Thanksgiving and Pea Salad


A year ago today Raf and I got up early, packed up the car and began our long drive to Spokane. My mom called a few days before to say that Doug didn’t have much longer to live. I didn’t know what that meant at the time, logically. Did he have a month? Three months? What did she mean by “not much longer?” I asked, “should I come home?” and she didn’t really have an answer. She just said something like, “It’s up to you, if you want to.”

I already knew the answer to the question before I finished asking it. I would go home and I would go as soon as I could. I wouldn’t even wait until my weekend, which started on Sunday. The logical, hopeful, part of me believed it would be another month before Doug died, but that little voice inside of me, my intuition, that thing that connects us all together (whatever you choose to call it) was telling me that I needed to be in Spokane right now. So we left on Thanksgiving morning.

The drive there was very difficult. I was really afraid of what I might encounter. Every part of me wanted to turn around and drive back to Sandy but that little inner voice kept me going. Whatever it was I was going to see I had to face it no matter what. I had to face it for Doug. He needed me and the rest my family and I was going to be there for him.

We pulled up to the house, walked in the door and there he was, laying on a hospital bed in the living room. The television was on. He was watching “The Deadliest Catch.” His eyes lit up when we walked in the door and he said “Hi Moni.” He was happy to see us. He apologized for his voice. It sounded strained and weird after being in the hospital (and probably because his lungs were pretty messed up at that point). He couldn’t move. I didn’t realize it at the time, but his body had already started shutting down. But otherwise he was very alert and happy and was able to chat with us.

So Thanksgiving turned out to be a really nice day, despite the situation. All of us were there, except my sister who was trying to fly down from Fairbanks. We sat around and told stories and ate turkey. We were all kind of still hopeful at that point. In reality we were in denial, but maybe that was a good thing just for that day. It gave one last, nice Thanksgiving with him where he could just hang out with us and we could enjoy each other.

One thing that he kept asking for was Pea Salad. It was his mother’s dish. She made it for every holiday and family barbeque. She when she died we decided to continue her tradition and make it for Thanksgiving in her honor. Kind of like the tomato aspic we make every year in my Granny Mary’s honor (yeah. it’s tomato jello. and it tastes about as good as it sounds). Doug really loved pea salad and it was pretty much the last thing he ate in his life. He wanted to be reminded of his mom, I think.

So, all of this rambling to share Grandma Edith’s Pea Salad recipe with you. In honor of Doug and Edith.

Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Pea Salad

Pea Salad may sound like it is not very appetizing on the surface. However, it is very delicious! It is a very quick and easy recipe and is great for potlucks because, since it is a salad, it is served cold. It is also one of those dishes that tastes even better the next day.

Grandma Edith’s Pea Salad.

2 cans of peas, drained
1 cup of shredded cheese
1 cup of shredded carrots
1/4th cup of chopped onion
1/2 cup miracle whip
1/2 cup of mayonnaise

Mix all ingredients together in a big bowl. Eat and enjoy.

Easy peasy, right? I’m all about fast and easy. As for the Miracle Whip, I am not a fan of it. I hate the taste of it on sandwiches. However, I have never tried this salad without it. I suppose if you wanted to you could go with a cup of mayo instead.