Kait Carson lives in and writes from Florida. Her latest book, DEATH BY 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.
BIO: 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?