You grew up as the third oldest of twelve. Needless to say your house was crowded and at times chaotic, with twelve rambunctious kids vying for attention, space, and food. When you got married at eighteen you had a massive growth spurt because you suddenly had more than enough to eat.
Your family is enormously artistic. At our family reunions everyone contributes things they’ve created to an auction in order to finance the reunion. Your main mediums are photography and wood turning. You make the most gorgeous wooden bowls and decorative trees to sell at galleries and give as gifts.
Sometimes you stay quiet and in the background of conversations, but if the subject changes to something you’re passionate about the floodgates open, and you talk and talk and talk. Your favorite topics are probably art and food, which are also interests of mine. You love to tell me insider details about your wood turning, especially when the pieces are made from trees on our property.
For eighteen years you dug graves at a cemetery for a living. It was backbreaking work, but you enjoyed spending such a large portion of your days outside. You love the great outdoors and some of your favorite activities include feeding the birds, taking nature photography, and gardening.
You have the highest tolerance for spicy food of anyone I’ve ever met. We’ve all learned to not believe you when you tell us, “just try it, it’s not too spicy.” You love canning hot pickles that only increase in temperature as they sit in the jar, and experimenting with ingredient ratios to create the perfect fiery salsa.
For the holidays you often smoke a turkey, and it’s quite the process. You carefully select ingredients, some common such as sage and cumin, and others less common such as sliced lemons and molasses. You even choose specific types of wood (maple, apple, and cherry) to build the fire in the smoker. No wonder our turkeys always have such incredible flavor!
I love your smoked turkey, but even more importantly, I love you and can’t wait to see you in 3 short days!