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It turns out there was a reason to buy a turkey

Submitted by on Wednesday, 24 November 2010 One Comment

I bought a turkey two weeks ago, and at the time I had no idea why. It was a 13 pounder, because the commissary didn’t have anything smaller, and I had to cram it into the freezer.

It would have been too big even if Dad weren’t deployed this year. Even though we usually had Thanksgiving dinner at someone else’s house, because of Big Guy’s allergies I always wound up cooking the entire meal at home to take with us. It always led to the same, er, discussion.

“I hate turkey,” he’d say. “It’s too dry.”

“I’ve never roasted a dry turkey in my life,” I’d respond. “You’re crazy.”

“Well, I’m not eating it unless you make gravy.”

“You’ve known me for how long? When have I ever made gravy? I can’t. It’s part of the reason I had to leave the south.”

“Fine. Then buy some.”

He’d eventually buy the gravy after I’d forget it during six emergency trips to the grocery store and flat refuse to go shopping on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. He’d wind up using it on the dressing only and concede that the turkey was indeed moist and juicy.

The decade-old argument actually played in my head as I plopped the bird into the grocery cart. Yes, it was way too big, but I could always use the leftovers for soup through out the winter. If I even got around to cooking the turkey. Maybe I’d just wait until Dad gets home.

But then funny things started happening.

Big Guy, who as recently as Easter had viewed a platter of turkey with the same regard as a platter of dog dung, jumped on the band wagon.

“It’s great!” he assured Boots. “It’s the same stuff they put inside chicken nuggets. You like chicken nuggets, don’t you?”

Boots nodded enthusiastically, and I tried not to snicker at Big Guy’s sales pitch. I didn’t correct his ingredient misconception either. If I could survive a childhood spent thinking that pork roast was turkey, Big Guy could get past the nugget confusion.

A few days after that, I picked up Big Guy’s missed school work. His folder contained a draft of an essay he’d written before I’d bought the turkey. “We are getting a turkey,” it said. Dang. I guess I’ll have to actually cook the thing.

Finally, last night, Boots told his grandmother that he was having pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. “We don’t have any right now, but I know Mommy’s going to make me some more.” Gulp. I guess I’ll have to bake a pie, too.

With that, our Thanksgiving plans were sealed. I’d planned on phoning it in this year, and I hadn’t really cared if we had a meal or not. The guys, though, were determined to not let that happen. And they were right.

Tomorrow, we’ll have turkey. We’ll also have corn on the cob, so Boots can be thankful that he doesn’t have to eat mac and cheese, and mac and cheese, so Big Guy can be thankful that he doesn’t have to eat corn on the cob. I’ll throw in dinner rolls and a salad, which is the one green vegetable they’ll both eat. I’ll add asparagus just for the pure joy of hearing them groan “ewwwwwwwwwww.”

Afterward, we’ll have pumpkin pie. Maybe apple, too.

For kids, you see, holidays aren’t put on hold just because someone’s missing from the dinner table. This year, I’m thankful that two little people reminded me of that in time.

Copyright 2010 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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One Comment »

  • MtnMom said:

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and the guys, and God bless our Soldier! Yes, children do have a way of helping us stay in touch and connected when we don’t so much feel like it. And it takes courage to respond to their nudging. You, my dear, are a strong and courageous lady, a wonderful mother, and the kind of wife every soldier should have. God bless you all with a special Thanksgiving Day!
    With love,
    The Mountain Folks