Christmas at the Stallings house involved some serious baking and cooking. Mom was a whirlwind in the kitchen. We thought her objective was to offer as many choices as the cafeteria in town.
However, the pace was much slower outside where the turkey was cooking. Dad’s turkey would take 12-14 hours to cook on the Brinkmann smoker. The tradition was something of an art to me, a science to him.
Checking the water pan and adding wood throughout the night was part of the process. Invariably it would be cold by Florida standards, which added to the whole experience.
There was nothing like seeing the dark bronze colored turkey as dad carried it into the house. Watching the juices run down the knife as he sliced it at the table would make your mouth water.
Years later, I was checking the water pan on my own smoker. Gazing up at the stars, my eyes locked on something that fluttered down. Could it be? Dozens more of the tiny flakes confirmed it was snow. The flakes would land on top of the smoker, turn into a tiny drop and disappear. Like a fleeting thought, they were gone.
Shivering, I jammed my hands in my pockets and wondered if dad ever saw snow while smoking the turkey. Grateful he passed the tradition on; I smiled and walked back to the house.
What traditions will you pass on this Christmas? Blessings, -TJ
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