on my way to fly the friendly skies, and he was studying to be an engineer. Neither of us had the sense we were born with. In the end my mother couldn’t argue with love, though I have to say she gave it her best effort. Carrots were waved in front of my face ranging from trips abroad to expensive vehicles. When that didn’t work I was threatened with boarding school or my Uncle Fred, who was always brought in when punishment was in the air. For as unhappy as my mother appeared with the situation, my stepfather was elated. He didn’t see it as losing a daughter but rather as gaining a game room. Immediately plans went into play for converting the extra bedroom into a recreation haven complete with all the man cave accoutrement. While my mother and I were picking out china patterns and choosing bridesmaids dresses, my stepfather was picking out pool lights and purchasing new cue racks. Happily a week before the wedding he relocated my canopy bed to its location in our newly rented two bedroom apartment. My last nights at home left me sleeping on a huge swimming pool raft with an inflatable palm tree sticking out of the center next to his newly delivered competition pool table.
Some guys are truly creative, pledging their undying love on huge billboards for all to see or renting space in the Time Square wraparound. Others use surprise attacks showing up unexpectedly on a television newscast or at the object of their affections workplace. I don’t hate that. Once a man I was dating sent me a gorilla on roller skates at work. Obviously obtaining an actual gorilla for the job might border on life threatening as well as infringing on numerous animal rights issues, so a very tall man showed up in a gorilla costume on skates instead. Carrying a huge bouquet of roses he arrived in my office with half the staff in tow. I was whisked up and carried over his shoulder around the office before being sung to, rather badly as I remember, and presented with my flowers. Fortunately I was young so the shock didn’t kill me, or the smell emanating from the fake fur composing his costume. Wheeww.
When you decide to take the plunge and ask the girl for her hand in a very public way to my mind you need to be really sure you have a willing participant. Nothing is more embarrassing than a prospective groom baring his soul at a huge media event, for example, only to find the target of his affections looking like a rodent cornered in the garage.
I’ve always thought men had it rough when it comes to approaching women. It seems from our side they would have the advantage. Men can walk up to a woman in a club and ask her to dance. A woman asking a man to dance might appear desperate or pushy. However, the down side of this is the woman asked to dance has the option to say no. This must be somewhat ego deflating I would imagine. Also, as is often the case, women tend to travel in packs. In order to cull one out of the herd you have to face the entire group in order to get a rope around her.
Back in the 80’s I remember a man passing me buy, stopping to introduce himself briefly, offering me a card, then moving on. The card read “This entitles you to one dance with me – please return if interested”. I must admit he got my attention. I don’t believe I ever took him up on it, but I did think it a unique approach. Women, for the most part, like to be wooed. A friend of mine’s husband walked past her one morning with a face full of cereal and said, “you know, I think we should get married”. Not the most romantic approach, however they’ve been married for twenty-three years to date and happily it would seem, so if it gets the girl to the altar whatever works.
Love is always an intricate weave rife with varying colorful patterns, some pretty and light, some dark and turbulent. Always love endures through war, hatred, famine and disease. Babies continue to populate the world, Hallmark thrives, and florists continue to push their roses out the door. Life is good.
I shared this back a few years ago and was asked to do it again. This was the first recipe for Thanksgiving ever passed down to me. It came from my father-in-law at the time who was a great fan of Mike Roy, a chef of his day. Really good. Happy Thanksgiving!
Select a fresh, plump turkey allowing about one pound for each serving. If you are using a frozen turkey, try to allow it to thaw about four days in the plastic container in the refrigerator. It will thaw overnight at room temperature. If you are stuck with a real emergency, run tap water over the turkey in the container. The neck is usually found in the body cavity and a package of giblets usually under the neck flap. Put these in a 3 quart sauce pan. The idea of this is that each time we season the dressing, we will add some of the seasoning to the giblets and neck from which we will make a stock for our gravy. With half of a lemon rub the inside of the bird thoroughly and sprinkle with salt, pepper and monosodium glutamate.
Now, we start THE DRESSING. We will allow about a cup of dressing for each pound of weight on the turkey. The recipe ingredients are for a fourteen pound bird and you may increase or decrease the following.
8 cups stale toasted bread cubes about half-inch square
3 cups corn bread, diced and crumbled (I use: 1 box Aunt Jam cornbread mix)
3/4 lb. butter
2 cups onion, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire
2 tablespoons herbs (for those of you who are old-fashioned sage and savory lovers…. Have at it….For myself, I prefer mixture of thyme, sweet basil and rosemary).
2 cups fruit (I vary this, using the diced fruit such as apricots, prunes and apples one time and pineapple and mandarin orange sections another time). I ONLY USED APRICOTS….. use whatever you want, canned, fresh or dried.
1/4 cup brandy (COMBO OF REGULAR & APRICOT BRANDY)
1/2 cup or more of Dry Vermouth (this is the secret ingredient, but be careful not to overdo the amount of vermouth)
Using one-half pound butter, saute’ the onions, celery and garlic until they are soft and transparent, but not brown. Put three tablespoons of the vegetable mixture with the giblets….add the rest of the mixture to the bread crumbs. Add the balance of the ingredients, remembering to add a small amount of each to the gravy stock. When the wine has been added , the dressing should be tossed lightly. It should be reasonably dry and if your taste indicates a moist dressing, add water or stock. Stuff the bird loosely with the dressing fore and aft. Secure with skewers. Rub the skin of the bird with the remaining one-quarter pound of butter. Place the bird BREAST DOWN in a rack in a open pan in a 275* oven allowing twenty-two minutes to a pound. Double check by inserting a meat thermometer at the point where the thigh meets the body and bring this internal meat temperature up to about 180*. Allow enough time so that the turkey is done one-half hour before serving time. When the bird is taken from the oven, place it on its back on a warm platter and allow it to set up for about one-half hour for ease of carving, saving the juices for the gravy making. The giblets would be covered with water and slowly simmered for an hour and one-half. The stock should be strained. The giblets may be finely chopped and included with the gravy if so desired.
If there is any fat among the drippings, measure off about one-fourth of a cup and melt in a heavy pot. Add 1/8 cup flour and 1/8 cup cornstarch and cook into the fat. If there are any more crusty drippings in the bottom of the pan, add them at this time. Slowly stir in the stock, bring to a boil, adjust for salt and pepper, seasoning to taste. Add one tablespoon of tomato paste, 1/4 cup of red current jelly and again adjust seasonings. If a thicker gravy is desired, mix 2 tablespoons cornstarch and 1/2 cup water together and add, stirring constantly until the proper degree of thickness if reached.