To me, Thanksgiving is the harbinger of the Christmas season, and I look forward to putting up the tree that weekend. For Matt, however, it marks his favorite day of the year because he loves turkey. He looks forward to the big dinner and all the leftover turkey sandwiches, turkey casseroles, turkey stir fry, you name it. He loves turkey more than Santa loves his elves.
So one year, we were out and he wanted to stop in at one of those discount food stores. We don’t have one in our town and Matt likes to shop there whenever he can because second only to turkey, he loves bargains.
When we got to the meat aisle, we saw that they had Jennie-O turkeys on sale for 38 cents a pound. I glanced over and saw Matt’s eyes glaze over. He was thrilled; his two favorite things together under one roof – bargain-priced turkey.
We rifled through the cooler in search of the largest one; after much rearranging, Matt produced a turkey that was larger than a small lab. Then, he saw that Butterball turkeys were on sale for 68 cents a pound.
I could have sworn he was drooling.
After rooting through that cooler, he produced the largest of the lot, but not as large as the dinosaur that was already in the cart. Still, we had enough poultry to feed a small army.
A week later, I went to our grocery store and found that I had enough points on my shopper’s card to get a free turkey. Even though we had two in the freezer, it cost me nothing. I knew that I couldn’t pass it up, since free trumps bargain any day. Knowing Matt’s love of the bird, I dove into the cooler to get the largest one I could wrestle into the cart.
When I got home, I had Boy take it down to the freezer. After lugging it out of the trunk, then pulling it into the house, I had no more energy.
A few days later, Matt came home from the Walmart, grinning from ear-to-ear. He had yet another turkey in tow because they were on sale for 28 cents a pound. He claimed he’d forgotten that I’d added the free turkey to the two from the bargain store. But I knew better – he was rapidly turning into a squirrel, storing up for months of his favorite food.
Unfortunately, the freezer was full from the three behemoths that had taken up residence. Since the weather was unseasonably cold and Thanksgiving was five days away, we picked out the largest bird for the feast and put it outside in a cooler to thaw.
Now, here’s where my trademark failure to think ahead reared its ugly head.
The night before Thanksgiving, I always truss the turkey and have it ready for the oven in the morning. The problem was, I didn’t have a pan large enough to contain the beast. But that wasn’t the only situation I had on my hands. I realized that when Big Bird was in the oven cooking, there would be no room for anything else.
That was the year we had our first barbequed turkey, and Matt found his favorite way to have his beloved bird. It was also the year that I accidentally reached for cayenne pepper instead of nutmeg for the apple pie. Thankfully, it wasn’t our only dessert. Also, thankfully, we had plenty of milk to put out the fire in mouths that weren’t used to five alarm apple pie.
However you like your turkey, and for whatever you’re thankful for, I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving!