A Tropical Thanksgiving

Kait Car­son lives in and writes from Flori­da. Her lat­est book, DEATH BYKait-cover BLUE WATER, was released by Hen­ery Press on Vet­er­ans’ Day 2014.  In it, para­le­gal Hay­den Kent dis­cov­ers a man’s body at 120’ beneath the sea. She thinks she is wit­ness to a trag­ic acci­dent. Instead, she becomes the prime sus­pect when the vic­tim is revealed to be the broth­er of the man who recent­ly jilt­ed her, and she has no ali­bi.

A year ago I spent Thanks­giv­ing in Flori­da, but this year I’m at home in Penn­syl­va­nia. Unlike my guest, that was only a some­time vis­it. But Kait remem­bers past Thanks­giv­ings and has her own way of cel­e­brat­ing in the trop­ics. Let her tell you about it…

Tomor­row is Thanks­giv­ing. Known to my fam­i­ly as Turkey Day, it was a favorite child­hood hol­i­day. Whether it was at home or away – there were two con­stants. A groan­ing table of food (fol­lowed by groan­ing fam­i­ly mem­bers), and cold weather—sometimes snow. SNOW, what has snow got to do with a trop­i­cal thanks­giv­ing? Well, noth­ing. But my child­hood turkey days were usu­al­ly spent in the north. Some­times on my great grandfather’s farm. He was a hardy soul who lived into his 100s. Fam­i­ly his­to­ry varies on whether it was 103 or 106. I doubt he knew. He was born in the ‘old coun­try’ at home on, yes, a farm. No records were kept, or no records that he kept were kept.

Turkey day on the farm in upstate New York was spe­cial. All of the din­ner was home­grown. Since both of my great grand­par­ents were immi­grants, keep­ing Amer­i­can hol­i­days, espe­cial­ly Thanks­giv­ing, was a reli­gion with them. Our loca­tion made snow a fre­quent vis­i­tor on Thanks­giv­ing Day.

Fast for­ward to my late teens. Here comes the trop­i­cal part. I fell in love with Mia­mi as a five year old when we vis­it­ed cousins. I nev­er fell out of love. When the time came for me to go to col­lege, it was UM or bust—Go Canes! Once plant­ed, my roots grew in the warm, sandy soil, and I’ve nev­er left. My adult real­i­ty has Thanks­giv­ings far removed from any­thing resem­bling snow, unless you count white sandy beach­es. Tem­per­a­tures of 80 and above are the norm. But it’s Thanks­giv­ing! It’s autumn. It needs to be COLD. I don’t know who invent­ed air con­di­tion­ing. I could prob­a­bly Google it, but that’s been my solu­tion since I moved here. Crank the A/C down to 60, pull on a sweater, turn on the oven and have at it. Turkey, brus­sels sprouts, yams (a South­ern sta­ple I might add), mashed pota­toes, green beans, sweet pota­to pie (nod to the South) and pump­kin pie. It all pours out of my oven and on to the table. I close all the drapes to block out the green grass and palm trees, light the fire­place, and voila, a cool, Flori­da, Thanks­giv­ing.

Hay­den Kent, the hero­ine of DEATH BY BLUE WATER, would nev­er under­stand. Hay­den is a Conch. Born and bred in the Flori­da Keys. Her idea of Thanks­giv­ing runs to Flori­da lob­ster stuff­ing (very good by the way) and ambrosia (also very good). She’s prob­a­bly going to spend her ear­ly morn­ing SCUBA div­ing to cel­e­brate hav­ing a day off, and then host­ing a din­ner for her friends Mal­lo­ry and Jan­ice, and maybe her boss, Grant. Any way she slices it, the pie will be from the bak­ery, and every­one will have a late night, a great time, and left­overs to go.

Come to think of it, that sounds like the per­fect turkey day. No mat­ter where or how you cel­e­brate, I hope you have a won­der­ful day.

Kait-photoBIO: Kait Car­son lives and works in South Cen­tral Flori­da. She shares her home with her pilot hus­band, a Chero­kee Six air­plane, eight res­cued cats, and three birds. So far, there is no par­tridge in the avo­ca­do tree. Kait is a rabid SCUBA div­er and can be found under­wa­ter most sum­mer week­ends. A self-styled warm water wimp, the div­ing stops on Colum­bus Day and the day trips by air begin. Vis­it her at www.kaitcarson.com, or on Face­book at facebook.com/kaitcarsonauthor.

Kait’s men­tion of her favorite foods, espe­cial­ly that ambrosia, reminds me of our fam­i­ly specialty—a neces­si­ty for any hol­i­day meal, offi­cial­ly known as apple pud­ding, but also known as red stuff. Do you have a favorite for hol­i­day meals?


Comments

A Tropical Thanksgiving — 11 Comments

    • Nope, I’ve got a palm tree, live oak (that has a drag­on fruit cac­tus grow­ing on it) and a bougainvil­lea right out­side my win­dow. But, and this is big news for me, our temps are in the 60s now, head­ing to the 40s tonight and more 60s tomor­row. I’m so hap­py!

    • Thanks EB, I will e-mail you off line. It would be great to bake him a pie for his birth day. Yep, work­ing on Hay­den #2 today. Chap­ter 17 is in the books — 18–20 out­lined (as much as I ever out­line). Thanks for ask­ing.

      Hap­py Turkey Day to all. Nor­ma, thank you again for ask­ing me to blog today. I had a blast!

  1. Kait–you bad girl, rank­ing the air up and putting on a sweater! That’s not very green–however–air con­di­tiong is less ener­gy inten­sive than heat, so every­day you are using less than the rest of us up north dur­ing win­ter. Guess that gets you off the hook, so for one day crank away.

    Every­thing you’re bak­ing sounds good, but I have to admit I tried sweet pota­to pie and found it too sweet for my taste. I’ll stick with pump­kin, which I made with a gluten-free crust this year for my daugh­ter. (I also made a choco­late pie for every­one else.) I’d agree–Hayden appears to like take­out bet­ter than cook­ing. At the beach, we’ve had fresh tuna instead of turkey, and it nev­er broke my heart. Have a great Thanks­giv­ing, Kait!

    • LOL, I know, it’s awful to crank the a/c so low, but for one day…most of the time in the win­ter I have the win­dows open. I love fresh air — depend­ing on the humid­i­ty 🙂 I don’t add sug­ar to my sweet pota­to pie. Nor my pump­kin pie, but I use 1 can sweet­ened con­densed and one can evap milk. Both fat free. I dou­ble the amount of fill­ing of course to han­dle all that liq­uid but I bake in a deep dish. My hus­band hates sug­ar. Even my cook­ies are cut by half. So far, no one has noticed, so we are good. Would love to know how to make a gluten free crust. My neigh­bor is 103 and gluten intol­er­ant. He’ll be 104 the day after Christ­mas and I always want to bake some­thing for him — not so easy!

      • Bless his heart! 103! It’s an easy recipe, Kait, although bak­er that I am, as far as taste is con­cerned almost all “gluten-free” recipes I rate at B minus. This recipe looks good and stays togeth­er, which is the prob­lem with any­thing gluten-free. It’s the gluten that holds the dough togeth­er. So it will hold a pie fill­ing. It’s tak­en my daugh­ter a year to get her iron, min­er­als, and vit­a­min lev­els back to nor­mal after switch­ing to a GF diet. Let me know off line if you’d like the recipe. Most­ly GF recipes increase the fat and eggs to replace the gluten. I’m get­ting use to it, but it isn’t any less calo­ries!

        I hope you are work­ing on the next Hay­den ms.!

  2. Kait, loved your blog and bio. I lived in South Fla for 47 years after being raised in NJ. I loved it down there until the last 3. My hus­band who was also raised in the north and I were yearn­ing for the real change of sea­sons so we moved half way back — to the Asheville, NC area.

    I do remem­ber the a/c on while cook­ing the turkey and when it snowed down there in the 90s. Lots of good mem­o­ries.

    Your book sounds very inter­est­ing. Best of luck with it.

    Hap­py Hol­i­days to you and your fam­i­ly and to Norma’s too.

    • Thanks Jean — Don’t tell peo­ple, it blows my cov­er, but I was born in Bergen Coun­ty! I was just up in Greens­boro, NC for the Writ­ers’ Police Acad­e­my. What a glo­ri­ous area. I can see why you moved. Thank you for the kind words about the book. I hope you and your family–and Nor­ma and hers–had a won­der­ful Thanks­giv­ing. It was fun here in Flori­da, and we had nat­u­ral­ly cool temps, in the 60s. I still had the a/c on though 🙂

  3. Thanks all. We had a Hap­py Thanks­giv­ing too—the roads were clear for our dri­ve to Delaware (50 min­utes) for hol­i­day meal with daugh­ter, son-in-law, and grand­chil­dren. Lots of turkey, dress­ing, both sweets and mashies, red stuff, and pump­kin pie with whipped cream. Hope you all had a hap­py, as well!

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