Welcome!! On Fridays we step back to 1850 and look at the changes in Two Pan where folks take a squint-eyed scowl at changing traditions.
Most of us walked the entire Oregon Trail to stake a piece of land in Two Pan. We’d never see our kin on the other side of the country again. (Some of us were excited about that). So when the Woolseys told folks Thanksgiving could be at their spread, we were all over that invite like ducks on a june bug.
Alice Hopkins suggested we have some Fall Contests to make it exciting. (Her husband was some big sword-rattling Reb in the Civil War and I think she’s still looking for a way for him to be victorious.)
All the men (except my Bricker, of course) snorted, lied how they’d outdo one another, then grabbed their guns, and tromped around to see who could shoot the biggest turkey. Bricker said if a bird happened to fly into his sluice pan, while he was panning for gold, he’d wring its neck and bring it in. I wasted a lot of words on him because none of the men got a turkey.
On Thanksgiving eve, they dug a big pit and started roasting a hindquarter of elk.
If I am to be completely honest, I was mad at myself but taking it out on Bricker. The women had a baking contest and I felt prideful to enter, as ill equipped as I am.
(My cookstove sits at the base of Smith Mountain where we lightened the oxens’ load because they were so wheezed out they could barely haul the wagon over the top. Bricker hasn’t gone back to get the stove yet.)
On the day of the feast, Roxie Poley won the blue ribbon for bread. My loaf tasted good, but cooked like it had been tortured in the mud oven.
Roxie’s dishes always have crunch. We’ve learned not to ask about it. Crickets or chestnuts…it’s all good.
Alice Hopkins got the blue ribbon for her pie. (“An old Southern recipe” she cooed. UGH.)
The judge, Elias Kral, said my pie looked like a tapeworm had crawled on top and died. But in the end, my pie dish was licked clean along with the others.
With our bellies full, and the children playing games by the creek, Alice started singing. We all joined in–there being no instruments in the territory.We sang. Told stories. Laughed.
For one afternoon, it was just like being home—it was Thanksgiving.
(Click Here for Roxie’s Bacon-Maple Muffin Recipe.
You can click all over Alice, but you’ll never get her secret recipe.)