Thanksgiving is about showing gratitude for the people and things we’re happy to have in our lives. This year, one woman in Dallas is saying thank you to her husband for stepping up in a big way on a big day.
Debra Bollinger, 57, spent at least nine hours preparing a Thanksgiving feast for her family last Thursday. After roasting the turkey, cleaning, peeling, chopping, and cooking vegetables, making gravy from scratch, pulling out the appropriate china and serving pieces, cleaning the house, setting the table, and picking up her mother-in-law, she began to feel nervous. “I just kept thinking: ‘There’s one turkey and five people. How the hell’s this gonna work?’” says Debra, perched on her front stoop. “Thank God for Carl.”
Debra had carefully chosen the bird from a farmer’s market, delicately seasoned it with home-grown spices, filled its cavity with homemade stuffing (which required roasting chestnuts and sausages in different pans), and carefully monitoring the moisture content of the meat, but she couldn’t grasp the concept of how the whole turkey would turn into sliced turkey.
“I felt like maybe it was something with a knife, but I was stumped good,” says Debra, tending to her jars of tomato sauce assembled at the end of the summer. “I needed a hero.”
Fortunately, there was a hero in the Bollinger house that day, and even better, Debra was married to him.
Like the Pilgrims rescuing Native Americans in early Massachusetts, Carl Bollinger pulled out the electric knife from the bottom of the china closet, plugged it in, and turned the round bird into flat meat. “It’s all in the wrist,” says Carl, who once dislocated his shoulder playing whiffle ball.
After dinner, Carl “Hercules” Bollinger, as he’s known amongst the family, returned to his throne, a La-Z-Boy complete with cup holders and a weathered groove in the shape of his glorious posterior, while Debra, his 15-year-old daughter Kylie, and his 78-year-old mother cleared the table.
“I’m a provider,” says Carl, who is also known to cook breakfast sometimes.
“It was in that moment that I realized how lucky of a woman I am,” says Debra, who used cloth diapers with each of her three children. “Without him, that turkey I spent all day making would have sat untouched amongst the decorations I adorned the house with yesterday.”
“This is what Thanksgiving is all about,” remarks Carl, a decent barbecue chef.
Debra agrees. “I’m thankful that I can lean on my life partner to take care of me when the going gets tough, specifically in the last 1% of a tedious, difficult task.”
The Bollinger clan looks forward to Christmas, where Carl will helpfully tear open presents.