Thanksgiving Extravaganza

North America
December 1st 2009
Published: December 1st 2009
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 Video Playlist:

1: Jim's Kitchen 29 secs
Marilyn, Kathy and JimMarilyn, Kathy and JimMarilyn, Kathy and Jim

Here's a shot of my Aunt's and Uncle's in front of dinner. We had the best time.

Thanksgiving Dinner

The buildup for Thanksgiving was huge. I started it by asking Jim if Grace and I could come by and see him in my RV. He thought that would be great and bought a ticket for my Aunt Marilyn to come down too and stay for Thanksgiving. Then my Aunt Kathy wanted to come too, so she brought her whole family as well. There would be 11 of us all together facing down a 22 lb bird - we won!

Marilyn arrived on Sunday and Grace and I arrived on Tuesday with Anderson driving in from Savannah where he's working at the Marriott. Kathy and her family rented a mini-van and drove up on Wednesday. This was Jim's chance to show off the old run down house that he'd turned into a lovely, well designed plantation home. Jim has renovated several homes and even built one, but this might have been his biggest project yet. Kathy and Jim hadn't seen the house since it was in shambles 4 years earlier. Jim had turned one of the bedrooms into the kitchen and you can see his handywork in the photos. From the dark green, light green tile work
Zephyr and Big HairZephyr and Big HairZephyr and Big Hair

Anderson's dog Zephyr is the thinnest dog I've ever seen and gets blue eyes instead of red eyes. She has very long legs and big ears.
to the metal wire-ball light over the food table, no detail was left undone and it was fabulous. Jim has always had an eye for architecture and interior design and it has only gotten better over the years.

The Kokoruda family has always enjoyed great feasts and Jim pulled out all of the stops for this one. Jim insisted on doing all of the Thanksgiving day cooking. He had been working for days making 10 loaves of povitica bread on Monday, cleaning the whole house on Tuesday - including cleaning up drywall scraps and dust in the front bedroom, and making Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday. I googled povitica and didn't realize how it is such a KC tradition. The first hit is for the Strawberry Hill Povitica Company - the hill in Kansas City where my Mother's Slovenian family grew up in a slavic neighborhood with other Eastern Europeans. These rolled breads were always the distinguished dish at our Thanksgiving and Christmas meals and nobody does it as well as Jim. The nut bread was expecially tasty with loads of nuts and sugar to keep you coming back for more.

Jim's a perfectionist and he was running on
Little LickerLittle LickerLittle Licker

Zephyr was overly friendly and would french kiss you unless you sucked your lips in tight. Kathy is recoiling and laughing from a lick right on the mouth. You can see how Zephyr's toungue is still out here. like an anteater.
all cylinders to get the Thanksgiving dinner out. He made the whole dinner look easy and we played poker and watched some football while he pretty casually whipped up one of the best meals of my life. From the juicy, salty turkey to the sweet delicious ham, the meal was delectable and everyone was thankful for all of Jim's hard work and hospitality.

Let the Games Begin

When I grew up, my Uncle Jim and Aunt Marilyn always played a lot of games with us. From epic poker matches to long Monopoly games, we always had a competitive nature to us. Jim was always the leader in the games and Thanksgiving night we had a big game of Monopoly with 6 of us playing a new version with a credit card machine.

Intead of having your own money in this new version, you get a credit card and a machine that adds and subtracts debts between the credit cards. The new version has new names on all of the properties and everything is 10,000 times inflated. Now, Boardwalk is Times Square and rent has gone up from $2,000 to $20,000,000 with a hotel. It did take
Zephyr PortraitZephyr PortraitZephyr Portrait

I was enamored with this dog and had to hold her down pretty hard to get this shot. She was whipping her head around and it took several shots to get this picture.
awhile to get used to $2M plane tickets instead of $200 train tickets, but the same general principles applied and when Jim got the Oranges - his fate was sealed. We had a great recession though and it was probably 2 hours before Jim put hotels up on the oranges. It was probably 4 hours before he closed the deal and was the first champion.

On Friday we played again and I sold my soul to get the Oranges. Their the only property I had and they won me the Monopoly crown that I took away in my RV. Mashay had a good second place showing.

The oranges are a hard strategy to beat in Monopoly as long as you're a good roller. Any dissenting opinions?

We also played a great game of whiffle ball and instead of having two small teams and running the bases, we had batting and fielding practice. Ian had brought a nice big blue bat and we pounded the ball into the beautiful blue sky. I got the golden glove award and ran all over the field snagging the wiffle ball out of the wind like Amos Otis. Even with my leather
Tall ButtTall ButtTall Butt

Zephyr is probably a miniature greyhound that someone on the blog could properly identify. She has a long back that is very arched and her vertebrae stick out. Her tail is like a pipe cleaner and she runs like the wind.
glove, I still managed to break a blood vessel in my right index finger and it swelled up pretty good. Jim walloped a few balls and everyone got their turn at bat - including Alisha, Ian, Jim Stephan and myself. Jim Stephan gets the bonus for hitting one into the back of my truck. I probably had the batting championship too as the wind picked up and the ball sailed into the upper stratosphere - I get it from my Dad.

There was a good breeze, so we flew my kites and Kathy crash landed one on Jim's roof. She managed to drag it over the roof though and back into the air. She said she was the kite champion in high school but no one else could remember any kite contests that could bestow such an honor on her.

The new game in town for Jim was the Wii. We had a history of electronic bowling back to the Intellivision days. We mainly bowled and Ian and I played one round of golf (I got the high score!). In bowling, I again set the pace with a 231 - a little below my average in the real
Southern PlantationSouthern PlantationSouthern Plantation

Here's Jim's house with landscaping. The house was built around the turn of the century and Jim bought it online after people hadn't lived in it for years. He built up the berms to escape the flatland that pervades the area.
world. We got Jim to play a game and the competition heated up quickly. Somehow I managed to fall to pieces as soon as his big mouth got in the way.

I was down 8 pins going into the 10th so Jim Razzed me really hard since this was the first time he'd played on the Wii. I figured I had gotten griddle elbow from flipping pancakes for everyone that Friday morning. I just wasn't hitting the pocket like I was in the earlier game, so I adjusted my position so that I was only 2 boards over instead of three. In the 10th frame, I got 2 strikes and 7 pins and ended up with a 178.

Now the pressure was on Jim and he had to bowl a double strike to beat me since he had a 157 going into the 10th. On his approach in the 10th, he swung and hit the couch leaving the 1-2-7-8-10 split. One of the ugliest splits that I'd never seen. He ended up getting 4 of the pins and I beat him by ten pins after being 8 down. If it wasn't for the couch jumping out and hitting
Uncles in the KitchenUncles in the KitchenUncles in the Kitchen

Here are my Uncles Anderson, Jim and Ken doing the final preparations of Thanksgiving meal.
his hand, all hell would have broken loose and his head might of exploded in self gloating.

While Jim and I flapped our mouths, Ian quitely crushed us and won that game by a handy margin - probably around 200.

We played again and Jim was getting more into it this time with every strike. We were neck and neck this game and he was setting the pace. Jim had a turkey and on his approach for his fourth strike he yelled out "FOUR IN A ROW!" like a little kid on Christmas. Unfortunately, in his exuberance he got a little too much head pin and only got nine pins or there would have been some major razzing and a major victory. He ended up winning the second game by one pin.

So in the end, Jim and I both won one Monopoly game and one bowling game. The rematch will have to continue on another holiday. It was really like the old times playing with Jim. What was unusual was that I actually won some games this time.


In the end, we not only had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner, but got to enjoy
Sweet Potato SouffleSweet Potato SouffleSweet Potato Souffle

Here was an unusual dish of sweet potatoes whipped into a souffle. I don't remember what the dark specs are.
the presence of my Uncle Jim. Southern hospitality has rubbed off on him and he was very graceous and generous. I'm very thankful to have such a kind uncle who knows how to compete and have a good time. He's been teaching high school in Valdosta, Georgia for a few years and will retire after this year. Hopefully he'll have more time to play games after that. He'll probably move to Asheville, NC in a few years.

It was great to see Kathy and Jim getting along well. Their brother John had gotten them to talk again after a few years of silence. This was their first visit and it was a huge success. The Kokorudas were in good cheer all weekend and their hardy laughter was heard throughout the weekend - especially watching Lucy in Long, Long Trailer. Ricky really nailed the scene where he had to back up the trailer into a long driveway. It was really well done, so I've changed the name of the blog to that. See the movie if you can.

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving as well and are getting into the Christmas spirit. We have the RV decorated
Goofy Aunt KathyGoofy Aunt KathyGoofy Aunt Kathy

Here's my sweet Aunth with my wig. It was rare that more than a couple minutes would go by without a cackle from Kathy. We were glad to see her so happy as usual.
now and I'll include some of that next time as well as other adventures in Pensacola - like visiting my Niece Audrey.


Additional photos below
Photos: 24, Displayed: 24


Poker timePoker time
Poker time

Jim asked about my camera on the table and so I took this picture with the wide angle lens. He was big stack at the start of the evening, but I prevailed as the big winner. I won $13 (mainly on a $7.50 bet in guts when I had three aces) while most others were slightly down or broke.
Crazy Cat LadyCrazy Cat Lady
Crazy Cat Lady

Here are two crazy cat ladies. One is real life and has 15 cats in her home. She rescued them after a hurricane and wouldn't let them go. The other is the crazy cat lady action figure.
Long Long TrailerLong Long Trailer
Long Long Trailer

Grace and everyone is watching Lucy and Ricky (actually Tacy and Nicky) in Long Long Trailer. This happened to be showing on AMC, so we gathered around to watch. This is the scene where Ricky and Lucy just arrived at the Aunt's house before they demolish the yard and the arbor.
Watching and LaughingWatching and Laughing
Watching and Laughing

Kathy was laughing hysterically at the backing up scene in the movie. She could barely catch her breath as we watched.
Now that's a turkey!Now that's a turkey!
Now that's a turkey!

Jim was the biggest turkey at the dinner. We had gotten in a little argument about how to get a turkey browned well. I suggested that you could broil it for the last couple of minutes and Jim wasn't into it. He's showing the final product here and saying how he didn't broil it.
Carving it upCarving it up
Carving it up

Here's Jim carving the bird. We only ate one of the breasts at dinner and had plenty of leftovers.
Ian and MashayIan and Mashay
Ian and Mashay

Here's Ian (Kathy's son) and his girlfriend Mashay in Jim's living room.
The SpreadThe Spread
The Spread

Here's a shot of the dinner starting with the turkey, then dressing, gravy, green beans, cranberries, cheese bread, nut bread, ham, weird green jello, and sweet potato souffle. All cooked to perfection.
The Kokoruda specialThe Kokoruda special
The Kokoruda special

Jim made 10 loaves of cheese and nut bread. This is a family tradition and we had loads of it. In the old days, we'd get 1 or 2 pieces before it ran out. Jim had multiple loaves and everyone had plenty - I heard Kathy even took some home and ate it in the Waffle House with some of their ham.
Marilyn Stocking UpMarilyn Stocking Up
Marilyn Stocking Up

Marilyn was filling her plate at the feast.
Ian reaching for some hamIan reaching for some ham
Ian reaching for some ham

Ian and Alishawere making the rounds at the table.
Digging inDigging in
Digging in

Marilyn, Ken and Jim enjoying the dinner. We ate on Jims patio and all 11 of us fit perfectly on his 4'x8' plywood table.
Ian, Jim and KathyIan, Jim and Kathy
Ian, Jim and Kathy

Full and happy at the Thanksgiving table.
The Whole BunchThe Whole Bunch
The Whole Bunch

Here's all 11 of us: Kathy, Anderson, Alisha, Marilyn, Ken, Jim, Scott, Grace, Mashay, Ian and Jim. There may never be a finer meal. The screened patio was perfect and the beautiful sunny day topped it all off.
Audrey And Me at the BeachAudrey And Me at the Beach
Audrey And Me at the Beach

Here's a picture for next time...

1st December 2009

The best Thanksgiving EVER!!
It was the happiest Thanksgiving Holiday ever!! At Jim's house, we filled up the house with laughter, love, care, thankfulness and great holiday spirit. The family relationships were bonded tighter than ever after our Thanksgiving visit at Jim's loving home. I am very thankful for everything, everyplace, everyone that I have received in my life. As you can tell from this blog, Jim and Scott were very competitive to each other about their games. I had so much fun watching these two big men fight like two big boys. Anyway, the spot on the sweet potato soufflé was chopped pecan. I enjoyed cooking some with Jim and also to learn some of his tricks on cooking. I always feel there are endless learning possibilities and fun activities in kitchen. I love the life style of long long trailer, and I will watch it over and over again……………… thanks for the blog, Scott and I enjoy it very much every time I read it and please keep it coming!! Love yours, Grace

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