The Thanksgiving Turkey That Stayed a While

I mentioned in an earlier post that my mother, Poopsie, wrote for our hometown newspaper for years, and I’m going to share one of my favorite columns with you today.  In the spirit of Thanksgiving and all.  

As stated earlier, all of her material IS copyrighted, so please refrain from stealing it or we’ll have to call cousins Bubba, Buck, and Bubba Junior to hunt you down and put the hurt on you, backwoods country-style.  I am using the article, although I have changed the names, with permission…and a hug, by the way. Because she’s a sweet Mama.  Awww…..


Every now and then, one fo the good old hometown stories makes another round on the “Well, I remember hearing that…” circuit.  The stories are wonderful because while they have taken on some embellishment over the years, they are basically true, and in the case of the following, one of the main participants told it…on herself.

Years ago, when the late Mr. and Mrs. John Smith were not long married, Mrs. Smith and her sister decided to cook Thanksgiving dinner together.  Since neither one had ever before experienced the pleasure of preparing the feast, the old “two-heads-are-better-than-one” approach seemed to be a good idea.  And so it was that planning and dreaming of delicious things, they sent Mr. Smith and the sister’s husband off to fetch a turkey, and they went off in another direction to run their errands.

Due to a slight breakdown in communication, or a total lack of it, the gentlemen returned from their search with a  turkey, all right, but it was “on foot” and very much alive.  They happily left it in the yard and went about their business, their contribution delivered and their mission accomplished.

When the ladies returned from their do-around, they were stunned to find their dinner’s main course tied to a bush and intently watching their every move.  They had not meant for the men to bring home a live bird, for goodness’ sake, but there it was, and time was short.

And great was the wringing of their hands.

No matter how hard they tried, they could not bring themselves to be turkey murderers, so they thought and thought, trying to find some way to humanely get dinner on the table.  Then, suddenly, they had a wonderful idea.  Feeling better by the minute, they found a bottle of chloroform, and while one lady held the turkey still, the other put a cloth doused with the anesthetic over the bird’s nose holes until he passed out.  This action, they figured, would allow them to de-feather the bird and have it almost ready to cook when the men came home to kill and clean it.

The sisters lugged the dead-to-world foul-de-jour into the house, and while he slept (very deeply), they plucked him just as clean as a whistle.  Then, with great care, they put him into the ice box to keep him from spoiling while they planned the rest of the dinner.

The men soon returned, but they were horrified when the women told them what they had done, and rushing into the kitchen, they flung open the ice box door.  And, lo and behold, a naked, groggy, stiff-jointed turkey tumbled out and staggered across the floor, headed for the warmest place he could find.

His bid for escape was halted, of course, by the frantic Thanksgiving posse, and there he stood among them, plucked bald and shivering and searching their faces with his sad, beady eyes.

After considerable discussion and carrying on, all concerned decided that they had become much too attached to the turkey to eat him, but he looked so pitiful that the sisters immediately fetched their needles and yarn, and before long the solution was in hand.

They crocheted that turkey a sweater.

And then they all went out for Thanksgiving dinner.

The Smiths kept the turkey as a pet for years, and wherever he went he always wore his little frock, because while some light down returned to partially cover his skin, he never did grow many real feathers.

And the next year, wiser and finally able to laugh about it, the sisters began their celebration cooking with a deceased bird, for which they all were — and we all can be — exceedingly thankful.

Happy holidays, pilgrims.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lora Lynn
    Nov 24, 2008 @ 12:25:46

    So worth waiting for. Love it.


  2. Tatersmama
    Nov 24, 2008 @ 14:30:51

    How sweet… But a turkey with his own set of knitted clothes must have had a name. Surely they didn’t name him…

    This was great… Thank you Poopsie – you put a smile on my face !

    btw… I just checked.
    It’s currently
    1: 30 pm on Monday, your time
    6:30 am Tuesday on mine. (AU)
    So you’re 7 hours ahead of me, but a day behind.


  3. Melanie
    Nov 24, 2008 @ 19:43:27

    Great story. I may have to share that one at our Thanksgiving dinner.

    Happy Thanksgiving.



  4. Trackback: The Buckeye Tree « Tater Tales

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