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A Thanksgiving I Won’t Forget

I’ve been married for 30 years and have probably baked a turkey at least once each of those years, meaning I’ve baked roughly 30 turkeys in my time. Usually I have bought a Butterball turkey and have been very pleased.  For some reason, this year I chose to purchase one of our Fareway Fastco brand turkeys that was on sale for 40-cents a pound. Since it wasn’t butter-basted, my son Dan injected some seasoned olive oil into it the night before and on Thanksgiving morning I rubbed the turkey with olive oil and seasoning and stuck it in the oven before 6:30 a.m. The delicious aroma had everyone drooling by 12:30, when it should have been done, according to the package directions. By 1:30, the turkey was a nice golden brown and the little red indicator had popped up.  I removed the turkey from the oven and let it sit for a short time while we heated up all the hot side dishes.  At approximately 2:00 my brother-in-law Butch started to carve the turkey and abruptly stopped.

“Mary, how long has this turkey been cooking?” he asked, and I saw his face go pale.  I looked over his shoulder and saw a pool of blood leaving the turkey’s golden brown form. We peeked inside and saw more blood.

This Thanksgiving will forever be remembered by me as the “year of the raw turkey.”

We upped the oven temperature and cooked that sucker a good 1 1/2 hours longer. When my son asked the neighbors across the street for the loan of a meat thermometer, they were waiting for their 40-cents a pound turkey to finish baking too.

We all had a good laugh over the turkey that would not bake, but I know I won’t want to buy the cheapest brand again.

And I’ll ask for a meat thermometer for Christmas.

Other than the great turkey fiasco, our Thanksgiving get-together went very well, and I enjoyed it so much I am considering hosting it again next year.  I definitely noticed one difference this year: my house stayed fairly clean as I went, instead of having a toddler mess it up right behind me.  Our youngest child is six years old. It is easier to do things like host a party. The year Abby was less than six months old I hosted a family get-together and after the last guest finally left, I saw the kitchen sink full of dishes and I sat down and cried. It had been too difficult to get the whole house clean and then keep it clean. It was really the last straw when I found dog puke in my bathroom later. (one guest had brought a dog that ate a plate full of turkey and then thrown it up in my upstairs hallway and bathroom)

This morning the only thing I had to face was the fact that someone had “helped me” by shoving the leftover green bean casserole dish (the one I was going to empty out in the garbage because it was nearly gone and had set out too long) into the refrigerator on the same shelf as the bowl of leftover cranberry sauce, and tipped it over.

That cranberry sauce was my favorite part of the entire Thanksgiving meal! My brother-in-law Butch made it and I’d been looking forward to having it for lunch. Instead, it had dripped on one shelf, down the back, and even underneath the crisper drawer in the bottom. After half an hour of cleaning the shelves and the inside of the refrigerator and using a fork to get out the berries that had gotten wedged in between the shelves, I could barely stand to look at the berries and sauce that were left in the bowl.

So I sat down and ate it without looking.  😮

Author:

Author, public speaker, and workshop presenter for community colleges, libraries, women's groups and for grief support groups, Hospice and retreats. Reporter for the Manchester Press newspaper and popular public speaker and workshop presenter on the topics of writing and finding hope in grief. "Coupon Crazy: The Science, the Savings, and the Stories Behind America's Extreme Obsession" was published by Familius Publishing in 2014. "Chemo-Therapist: How Cancer Cured a Marriage" and "Refined By Fire: A Journey of Grief and Grace" were released by Familius in 2014. "Mary & Me: A Lasting Link Through Ink," co-written with Mary Jedlicka Humston of Iowa City, was published in September 2015.

2 thoughts on “A Thanksgiving I Won’t Forget

  1. FUNNY! Mary I can so relate, the dog puke was hysterical, probably not to you at the time. But I can relate to that, one of my cats years ago when I was pregnant with Stacie walked around our house and puked up some animal she must have eaten outside, I was 5 months pregnant, and for about 3 hours in the middle of the night of course, walked around puking hair, bones and anything else up. YUK. She was making horrible noises doing it and woke me up. And you know us moms any little noise and we are up.
    I love the cranberry sauce story too. I would have eaten it too. :o)
    Rec. your letter my dear friend, I will work on one this week, promise. I have alot to tell you since my last.
    Sounds like you had a great Thanksgiving with your family, us also.
    Have a great weekend and thanks for the stories.. Love that I can keep up with you on your blog..

    Lisa

  2. Great story!! I probably would have just stood there and cried if I would have seen blood coming out of my turkey. I can relate to having a housefull of people. The very first time that I cooked a Thanksgiving dinner, I had a 1 1/2 year old and a 4 year old. My mom who usually cooked had fallen and hurt her leg and could not stand on it. That was 14 years ago and I am still cooking it every year.
    On another note. I just love to follow your writings here. I first read one of your stories in RMC 18 years ago. I did correspond with you when you were selling books out of your home. I also love to read your posts on RC. You have an uncanny ablitiy to write and to let the reader use their imagination to picture everything. In my mind when you talked about the cranberry sauce, I pictured you just sitting on the kitchen floor eating the rest of the sauce. Keep on writing and entertaining us with your words.

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