John’s Jots – A Thanksgiving Tale

Thanksgiving – it is that special day on which families gather together for fellowship, food and football.  It is that uniquely American holiday when Ben Franklin’s choice for our national bird becomes our national meal.  It is that day when the abundance of our blessings sometimes overwhelm our stomach’s ability to be blessed.

So, come back with me to Thanksgiving 1958 at the Brown farm eight miles outside Bishop, Texas.

My Dad loved to hunt – mostly deer and quail – but especially he enjoyed hunting wild turkeys.  They were so reluctant to come out of the heavy brush that screened them from predators; so aware of their surroundings and so quick to retreat quickly to cover.  In 1958, he had bagged a handsome tom on a hunting trip right before Thanksgiving.  Feeling very much the modern day Pilgrim, he plucked and dressed the majestic bird and brought it gleefully back home to my mother.  She did not share his glee.  Wild turkeys can sometimes be just a little bit tough.

The day before Thanksgiving, Mother began slowly cooking the bird to insure it would be tender and juicy the next day.  She basted it frequently.  Every few hours she would check a drumstick for tenderness.  Finally, around midnight, she put the still tough turkey in the refrigerator, woke up early on Thanksgiving morning and began cooking it once again.  As the hours passed without it achieving butterball status, she announced “Well, we’re just gonna have to eat it now.  Can’t wait any longer or we’ll all starve.  I don’t want anyone to say anything about this bird.  Just eat it!”

The meal progressed from blessing to belching, but the turkey remained largely intact on the grand silver tray in the middle of the table.  Second helpings had not been requested.  As the failed feast neared a near vegan conclusion, my uncle said “Sissy dear, I don’t want to say anything about your bird, but he sure did walk a lot!”

May you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and may your bird have enjoyed life in a comfortable lounge chair.

See you in church this Sunday and invite someone to join choir this week.  JRB


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