Part Two: Single Dad’s Guide to Thanksgiving – Missing in Action

Jake, left on his own in Virginia, was armed with only an oven, a knife and a fire extinguisher. Thanksgiving was stressful to say the least. Last I had heard from Jake, he was on his way to Wal-Mart to pick up a meat thermometer for his first attempt at cooking a turkey.

PC, Cole and I were enjoying our own afternoon of football and feasting with our family in Wisconsin. Occasionally I would sneak away to dial the (703) area code – trying desperately to verify that nothing had burned down. After my fourth attempt to reach Jake and sons, I gave in to helplessness and enjoyed a glass of wine, a plate of turkey, and my Packers whopping on the Lions. Go Team!

Today, Black Friday morning, PC and I shared a pot of coffee as I logged into my email. I wasn’t quite ready to face what disasters lay ahead if I were to track the elusive Jake down. I feared that something may have happened with my poor, boy-dumb friend and his great kids.

I felt guilty from encouraging Jake’s idea at preparing a Thanksgiving Feast, and I was afraid to hear the outcome of under-cooked turkey or a fire in the apartment.

Hesitantly, I accepted the iPad PC placed in my hands. I logged into my Hotmail account only to receive an email from Jake with the subject line reading, Missed Thanksgiving followed by another subject line that read, First Attempt.

Geez – what did I get him into? There I was, trying to help a bachelor-dad to prepare a grand feast  when he had probably never even turned on an oven. And I was a thousand miles away. How irresponsible!

I clicked and the first note opened. I read aloud to PC…

Missed Thanksgiving

Heidi Lee,

First of all the food was amazing!  And asparagus is now my favorite vegetable in the world – just break of the hard parts of the stalk, lightly coat in Olive Oil, fry on the George Foreman Grill, and when done just a bit of lemon juice topped with Parmesan cheese.  It was the best tasting vegetable EVER 🙂

Unfortunately I missed most of Thanksgiving.  The night before I didn’t sleep at all – nervous from my task ahead.  So after the boys and I “wolfed” down a gluttony of food, I can’t really say for sure what happened other than I had laid down to get a moments rest and didn’t wake until 7:00AM EST.

The boys loved Dinner H.  Thank you so much. FYI:  Not a lot of meat left over from that 14 pound bird 🙂


What a wonderful experience. Today I’d love to thank my friend, Jake, for allowing me to be a part of this memory he created for his children.

And the note that he had titled First Attempt – it was a picture of the meal with the boys standing proudly next to the turkey. Granted, a bit too much of my secret basting liquid, but the bird was cooked to a moist gloss of perfection.

He and I had a quick call this morning, and he shared with me their thoughts on potatoes. He made a triple batch of gravy because his boys never enjoyed a potato on its own. However, he made the sour cream mashed baby reds, and the gravy went untouched.

This morning I’m proud of my friend. I’m happy for him and for his kids – the oldest son is getting ready to join the Marines. I feel privileged to be included in even a small piece of their Thanksgiving experience and their family memories.

Thank you, Jake, and thank your sons for me as well.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Heidi Lee

3 thoughts on “Part Two: Single Dad’s Guide to Thanksgiving – Missing in Action

  1. First off all dinner was fantastic. The Turkey was perfect – other than the fact that I didn’t realize you don’t baste a turkey until the point that it needs a life jacket to stay afloat. But the best part is fresh Asparigus is now the vegetable of choice in a house that, like Congress, views Pizza as legitimate vegetable.
    Both my sons and I really loved the process. We all worked together to manage the multiple assignment we were tasked with. However, I feel guilty because from now on it won’t matter Heidi, PC and company go or what they happen to be doing for the holiday season Heidi will be cooking dinner for two families. Fortunately she’ll be able to handle my family’s dinner virtually 😉

    On another note – I want to personally thank PC and C for being so patient with me, for giving up your personal family time and supporting Heidi in her efforts to make me less “boy dumb”.

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