Bringing a Story to Thanksgiving

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Sure, bring your favorite dish — that special pie or casserole. But don’t forget to bring a story of Thanksgiving past to share. The memories of your stories will last much longer than anything they eat this year!

My favorite part about Thanksgiving is of course getting to see the kids, the grandkids, the aunts, uncles and sometimes even the cousins. Next to that, I love to hear about my parents’ childhood memories of Thanksgiving. So, this year I’ll share one from my own.

Memories of a Thanksgiving Past

When my kids were very young and we had just moved out into the country, we bought about six baby turkeys to raise. One would surely survive to grace our Thanksgiving table.

Karen's family

Karen’s family

We had been told that turkeys are, well . . . not intelligent. We found out what we heard was indeed correct. We had a large chicken and turkey pen complete with a large shelter and thought the turkeys would be fine just hanging out with our hens. Wrong! The chickens didn’t bother them but one sunny day two of them decided to take a sun bath and didn’t bother to get up and go into the shelter before they had heat stroke!

But the others did survive and soon we would have to decide which turkey was meant for the chopping block! My kids were not amused. Come to think of it, neither was I. But with 35 relatives coming for dinner, one of those gobblers had to face the music. Would it be the bronze turkey or the white one? I can tell you we didn’t choose wisely.

So, the day before Thanksgiving I went out with my husband Ron and we made our choice. It was Mr. Bronze turkey. He was huge! He was also kind of mean so we didn’t feel quite so bad about dooming him to the Thanksgiving table.

I held his feet while Ron did the dirty deed. It scared me to death when even without a head he jerked and kicked so hard I had to let go. That was only the beginning of the trouble that turkey would cause me. I really should have picked the white one!

Turkey Dinner

Ron had me put on a huge pot of boiling water to dip the monster in and he pulled all the feathers from the bird and singed the rest. I say “all the feathers” but that’s not technically correct. There was still these black pin feathers rolled up inside the skin. I worked for hours with the tweezers trying to get all those pin feathers out. I wanted this to be the best turkey dinner ever and black pin feathers would not be on the dinner table!

Grandkids on tractor, Thanksgiving 2017

Grandkids on tractor, Thanksgiving 2017

No one told me you had to chill the bird really well and those pin feathers would pop out so they are easier to pull out. It must have taken me three or even four hours to clean that bird! My kids told me, “Mom, we will not eat that bird!” I replied, “Oh yes you will! This has been too much work for you guys not to eat this guy!”

So Thanksgiving found me up to my ears in cooking. I had aunts and uncles and cousins coming from Los Angeles to eat with us. My Auntie Glory went out to the garden and picked the last of my broccoli. There were sweet potatoes, ham, a huge pot of mashed potatoes, Mr. Turkey, of course, gravy, cornbread stuffing and my homemade hot rolls. It makes me tired just to think about all the cooking I did.

But Mr. Turkey did not disappoint. He was indeed delicious and fed all of those 35 people with leftovers to boot. My two boys decided they would eat turkey. My daughter, not so much, but everyone else said it was the best turkey they’d ever had. I think back and they must have felt sorry for me!

So what fond memories of Thanksgivings past will you share this year? Make sure the next generation hears the joys (and woes) of your favorite memories!

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