Today is Thanksgiving, but the Turkey Marathon began for me almost a week ago. I believe today will be my seventh day in a row of consuming turkey. Should there remain a nibble of a giblet today, tomorrow will likely continue the trend for the eighth day, heaven forbid!
Yes, last Friday at work we all gathered together like sheep for the slaughter to kick off the old tradition, the worship of the bird. As we lined up in droves, many had probably forsaken food all morning just to allow for that extra room in their gut for another touch of dressing or a spoonful of cranberry sauce. I’m usually a sucker for another slab of meat and some mashed potatoes, both smothered in gravy. And as if we’re all not foundered enough from that second or third roll, we put ourselves through the punishment of dessert.
I’ve been pretty fortunate in my life. I guess maybe that is the reason that, when unveiling our turkey early this morning, I gave the neck a fling. While that old saying goes around of “save the neck for me!” someone would be hard pressed to find one (or remnants of it) on our table. What the heck do people do with those things anyway? Perhaps turkey necks are a delicacy somewhere, but as far as I’m concerned, all they are is an extra pound of flesh, along with that gunk-in-a-bag stuffed in there with it, that allows the store to charge me an extra couple of pounds of my hard earned cash to walk out the door with my featherless foul. Yes, we are fortunate, and until we get desperately hungry, the neck will continue to go.
On the day after the kick-off meal at work we traveled to my folk’s house, Grandma and Grandpa’s, to bask in the glow of the almighty turkey again. More importantly though, was the enjoyment of all of our family gathering together for fellowship and catching up on things. The trip went well and Mom certainly didn’t disappoint, providing enough food to feed us for hours, although we should have stopped after the first plateful. Pushing our navels to the limit, we all settled in for a leisurely afternoon as a football game on the tube roared in the background like a lullaby.
Now that my neckless bird was in the oven for the morning, it was time to move onto more important things such as breakfast. With the noon meal hours away, who wanted to think of turkey at a time like this when my wife Katrina was whipping up a batch of waffles in the kitchen. The kids circled the wagons and gathered at the bar in the kitchen and watched intently as Mommy slaved away over our two waffle makers. Our mouths watered as we all anxiously awaited the arrival of checkered dough topped with butter and syrup, and soon we were in maple heaven.
Turkey day number three arrived last Sunday as we wheeled in from church, glad to have a gallon bag of turkey flesh that we had confiscated from Mom’s overflow the day before. To break up the monotony of meat, I threw together a batch of my famous cheese dip, and we enjoyed turkey on white as we gobbled down cheese dip and chips. Everything is always better with cheese, isn’t it? It’s a food group at our house.
The bird in the oven was roasting nicely as mid-morning rolled along. I couldn’t help but think that Mom was probably watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade at her house, so I clicked on the TV at ours, and sure enough, there came a giant version of Buzz Lightyear floating down the street in New York City. The kids all got excited and gathered around the tube to watch a plethora of giant balloons unveiled of some of their favorite characters including Mickey Mouse and Kung Fu Panda.
Days number four and five were fairly uneventful for turkey consumption. For me, it came in the form of turkey on white stuffed in a plastic bag and carried to work. The trimmings for these two back-to-back lunch feasts involved barbecue chips on one day and crunchy cheese curls on the other. With Katrina and kids doing the same at home for lunch, this vacated the bulk of turkey stash in the fridge as we began thawing out another one next to the milk.
With the kids still engulfed in the wonder of the parade, Katrina began working on an apple cake, and I departed to go pick up my uncle who was coming over to attend our feast. As one of the girls, Hannah, rode along with me, we took a quick jog into Wal-Mart along the way to grab a few forgotten items. After our speed run into the store we traveled to Uncle Ray’s and returned with him to the house. It was then that the serious work began as Katrina and I teamed up to bring this masterful meal to completion.
It was the day before Thanksgiving, turkey day number six. We were bankrupt of cooked turkey in the fridge, but Katrina, nor I, would be cooking tonight. It was over to her folk’s house on this wonderful evening to stuff ourselves with a full spread of delectable things once again. Katrina’s mother outdid herself in her usual fashion with more variety than an all-you-can-eat buffet. Stuffed and ready for Thanksgiving the next day, we headed homeward to get some sleep before the home stretch of turkey week.
High noon had now come and gone on Thanksgiving, and Katrina and I were working at a frenzied pace to get the feast laid out. As I carved the bird, Katrina mashed the potatoes. While I stirred gravy, she pulled the rolls from the oven. As pots of green beans and corn were placed on the table, our five youngest children began to sound like a hive of bees, especially in light of the fact that their two oldest brothers, Andrew and Coady, had been poking the hive with a stick to stir them up. As football on the tube blended in with the other buzzing in the living room, the butter and fruit salad were plopped down next to the cranberry sauce. What a spread!
It was now time to cross the finish line of the Turkey Marathon as Katrina and I yelled “It’s ready!”
Written by David Steen, with God smiling, November 25-29, 2010.