I’ll Pass (Out) on the Turkey

Turkey TLC: A Recipe for Disaster

Perhaps you’ve heard about this thanksgiving turkey fiasco? I read this account in a little magazine called New England Scene almost twenty years ago; it was among a collection of humorous Thanksgiving mishap memories. This one was shared by a Margaret Reinhart from Tuscon, AZ, but I’ll retell it as I remember it.

One year someone gave a young farm wife a turkey chick to raise. She got quite enthused and decided when Thanksgiving rolled around she’d invite both her family and his for this holiday feast.

So she set out to raise the turkey that would appear on the platter that day. She decided that a happy bird is bound to become a delicious bird. She fed her turkey chick by hand – no hard scrabbling for this bird. To encourage optimum growth, she talked to it, too. After all, turkeys like buttering up as much as you and I.

The chick grew into a fine specimen of its breed that summer and by fall it had plumped up nicely. In spite of its maturity, it still came running if it saw her outside and tagged along after her. She smiled and pictured a family feast. Thanksgiving Day was a few months away and she had already issued her invitations.

By and by she smiled less when she looked at her turkey. On the Eve of the event she knew it was time to deal with the Thanksgiving platter’s guest of honor so she went out to dispatch it. Of course her beloved turkey came running to meet her as soon as she stepped out the door – and she burst into tears. She went back into the house and told her husband, “I can’t do it!”

“Just leave it to me,” he comforted her. “I’ll take care of it. You make room in the fridge.” He went out and came in half an hour later with the limp turkey in his arms. She sniffed something in the air as he passed. Chloroform?

He opened the fridge door and stuffed the turkey in, feathers and all. “It can chill in here overnight and we’ll prepare it in the morning. It’s late; let’s go to bed.”

The wife woke up quite early the next morning, her mind on the task at hand. She was anxious to have the turkey plucked, cleaned, and dressed for the oven in good time. She opened the fridge door – and the well-chilled turkey leaped out at her. Its garbled gobble would have translated as “Mom! Save me!”

She screamed and fell in a dead faint. Her husband came running and found her out cold and the turkey warming up, staggering drunkenly around the kitchen. He grabbed it and ran outside, where he dumped it in the poultry yard and came back to revive his wife.

Their parents and siblings arrived on time for the Thanksgiving dinner and heard the sad tale of the Thanksgiving bird that got away. The couple then invited the relatives to a nice meal at the local restaurant. No one ordered turkey.

The turkey had a happy ending, too; from that day on he led an unthreatened existence in the farm yard and lived to a ripe old age.

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